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Isolation?

By Jim Huskins

McDowell County

 

Sometime in the aftermath of WWII, many among us developed a fascinating set of core convictions which include: We have been freed from the “drudgery” of food production. Technology will mitigate the effects of infirmity and aging. The fact and functions of human gender no longer apply. Greed is now a virtue. If these propositions are true, then paradise is now technically feasible, and God is no longer necessary.

Contrarian perspective can be found in a Maurice Telleen editorial circa 1980: “Despite all our achievements, we owe our existence to six inches of topsoil and the fact that it rains.” As evidence that moderns have not superseded the boundaries of the human condition, I propose that nothing says needy like “global pandemic.”

Every great civilization concluded that “they” were invincible. Soon after any culture “realized” that the rules no longer applied to them, those storied empires met destruction. Many were defeated in battle. Others succumbed to internal struggle. Almost all were gutted by unsound economic policies and dependence on government programs. Many of history’s strongest powers collapsed because they outgrew their resource base. Others fell to disease and/or poor sanitation. Of course, none of these situations apply to us. This time things are different….

Those empires contained minority voices who protested that their nation was on a destructive path. Proverbs 16:18 states that “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Ancient Greece coined a word for the pride that portends destruction. The Greeks recognized what Merriam Webster defines as “a dangerous character flaw capable of provoking the wrath of the gods.” They called it hubris: “overconfidence which leads to overstepping the boundaries of human limitation and assuming godlike status.” In Greek literature, hubris always leads to tragedy. Without a doubt, many philosophers screamed as those in charge raced along the highway which carried Greece from World Ruler to more than a millennium as a loose amalgamation of goat herders and fishing villages.

Even a cursory reading of the Bible confirms that our Hebrew forebears valued wisdom. Hebrew wisdom is superior to any other since its source is the Author of Existence. He has shown us how to live. The Bible teaches that, as a result of our sin, mankind will never escape our need to work to eat. The fact that some can afford to pay others to do that work for them does not invalidate the rule. We may be entering a time when many will welcome opportunities to engage in the “drudgery” of food production since the alternative could be starvation.

The Bible does teach that knowledge will increase during our last days. It also implies that the pace of living will increase. Human life expectancy is generally longer now that at most points in our history, but no Biblical prophecy suggests profound changes in technology which will keep us from growing old and/or dying.

Scripture teaches that male and female gender is a divine gift. God created the two sexes to work together and complement each other. He treasures that arrangement. Every blurring or diminishment of gender role—including cross-dressing—the Bible labels “abomination.”

Arguably, the Bible has more to say about greed than any other topic. The original sin was prompted by greed for knowledge. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. I long for actual free enterprise and free trade even as I suspect that both concepts have fallen from official favor and will soon be labeled “unnecessary luxuries” by those who actually make decisions. Was it unwise for us to become dependent on an economic model that does not recognize the concept of “enough?” Is it accidental that this hubristic age should find itself in mortal combat with a virus?

My suspicion that Covid 19 is not entirely “natural” does not detract from its gravity. Many have died. Many more will follow. No one can accurately predict the cumulative effect, but unintended consequences of our containment efforts may produce social and economic impact more devastating than the disease.

One inescapable result of isolation is an awareness of being alone. We are social by nature. Even if we are spending this surreal period with the most important person or persons in the world, lack of ready access to all those other important ones is, at times, debilitating. Do not despair.

Fortunately, the Bible is a unified narrative about fellowship. God so treasures our company that He created us to be His companions. We opted instead for the fleeting pleasures of sin, but He was willing to pay an unimaginable price for us. All we have to do is follow the one who promised to never leave us or forsake us. His terms are summarized in John 14:15. “If you love me, keep my commandments.” He never says that grace makes obedience unnecessary. Such claims are pure hubris.

Many pastors, teachers, and theologians tell us that the first two-thirds of the Bible has been canceled. Paul teaches in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” When he wrote those words, the so-called New Testament did not exist.

Never has it been more important for believers to know what the Bible actually teaches. The only way to do that is to read it from the beginning with an open mind. I challenge you to start that process today and to test everything you have been taught against scripture. In these troubled times, anything less than first-hand knowledge of God’s Word will lead to tragedy.

Obedient Heart Fellowship believes that the entire Bible is true and relevant. We accept salvation by grace through faith in Jesus, and we attempt to love and serve Him by keeping his commandments. See Revelation 14:12. We will resume meeting each Sabbath—Seventh Day—in Marion after present health concerns are resolved. lostranger@mindspring.com

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Jim & Beverly Huskins are members of Obedient Heart Fellowship

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