Does Sin Mean Progress?
GOD’S Word defines sin for us: “Sin is lawlessness” and “all unrighteousness is sin”. It further shows that not only is the doing of that which is forbidden by God sin, but also the failing to do that which is right is sin: “If one knows how to do what is right and yet does not do it, it is a sin to him.” (Jas. 4:17; 1 John 3:4; 5:17, NW) That is why Jesus gave us the sum of God’s law positively rather than in a negative form: “Love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength” and “You must love your neighbor as yourself”.—Mark 12:30, 31, NW.
Worldly-wise men, under the influence of Satan the Devil, and recognizing only selfish motives, take delight in discrediting God’s Word by making the subject of sin look ridiculous. An instance of this appeared in the Arkansas Democrat, May 4, 1952, in the feature column, “Run of the News.” After treating lightly what the Bible has to say regarding sin and God’s love for sinners the writer speculates on “A World Without Sin”. To him such a world might be dull and drab, with “few if any dance halls, theaters, liquor stores, newspapers, athletic halls, stadiums or political headquarters”.
This columnist further observes that without sin there would be far fewer magazines, books, radio programs and television shows. No need then for policemen sheriffs, judges, lawyers, courts and jails. And since the wages sin pays is death, he observes that without sin there would be no need for doctors, dentists, drugstores, hospitals, undertakers, insurance agents, nor for any whose services are dependent upon such. Nor would we have any need for armies, navies, an air force or munitions factories. What unemployment this would cause!
In conclusion this scoffer at God’s Word says: “Progress is sin. . . . It is responsible for the building of thousands of factories and the employment of multiplied millions. In a peculiar sort of way, it is the backbone of industry and enterprise. Progress itself is a sin—because it is the process whereby the human race is getting rid of whiskers, drudgery, mules, the vermiform appendix—and God.”
POSITION NEITHER FACTUAL NOR LOGICAL
When soberly and objectively analyzed, how much sense is there in such scoffing and ridicule? Does it necessarily follow that, because certain things such as alcoholic beverages, the press, amusements, dancing and sports are abused and degraded, mankind cannot learn to use such things properly and therefore they have to be entirely abolished in a sinless world? And with everyone loving his neighbor as himself, will the elimination of policemen, lawyers, judges, doctors, insurance agents, undertakers, etc., cause multiplied millions to be unemployed, or will it merely mean that man, instead of working from 40 to 80 hours a week will have to work only 20 hours a week, if that much, thus leaving him plenty of time to improve his mind and skills and to enjoy the works of his hands?—Isa. 65:21, 22.
The concluding observations of this writer are as ridiculous as they are blasphemous. Has man gotten rid of his whiskers? Certainly shaving them off cannot be considered as progress, for he has been doing that, more or less, for thousands of years! Man may have his appendix cut out, but does the mere fact that some doctors profess not to know of any purpose it serves prove that God did not intend it to serve any purpose? And so long as each new generation appears with its “vermiform appendix” can man boast that he has gotten rid of it? And can man boast he has gotten rid of drudgery when hundreds of millions of wretches eke out a miserable existence in Asia and Africa; when there are multitudes of slaves behind the Iron Curtain; when countless peasants farm with backbreaking labor in Europe, Central and South America; when so many have to work in coal mines, steel mills and sweat shops in modern industrialized nations?
GETTING RID OF GOD?
Finally, while in his own mind the modern scoffer may get rid of God, does that represent progress, when King David some three thousand years ago told about those fools who said in their hearts there is no God? (Ps. 14:1) In spite of their denial of him, they still are the recipients of his favors, the sunshine and the rain.—Matt. 5:45.
Has man’s course of preferring sin to God resulted in progress? Does his retreat before crime, so that for 1952 some two million major crimes were committed in the United States, meaning that one out of every 75 is a criminal, represent progress? Never have so many nations been faced with financial crises. Does such economic instability represent progress? Does the present mad armaments race between the East and the West represent progress? Yes, what progress has man made by saying in his heart there is no God, and by preferring sin and selfishness to righteousness and love?
And not only does the course of this old world give the lie to the scoffers who say that progress is sin, but that statement is also proved false by the course taken by those who love and serve God. The only real progress that is being made in the earth today is being made by a people who refuse to wink at sin, who refuse to consort with thieves, political crooks, fornicators and adulterers. They are a people who have overcome racial and national prejudices; motivated by love for God and their fellow man they live together in peace and unity, being the most joyful as well as the most optimistic people on the face of the earth. All who are acquainted with these witnesses of Jehovah, whether friend or foe, testify that they are the most energetic, most progressive and most enterprising of all peoples. And with it all, by demonstrating that man on earth can keep integrity in spite of all that the Devil can bring against him, in the way of temptation or pressures to sin, they are proving the Devil a liar, vindicating God’s wisdom and realizing God’s purpose in permitting sin.—Job 1 and 2.
The scoffer’s lack of logic betrays prejudice begotten of malice and ignorance. They are, however, without excuse, for the work of making known Jehovah’s name and purposes has not been done in a corner.—Acts 26:26.