Church of God, New World Ministries

This Present Evil Age

 Today’s world is clearly imperfect. It is often a bizarre mixture of good and evil, with the latter tending to dominate. In spite of man’s best intentions, his humanistic idealism, and his incredible creative genius, things still tend to go wrong.

Wars continue to scar the landscape and rumors of wars tend to shatter tranquility in the realm of man. From the time the United States entered the Second World War, for example, until 1973, there were only three calendar years during which that country was not involved in armed conflict – 1956, 57 and 59. That’s only three years in three decades!

Since the peace of 1945 there has been an armed conflict somewhere in this world, on the average, every five months. In the first three decades of the 20th century, Europe fought 74 wars – more than in the previous 800 years!

 Hundreds of millions of people have died at the hands of their fellow man. That includes deaths in wars, concentration camps and even by means of high explosives. What an incredible legacy of violence and suffering! Psychiatrist Anthony Storr was quoted in a British newspaper as saying of man, “We are the cruelest and most ruthless species that has ever walked the earth.”

To many people, hungry for power, human life is cheap. It has been suggested that as many as 700,000 died in China’s internal struggles and that in the Indonesian difficulties some 500,000 lost their lives. The Nigerian civil war claimed a quarter of a million lives and in Vietnam’s prolonged agony some 650,000 North Vietnamese gave their live along with 110,000 South Vietnamese. Wherever man has walked he has left a trail sodden with his own blood. Violence lies deep in the heart of man. As Isaiah said, “Deeds of violence are in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood… desolation and destruction are in their highways” (Isa. 59:6-7). Witness the recent atrocities in Connecticut, Blacksburg, Arizona, and Texas. Psychologists and psychiatrists are searching for answers as to why these atrocities.

The truth is that mankind simply does not know the way to peace or, if he does, he doesn’t have the will to bring it about. Isaiah concluded, “The way of peace they know not” (v. 8). The apostle Paul later quoted these verses to describe the general state of man before God (Rom. 3:12-17). Man is a war maker. Man, separated from God, is incapable of bringing about peace in the human community. His humanistic solutions simply haven’t worked and they will not work.

Because man has not generally been willing to include God and God’s will in his thinking, he has been allowed to go his own way. Paul, quoting the Old Testament, said, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18; Ps. 36:1).

And what happens when man rejects God? Paul again answers, “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct” (Rom. 1:28).  “Improper conduct”! A thunderous understatement! Man has gone far beyond the merely “improper” – he has descended into an abyss of moral evil that staggers the imagination! As Paul wrote, “They became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves” (Rom. 1: 21, 24). Paul goes on to describe immoral acts of man separated from the mind of God: male homosexuality, lesbianism, etc. (vs. 26-27). He says, “They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of Gods, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventor of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless” (Rom. 1:29-31).

    What an incredible description of a society gone morally mad. Do you recognize any of these tendencies in our world today? As one writer put it, “The faint high whine of madness is in the air.” Man, cut off from God, descends into every imaginable kind of immorality and sin. Yet, man still has a conscience. He still senses the magnitude of his own evil. Man finds the conflict between his deeds and the dictates of his conscience impossible to live with. So, he rationalizes his sins. He justifies them and explains them away. Man turns to his own mental resources, ignores God and revelation, and proceeds humanistically. Once he does so, he feels that he is now “wise.” Through philosophy he attempts to explain his relationship to reality. But Paul warns, “claiming to be wise, they became fools” (Rom. 1:22).”For although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened” (Rom. 1:21). Though they continue to search for answers to these senseless acts, the psychologists and psychiatrists cannot explain why these senseless acts were committed.

Spiritually speaking, when man shuts God out, the light of truth also flickers out. And when that happens man descends into spiritual and moral darkness. The fruits of his condition are everywhere apparent. Man, in his natural unspiritual state, performs what the Bible calls “the works of the flesh”: “Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing,  and the like” (Gal. 5:19-21).

What an accurate description of man’s world! Paul’s description is as valid today as it was in his day. Man’s nature has not changed. Man continues to shut God out of his thinking, perhaps more so today than ever before. The whole panorama of human behavior demonstrates this beyond question. If you don’t believe it, try posting the Ten Commandments in a public building, or conduct prayer at a town hall meeting, or have your children stand and recite the Lord’s Prayer at school. The “wise” will no doubt protest these “religious” actions.

Immorality of every stripe dominates the Western world. Venereal disease is described as “pandemic.” This, of course, is the result of rampant promiscuity. Instead of teaching our children to refrain from sexual activity, we provide condoms. Free of course! Divorce has been on the increase for years. More children are being raised by single parents and more women are heading families alone. Marriage is seen as a bad trip by increasing numbers of young people.

Britain too is not without its moral problems. According to Peter Elers, vicar of the Church of England in Thaxted, Essex, one in every six priests in the Church of England is “homosexual by nature.” Elers himself is a self-confessed homosexual and is head of the Gay Christian Movement (Sunday Telegraph, June 27, 1976).

Homosexuals are coming out of the closet in militant droves throughout the United States, Britain and Israel. Several states have now approved homosexual marriages. Homosexual “Christian” churches are springing up here and there as gays assert themselves and seek acceptability in society.

The climate of increasing immoral sexual activity is capitalized upon by the pornbrokers. Incest and pedophilia, homosexuality, and every imaginable type of heterosexual activity provides inexhaustible fuel for the fires of pornography throughout the West. Time magazine featured an article on the subject entitled “A Child’s Garden of Perversity.” The article alluded to unspeakable acts of perversity, involving children, being shown on film and in magazines catering to those who revel in such twisted material. Describing a pornographic film, the article said, “Members of a bike gang break into a church during a First Communion service and rape six little girls.” The article went on to say, “These and a host of other equally shocking products are becoming increasingly common fare at porn shops and sex-oriented mail order houses across the nation. They are part of the newest growth area pushed by the booming, billion-dollar pornography industry: child porn.”

One wonders if there is anything left to do wrong in a world where values are so utterly twisted! How accurately Paul described mankind separated from the influence of the Holy Spirit and divorced from the mind of God: “God gave them over to a reprobate mind” (Rom. 1:28).

A reprobate mind is a mind devoid of sound moral judgment. It is a mind that has no standard of values except the expediency of the moment. Such a mind negates the influence of divine revelation in favor of strictly humanistic thinking. Man begins with himself and ends in oblivion.

Man apart from God is hopelessly lost. He is subject to “every wind of doctrine” (Eph. 4:14), to every new idea or teaching that comes along. And worst of all he is subject to the influence of the great evil spirit known as Satan the devil, who has successfully “deceived the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). We have played right into the Devil’s hands by taking the Bible out of our schools and prayer from our public lives!

Those who are separated from God, knowingly or otherwise, are linked to the mind of Satan the devil. Those who have elected to live independent of God are spiritually dead according to the Bible. Speaking to the Church of his day, Paul wrote, “And you he made alive, when you were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:1-2).

This age is not God’s time! Satan the devil is “the god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). His influence is everywhere present. He has blinded the minds of mankind to the truth of the Christian gospel (same verse).The message of God appears as mere “foolishness” to a spiritually darkened mankind. Try using a Biblical explanation to explain the recent killings in Connecticut and elsewhere.  You will be labeled as a “nut.” Paul told the Corinthians, “For the word of the cross (stake) is folly to those who are perishing” (I Cor. 1:18).

The world, separated from God, is “perishing” in its sins. It is headed for oblivion. God will bring every work into judgment and those who have not accepted Christ will ultimately perish. By accepting Christ, we mean to repent of breaking God’s Ten Commandments, and begin obeying them. (Acts 2:38).

Satan is this world’s “death angel.” He is behind “the System.” The way that seems right to man, humanistically speaking, is really Satan’s way, the way that ends in certain death. Those who rely exclusively on the powers of human reason, unguided by God, will ultimately be let down. Man, of himself, does not have the capacity to “order his footsteps aright.”  Jeremiah put it this way: “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23). Here is a clear antihumanist statement: Man does not have within himself the capacity for right self-direction. Man needs God.

Left to himself – and to the devil – man will destroy himself. Nobel-prize winning scientist Linus Pauling said in 1976: “I am afraid that within 25 or 50 years there will occur the greatest catastrophe in the history of the world. It might well result from a world war which could destroy civilization and might well be the end of the human race.” As you read this article we are rapidly approaching the 50 years predicted by Mr. Pauling. The scriptures tell us that man left to himself, will do just that (Mat. 24:21-22).

Fortunately for the human race God will not leave man to himself. He will intervene. This “present evil world” (Gal. 1:4) will pass away. This age of evil will come to a tumultuous end. God will bring it about because God exists and He is actively involved in the development of the human race. God has a great purpose. Man was created for a reason, and God will mercifully bring his purpose to fruition.

Those who are identified with God now, in this age, can know what is going to happen. “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is in the power of the evil one” (I John 5:19). We believe that statement by the apostle John is as accurate today as it was in the last decade of the first century. This world is evil. It is Satan’s world. It is man’s world.

But a new age is coming! In its final manifestation it will bring about universal righteousness and peace. Man will have been reconciled to his true God and Satan will have been banished to oblivion forever. The people of God believe the promises of God with regard to this new age: “But according to his promise we wait for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (II Peter 3:13). Yes, this present evil world will soon come to an end, and a New World will begin!

 
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