God’s Word the True Guide for Man
“Your word is a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway.”—Ps 119:105.
1, 2. What correct appraisal can we make of science?
SCIENCE, in its different branches, is also thought to have answers to many of the everyday problems of life. Many feel that the answers it does not now have it will soon get, so that eventually man’s problems, such as those concerning food, clothing, housing, disease, and even social and moral problems, will all be solved.
2 There is no doubt that science has done good in some of these areas. It has raised the living standards for some and has provided many conveniences. It has fashioned astonishing mechanisms, such as the airplane for quick travel, telephones for efficient communication, as well as other time- and labor-saving devices. In medicine advancement has been made toward alleviating some of man’s suffering. None of this progress is minimized. But at the same time science has also helped produce a very unbalanced machine age that has resulted in frightful tension, mental illness, delinquency, marital strife, crime and violence. The more “advanced” a nation has become scientifically the more these problems have increased. Some estimates show that in the United States alone, one of the most advanced countries of this scientific age, as many as 18 million persons need some kind of mental help! One out of every two hospital beds in the country is occupied by a mental patient!
3. What resources are misused by science, with what consequences?
3 In addition, it is science that has fashioned the weapons that have killed more people in two world wars than were killed in the wars of all previous history combined. It is science that has fashioned engines of destruction in our day that could destroy most of the life on earth in a matter of minutes! People thus live in constant dread of these monstrous weapons possessed by both Eastern and Western nations. To provide for all of this, as the New York Times pointed out in its issue of March 13, 1962, there are “more than 50,000,000 people in uniform or producing for those in uniform, a number greater than the total population of France.” It also noted that total world military spending annually “now amounts to $120,000,000,000, or more than the total income of all the under-developed countries.” What could all this money and manpower accomplish if used for the good of mankind? It is estimated that adequate housing could be provided for about 240,000,000 people, the hungry among the world’s three billion people could be fed, and the sick of the world could be provided with medical care!
4. How do others recognize the failure of science to solve the basic problems of man?
4 That science has not solved the basic problems of man, many recognize. A German medical publication reported: “The mental health of all civilized peoples is endangered today to an extent never before known. . . . What man has gained through science, technical knowledge, industry and organization . . . he is three times over in danger of losing because of the strong threat against proper body and mental balance.”a Said the Saturday Evening Post (June 15, 1963): “Science and technology continue to outstrip social, political and philosophical progress at a frightening rate.” That science contributes to social and moral ills can be seen from the conditions prevailing in many of the large industrial cities throughout the world. The Manchester Guardian of May 16, 1963, reported: “Our great cities . . . are a disgrace to any body of men who call themselves civilized: the press, the pace, the congestion, the irritation are so great that the sensibilities of motorists must be coarsened. Even considerate drivers are forced . . . to behave subhumanly. These conditions operate upon us gradually and imperceptibly. The machine is uncivilizing us: attitudes which it engenders must spill over into other departments of living.”
5. Show why science is not a true guide for man.
5 Truly, science has not solved the world’s social, moral and spiritual ills, but has added to them. It has not proved to be a true guide for man in the past, or at present, nor will it prove to be such in the future. As a noted newspaper columnist remarked: “This age of science has no natural limits we know of, and what is dawning on us now is that it is also uncontrollable. Science simply does not know what it is doing or where it is going, in any universal sense; and if the good it does is fundamental, the damage it does is absolutely unrepairable.”b This responsibility for causing ill was also noted by Nobel Prize-winning scientist Dr. Harold Urey,c who said that the intellectual ideas of the scientific revolution have eroded morality and religion. He stated that the skepticism of the scientific community already has spread into the general population, and he predicted that it will spread ever more widely in the future, adding that this may even be indirectly responsible for the rise of social evils such as delinquency. In view of all this, it is little wonder that one author acidly said: “If the present condition of international hatred, mass murder, violated treaties, forgotten honor, and civilian extermination in the holy name of war are the best that evolution can accomplish, we should hand the whole mess back to the monkeys and ask them to stir up another batch!”d
GOD’S SERVANTS KNOW THE TRUE GUIDE
6. Has the failure of science to guide man proved a surprise to God’s servants?
6 While much of this may come as a surprise to those who thought science would provide solutions to man’s problems instead of causing more of them, it does not come as a surprise to servants of God. They have not turned to false guides, but they rely on the only true guide available to man, God’s Word, the Holy Bible. That is why God’s people remain unperturbed in the midst of world turmoil. They have long known that the Bible foretold exactly the distressing things we see taking place throughout the world in our day, for it warned: “But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride, lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God.” Would these conditions improve? Those fortified with truth from God’s true guide for man know that in these last days “wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled.” They recognize the truth of Jesus’ words when he prophesied the anguish of nations so evident today: “While men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth.”—2 Tim. 3:1-4, 13; Luke 21:26.
7, 8. Why do God’s servants make his Word their guide?
7 Those who love God and have respect for his Word are not fooled by the high claims and promises of those who assure the people that things will get better and that their problems will be solved in time, especially now that science is at work. God’s servants respect what properly controlled science can do, but they do not worship it nor do they make it a guide for their lives. They know that the Creator of man is the only one who can provide what man needs in order to walk properly. He has done that by providing his Word, the Bible, which gives them the knowledge they need to guide them in matters of peace, morality, life and worship. It tells them accurately why things are as they are and what the future holds, because its Author knows all these things; as it is written: “Remember the first things of a long time ago, that I am the Divine One and there is no other God, nor anyone like me; the One telling from the beginning the finale, and from long ago the things that have not been done; the One saying, ‘My own counsel will stand, and everything that is my delight I shall do’; . . . I have even spoken it; I shall also bring it in. I have formed it, I shall also do it.” (Isa. 46:9-11) What confidence Jehovah’s servants have in his Word because they know that the all-controlling, all-knowing God, Jehovah, is the One who by his spirit inspired it, seeing to it that what his servants need as a true guide has been recorded for them!
8 This Word of God is like a bright light shining in a dark place. Who can move about with confidence in the dark? This evil-filled world is covered with such darkness, just as prophesied through Isaiah: “For, look! darkness itself will cover the earth, and thick gloom the national groups.” (Isa. 60:2) But would that be true of Jehovah’s people? No, for they have the illumination of his Word! “Your word is a lamp to my foot, and a light to my roadway.” (Ps. 119:105) Of Jehovah’s people, Jesus said: “He that follows me will by no means walk in darkness, but will possess the light of life.” (John 8:12) As Jesus respected God’s Word and used it to guide his life, so now the Word of God provides an infallible guide that will enable his followers to find their way through this dark system of things, even past its disastrous end into a new system of things, into a perfect “new earth” where righteousness is to dwell!—2 Pet. 3:13.
PROVIDES MENTAL FOOD
9, 10. Why is the wisdom of man alone insufficient as a guide?
9 The Bible provides the mind with food necessary for mental balance. When men turn away from the one true source of wisdom and guidance, then only chaos can be expected, as has come to pass. Relying solely on the wisdom of men, however intelligent, cannot be sufficient for man to govern his affairs successfully. Man is not the Creator; he is the one created. How can the one created know better than the One creating? But instead of relying on God’s thinking, the worldly-wise have substituted their own thinking. As a result man’s mentality and order of things break down. It is like trying to run a high-powered automobile by putting rubbish instead of high-test gasoline in the fuel tank! Or like a person eating dirt and garbage as a steady diet instead of proper food. His body mechanism will soon break down. So, too, with the mind. The only way it will operate as it should is if it gets the proper fuel that comes from God and is revealed through his Word, the Bible.
10 Man is but a babe in God’s sight. His foolishness in human affairs proves he is no more able to control his destiny than a newborn babe. A person would not think seriously of allowing his baby’s scribbling on a piece of paper to be used as a guide for a long, hazardous journey. Relying solely on man’s mentality, to the exclusion of God’s Word, is the same. Man is a babe in a demon-controlled world. He is up against spirit forces far beyond his power to control. Hence, he needs the wisdom and direction that come from above.—Eph. 6:10-18.
11. What is necessary for man’s mind, and how has Jehovah provided it?
11 The mind of man must have what God meant for it to have to be healthy. It must feed on the spiritual diet provided by God’s Word. The apostle Paul showed this by stating: “Keep holding the pattern of healthful words that you heard from me with the faith and love that are in connection with Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim. 1:13) That such healthful words would be available in abundance in our day, the prophet Micah foretold: “And it must occur in the final part of the days that the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it peoples must stream. And many nations will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’”—Mic. 4:1, 2.
12, 13. What has the healthful pattern of instruction done for God’s servants today?
12 What has this healthful pattern of instruction done for God’s servants in these last days? Under the direction of God’s spirit it has made it possible for them to do what no other earth-wide society of people has accomplished in our time! It has made it possible for peoples from all nations, of all colors, kindreds and tongues, formerly of many differing religions and social levels, to live and work together in complete peace and unity! This marvelous harmony that has resulted is just what the Bible foretold would be produced when humble persons took in the healthful teaching from God’s Word and applied it, for it said: “And [God] will certainly render judgment among many peoples, and set matters straight respecting mighty nations far away. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. They will not lift up sword, nation against nation, neither will they learn war any more.” (Mic. 4:3) This is the condition prevailing now in the peaceful society of Jehovah’s witnesses. But they do not give themselves credit for solving this problem of bringing global peace to persons of different nationalities. No, they recognize that it is only by the power of God’s Word and spirit that this has been accomplished.
13 Jehovah’s witnesses appreciate this power of God’s Word to transform man’s thinking and turn it into proper channels. They apply themselves to do just that and have succeeded where the worldly-wise have failed. This accurate knowledge that comes from God is the key to their success, for they have obediently followed the recommendation of this true guide: “Strip off the old personality with its practices, and clothe yourselves with the new personality, which through accurate knowledge is being made new according to the image of the One who created it.”—Col. 3:9, 10.
14. (a) Explain the part love plays among God’s people. (b) How has science recognized the importance of love?
14 God’s guide for man also brings to his attention the vital quality of love. This is necessary for unity and peace, for love “is a perfect bond of union.” (Col. 3:14) Jehovah’s witnesses have learned what this Bible love is. They are cultivating it now and will continue to do so until they have acquired it to perfection. This love smooths all their relationships, allowing them to come together and work without the frictions experienced in the old system of things. Even science now acknowledges the importance of such love in human relationships. As a chairman of the Mental Health Research Fund in London said: “By far the most significant discovery of mental science is the power of love to protect and restore the mind.”e The Bible knew about this love long ago. That is why a society of people who live by God’s Word and obey the law of love are able to live in peace and happiness with one another and can keep their mental balance while others engage in strife and go mad.
TRUE GUIDE FOR FUTURE
15. (a) What else does the Bible provide that science cannot? (b) How can meek ones walk in God’s ways?
15 Not only does the Bible provide a true guide for everyday living, but it provides a true guide for the future, which science cannot do. The most science can do is to extend one’s life-span briefly, although at the same time it makes the future very uncertain for others. But God’s infallible Word promises a happy future for obedient mankind. It reveals a wonderful new order of things in which peace, prosperity, health, everlasting life and joy will prevail on an earth-wide paradise. But before that glorious time comes, wickedness must be eradicated from the earth. God’s true guide for man also shows that this lawlessness is very near its end and that shortly God Almighty himself will cause it to cease by completely destroying wickedness and wicked people. “And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Ps. 37:10, 11) How important it is, therefore, to learn of God’s ways now so that we can begin walking on that narrow path that leads to life! How vital it is to heed the counsel of God’s true guide when it says: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5, 6) Yes, God’s guidebook for life will provide you with what you need to walk in his ways, for “all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Tim. 3:16, 17.
16. What urgent counsel should we take to heart? Why especially so now?
16 There is a special urgency about being guided by God’s Word now, for the time in which we live will see the complete end of this old system of things. That means we can have the hope of surviving its end and of never dying at all! “The world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.” (1 John 2:17) Our day is similar to when Jehovah’s people of ancient times were standing at the very threshold of the Promised Land. Note the fine words of counsel Moses gave, which words take on even more importance in our day, since it means not just a temporary deliverance, but a deliverance to everlasting life: “Apply your hearts to all the words that I am speaking in warning to you today, that you may command your sons to take care to do all the words of this [God’s] law. For it is no valueless word for you, but it means your life, and by this word you may lengthen your days upon the soil to which you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of it.” (Deut. 32:46, 47) Yes, apply your hearts to following God’s guide for man and you can be among those spoken of by the psalmist when he said: “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.”—Ps. 37:29.
17. What appreciation should we show toward God’s Word?
17 Appreciate, therefore, the Bible for what it is, God’s remarkable communication to the human race. Let it be your guide. Using man’s schemes, scientific or otherwise, however clever, will lead you only to disappointment and disaster. The Bible, confirmed by all the honest findings of modern science, has proved itself accurate in detail as a road map for us through this dark system of things. No, the Bible is not out of date as a true guide for man. It has been around a long time, but so has eating, and you would not give that up as being out of date, would you? Neither will life seekers give up God’s life-sustaining thoughts contained in his Word, the Bible, spiritual food that has proved itself vital throughout the ages. Humble persons will certainly not want to be like the four journalists who had been invited to participate in a television discussion on Christianity.f When they were asked if any one of them had given five consecutive minutes to an adult consideration of what Christianity had to say, every one of them admitted that he had not, even though all were men of above-average intelligence! How typical of many in the world who want their problems solved, who want a better future, but who will not go to the only place where they can get the information to make that possible!
18. Even though others reject God’s Word, why should we not be discouraged?
18 Nor should you be discouraged when you offer God’s guide to others and they scoff, ridicule and turn away. Even with the mountain of evidence testifying to the reliability and integrity of the Bible, many will remain unconvinced. Remember, Jesus said: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.” (Luke 16:31) Some may find this hard to believe, but the truth of it was demonstrated when Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the dead, because shortly afterward “the chief priests now took counsel to kill Lazarus also.”—John 12:10.
19. What will all sheeplike persons do?
19 Sheeplike persons will believe. They will recognize the ring of truth in the Bible. They will note that, when exposed to the light of true science, the Bible shines more brilliantly than ever as a lamp for our feet, a guide for our lives. They will take in these life-giving waters of truth and will rejoice with Jehovah’s people who have brought these truths to their attention. Then together they will look forward to the time when Jehovah completely vindicates his Name, Word and people. They will look to the great day of the execution of divine judgment in which Jehovah will cleanse the earth of wickedness. They will look with keen anticipation beyond that time to God’s new order where Jehovah will shower down blessings on humankind, and where true science, controlled and guided by its Creator, will be used to bring joy to the hearts of all those who loved God’s Word, lived by it, and survived the end of this disbelieving old human society. Thus, all who now have respect for God’s Word and look to it as a guide say as did the psalmist: “For Jehovah is a great God and a great King over all other gods, he in whose hand are the inmost depths of the earth and to whom the peaks of the mountains belong; to whom the sea, which he himself made, belongs and whose own hands formed the dry land itself. O come in, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before Jehovah our Maker.”—Ps. 95:3-6.
a Medical Reports, p. 434 (article entitled “General Problems of Mental Health,” by Professor Werner Villinger, MD).
b Monterey Peninsula Herald, p. 14, Monterey, California (editorial entitled “Pandora’s Box Opens,” by Eric Sevareid).
c Los Angeles Times, June 14, 1963.
d Dead Men Tell Tales, by H. Rimmer, p. 31.
e New York Times, August 16, 1954.
f Christian Heritage, December 1960, p. 4.