Divine Good vs. Human Good by R.B. Thieme, Jr. (April 1, 1918 - August 16, 2009)Jan 26th, 2012 | By admin | Category: Religion
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Before you begin your Bible study, be sure that, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have named your known sins privately to God (1 John 1:9). You will then be in fellowship with God, under the control of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and ready to learn doctrine from the Word of God.
If you are an unbeliever, the issue is not naming your sins.
The issue is faith in Christ:
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36)
The Futility of Human
I suppose that at some time or other everyone has a noble thought. Probably even the worst characters who ever lived have had some kind of a noble thought, even if only in childhood. Perhaps you can recall a time when you said, “I’d like to do something that really counts. I’d like to do something for people. I’d like to be able to help people and to help the in a permanent fashion.”
One of the most brilliant men of all time, Julius Caesar, had a tremendous influence, not only on his own generation, but for nearly five hundred years thereafter. He restored order out of chaos and brought to an end civil war and bloodshed which had been going on within the Roman Republic for over a hundred years. In five years’ time, he developed a system
which made it possible for Rome to continue for approximately another five hundred years. Now, here is a very rare man, one out of millions, who was able in his own lifetime to do something that had influence for several generations; yet, in spite of his genius, the Roman Empire eventually fell.
A study of the brief history of our own country will reveal some very noble and very wonderful men; yet their influence rarely extended much beyond their day - sometimes for a generation or two - after which their influence all seems to disappear. As we consider our own country today, we wonder where is all of the nobility, where is all of the tremendous thinking and the power and the ability of those men whose concepts and ideas have compiled with the Word of God and made our nation a wonderful country? And as you contemplate the entire world, you have to ask again, “Where are the people who have influenced the world - the great people?”
In modern history, one or two have arisen out of the masses; but these are only one or two out of millions and billions of people. Yet there are still people in every generation who have an intense desire to help humanity and have tried to express it in various ways. One of these was Albert Schweitzer. In his desire to help humanity, he studied many things, including medicine, through which he tried to fulfill this desire. He went to Africa; and during the course of his lifetime, Schweitzer was able to help thousands of people, as far as their health was concerned. Many of the natives of Africa almost worshipped him as if he were God, even though he was a white man. Yet today, where is the influence of Albert Schweitzer?
He was a good man; he was sincere and did many wonderful things; but he did not bring about any permanent change. The natives have gone back to their tribal fraternities; and, as before , they are waiting in jungle paths to kill other natives in other fraternities. Furthermore, they are killing off the animals; they’re killing the white man. They haven’t learned anything! Their nature hasn’t been changed.
So, here’s a white man who went to Africa and spent a lifetime out there doing many wonderful things; but he brought about no lasting changes for the Africans. In fact, the passage we are going to study compares him to a flower of the field. As far as we can tell from the study of his life, his good was “human good.”
It is a rather discouraging world for altruistic people. There are those who would sincerely like to be helpful; also there are many who would sincerely like to be helpful; also there are many frustrated people who are trying to help but have only succeeded in messing things up because they don’t know how to help.
For example, thousands of people today would like to abolish poverty. Let’s assume for a moment that the “War on Poverty” is sincere (a debater’s assumption, meaning it isn’t necessarily true). In their sincere desire to abolish poverty, those planning the program giving money to everyone whom they consider to qualify under the category of poverty. It sounds like a noble idea, until you look at it from the divine perspective, for Jesus said, “…ye have the poor always with you…” (Matt. 26: 11). “Always” means that poverty cannot be abolished. But let’s say it is a beautiful idea and look at it from its altruistic concept. How does it work?
Well, you refloat the money, the money invariably goes into the hands of a few, and soon everyone else is poverty-stricken. What do the poor do when they get the money? They spend it! And where does it go? It goes to a small group of people who will become wealthier than ever. Soon someone runs out of the pork barrel or the job setup, and there is more poverty than ever. But it’s a noble idea! So you can see it’s a very frustrating world for people who want to do good.
Now, there are a lot of places where good can be done, but nothing seems to come from all of this doing good. There are some sincere people in the world right now who are trying to abolish warfare. “Let’s get everyone to give up his weapons and have world peace,” they say. So when you take guns from the nations that have a sense of responsibility and disarm the, all you do is to turn the whole world into a jungle.
There are mothers who march on Washington every year or so in the hopes of abolishing war. Well, this, too, is a beautiful thought, because no one really wants to go to war, with the possible exception of a few romanticists who have read too many war books or seen too many war movies that glamorize war. But once you get to war, it’s no fun at all. The food is terrible; the pay is worse. And even more than tha, you might lose your life any day on the job! So you can see that war is really no picnic, even though it has been romanticized in some ways.