Moral Bankruptcy—Where Is It Leading?
IT WAS the night of July 25, 1956. The sleek, white motor ship Stockholm left New York on its 103rd eastbound crossing of the North Atlantic. There was fog around the Nantucket Shoals, but that was normal.
From the opposite direction came Italy’s finest liner, the Andrea Doria, cutting a path through the fog. Since both ships were equipped with radar, no one was unduly worried. In fact, most of the passengers were in bed. The duty officers were on watch. The Andrea Doria was traveling at about 22 knots. Suddenly the Stockholm loomed into view. The Italian captain barked out the order, “All left!” But with the Andrea Doria’s momentum and weight it was too late.
At 11:09 p.m. the Stockholm struck the Italian liner amidships. Only a few officers and seamen had been aware of what was about to happen, and their evasive action was in vain. They were powerless to prevent the collision. Eleven hours later the “unsinkable” Andrea Doria plunged to the bottom.
Likewise today, world morals are on a disaster course. A few people with principles realize it. So they try to change the direction of things. But it is too little, too late. The world corruption stymies world leaders who find that this system has a momentum and direction beyond their control. Others see no difference in the worldwide moral climate; some even revel in it.
In such a situation, what hope for the future can honest-hearted people have? Two ancient models provide an answer.
Pattern of Things to Come
The two examples of a society depleted of moral character, and what happened to them, are: the pre-Flood world of Noah’s day and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus Christ’s words at Luke 17:26-30 show that these examples have a modern-day counterpart. As God’s chief executional officer, Jesus will hold a worldwide accounting. We read:
“Moreover, just as it occurred in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of man [Jesus Christ]: they were eating, they were drinking, men were marrying, women were being given in marriage, until that day when Noah entered into the ark, and the flood arrived and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it occurred in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building. But on the day that Lot came out of Sodom it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed them all. The same way it will be on that day when the Son of man is to be revealed.”
In both cases, the normal activities of eating, drinking, marrying, building, and so forth, took on a sinister look because God’s warning was ignored. People failed to notice the significance of what happened to their moral environment. For them it was “business as usual.” Let us take a closer look at these two patterns.
“The Days of Noah”
The 24th century B.C.E. found badness overwhelming the earth. Moral standards were out of control. The historical record of Genesis 6:5 relates: “Consequently Jehovah saw that the badness of man was abundant in the earth and every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time.” In what way was it bad, and why?
Badness manifested itself in two bold ways. One, by its violence. Two, by its perverted sex. Notice how this is alluded to in Genesis 6:4: “The Nephilim proved to be in the earth in those days, and also after that, when the sons of the true God continued to have relations with the daughters of men and they bore sons to them, they were the mighty ones who were of old, the men of fame.”
The word “Nephilim” means “fellers,” or “fallers.” The Nephilim were bullies. They caused others to fall down violently. No doubt many followed their violent example or joined with them in plundering weak victims. The Nephilim were hybrid offspring from sex acts between materialized rebellious angels, who were at one time “sons of the true God,” and earthly women. Such sex between angels and humans was unnatural, perverted. (For additional information, please read 1 Peter 3:19, 20; Jude 6, 7.)
To what did this moral bankruptcy lead? “So Jehovah said: ‘I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground, from man to domestic animal, to moving animal and to flying creature of the heavens, because I do regret that I have made them.’ But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah.” (Genesis 6:7, 8) Jehovah foreclosed on that morally degenerate system by means of the greatest cataclysm in all human history up to that time. Noah and his immediate family were the only humans to escape that deluge.
Why did Noah and his family find favor in the eyes of God? “Noah was a righteous man. He proved himself faultless among his contemporaries,” says Genesis 6:9. How did he do it? “Noah walked with the true God,” states the conclusion of that verse. Noah was courageous and distinguished himself from his immoral contemporaries by allowing Jehovah’s moral principles to set the boundaries for the way he and his family would walk through life. Noah flatly refused to let the world squeeze him into its mold of corrupted conduct.
“The Days of Lot”
The other example occurred over 400 years later. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which some believe are submerged beneath the southern part of the Dead Sea, persisted in a course of life defiant of God’s moral standards. “The cry of complaint about Sodom and Gomorrah, yes, it is loud, and their sin, yes, it is very heavy,” states Genesis 18:20.
What made the inhabitants so reprehensible in the eyes of God? They were morally bankrupt. Degraded sex practices dominated their way of life. “From boy to old man . . . they kept calling out to Lot and saying to him: ‘Where are the men who came in to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have intercourse with them [“rape them,” The Living Bible].’” (Genesis 19:4, 5) The “we” included the youths as well as the adults!
When Jehovah foreclosed on that morally polluted system, only three souls were spared the fiery destruction—Lot and his two daughters. Why them? Because Lot was a “righteous man” “who was greatly distressed by the indulgence of the law-defying people in loose conduct” and refused to copy their debased way of life.—2 Peter 2:7, 8.
In Our Day
The moral account of today’s world is completely drained and ready for total foreclosure. In no way can it raise its moral standards. ‘The ruler of this immoral world,’ Satan the Devil, has most of mankind locked into his pattern of misconduct. (John 12:31) They are like passengers on a ship that is on a collision course. Their leaders, like a ship’s captain, are trying to avoid a disaster but cannot. The momentum of the world under Satan’s control makes a catastrophe inevitable.
But lovers of righteousness, like Noah and Lot, can cut out for themselves a different pattern of life—a godly one—by following the course of moral conduct set forth in the Bible. When Jehovah and his Son Jesus Christ soon foreclose on this world’s immoral system, the account of the righteous will show a credit balance. God will then give them title to life everlasting in a righteous world. Will you qualify to be among the righteous?—Psalm 37:27-29; 2 Peter 2:9.
[Pictures on page 11]