Headline: Losing Our Immortality

Posted on: 2016-01-23

A world under spell

The world, it seems, is under a spell, that of the attenuation of values. By implication this also signals the eclipse of good character because good values form good character. This did not begin all of a sudden, and we have no reason to feign surprise.  Much of our spiritual deficit today is actually self-inflicted.  Anne Graham, the daughter of one of America's most famous evangelists, Billy Graham made the point in her memorable prose, delivered some time ago during an interview. In it, she addressed the conspiracy against spiritual foundations and practices in the American educational system. "How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection, if we demand he leave us alone"?, she queried. Her query seems just as valid for us here today as it was when she made it in America, many years ago. Anne then laid out many incredible decisions taken against spirituality and morality in modern times which ordinarily should make God fearing people to wince. These include the  prohibition of prayer and the reading of the Bible in the schools; the prohibition of discipline for minors when they misbehave;  the liberalization of the decision to kill the unborn child and the proliferation of music and entertainment which disrespect human life and dignity and women by glamorizing rape, drugs, murder, suicide and satanic themes while claiming to offer "just entertainment".

The bottom line

 Anne also defined the end product of this odd situation. "Now we are asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.' Funny how simple it is  for people to trash God and then  wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says". In fact long ago, many preachers felt the heat to stop preaching homilies about hell ostensibly because their graphic description frightened church goers.  Over time, it became at times not only unfashionable but  even offensive to preach about sin, retribution and hell. Thus, good homilies jettisoned a most important function; comforting the confounded and confounding the comfortable.  Today that movement threatens to permeate our society, generating self-deceit and sinful complacency. All this is reminiscent of Jeremiah's situation when his people persecuted him. " Denounce him! Yes denounce him! All my friends watch me to see if I will slip: 'Perhaps he can be deceived,' they say; 'then we can get the better of him and have our revenge". (Jer.20:10). Jeremiah endured the assault of these persecutors because he spoke the truth which nobody wanted to hear. His only solace however was Yahweh and he ended up with a song "Sing to Yahweh! Praise Yahweh and say: he has rescued the poor from the clutches of the wicked"  (Jer. 20:13).

God does not change

It  is intriguing to observe today how much modern man has "remained unoriginal", with his old strategy of persecuting, as with Jeremiah, those who seek to proclaim the truth. He still thus  rejects the word of God and the template with which it ought to be fulfilled. The Bible is replete with admonition about the consequences of such human waywardness. Enter Psalm 37 with its comparative treatise about the fate of the wicked and the righteous. It clearly highlights the contrast between the temptations which the just man has to face and the false fortunes of the unjust. "Do not be annoyed with evil people, nor be envious of wrongdoers. For they will fade as any green herb and soon be gone like withered grass" (Ps 37:1-2). Psalm 73  reads similarly. After lamenting how richly-blessed the evildoers seem to be the psalmist wrote: "Although, I tried to understand this, it was difficult for me, until I entered the secrets of God. Then I perceived their approaching doom. You placed them on slippery ground and make them fall into the pit" (Ps 73:16-18).

Heaven and Earth shall pass away

Jesus Christ himself sealed the discourse in these golden words: "Do not think that I have come to annul the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to annul them but to fulfill them" (Matt. 5:17). He broached no excuse for wrongdoing and left no one in doubt about the consequences. "So then, whoever breaks the least important of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys them, and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5: 19). It all boils down to the eternal validity of the law of retribution and belief in our own immortality. Every human being with a soul must at some point ask whether there is life after this life. It would seem that only those who have killed the thoughts of immortality can habitually engage in willful, unholy acts. The Russian author, Fyodor Dostoyevsky once said: "if you were to destroy in mankind the belief in immortality, not only love but every living force maintaining the life of the world would at once be dried up. Moreover, nothing then would be immoral, everything would be permissible, even cannibalism". The loss of that sense of immortality seems to me therefore to be the source of most selfish, wicked and inhuman and choices seen  among us today. We must revive and restore that spiritual element.