One day in 1749, while walking to the Bastille, Jean-Jacques Rousseau noticed an advertisement for an essay contest. Hosted by the Academy of Dijon, the essay posed a simple question: has science made us better or worse, more or less moral? As Rousseau recalls, he fell asleep in the park, had a vision, awoke in tears, and started to write his “Discourse on the Sciences and Arts”. He ended up winning the contest and instantly rose to fame. His basic thesis: “Man is naturally good.”
While Romantic philosophy assumes the innate goodness of men, a believer is acutely aware of men’s leaning toward bad. The apostle Peter puts it quite bluntly:
“(…) having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires”
Evil desires are inside of us. Nobody put them there. There are ours to deal with. Technically, every person is like a ticking time bomb that can go off and self-destruct at any moment. Our psyches are frail. Given the circumstances, we all can be broken very easily. Besides our psyches, also our bodies are subjected to corruption – the aging process being a visible reminder.
Steven Austad, a bio-gerontologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham delved into the question: Why do we age? Here is his explanation:
“Reproduction is the name of the game. Basically, we age because it’s not in nature’s best interest to perfectly repair our bodies. The main thing is to keep us reproductive as long as possible, and then let our bodies deteriorate.”
In other words, ultimately we are here to be replaced – a pretty sobering thought. Of course we all know that no human being can actually be reproduced. Our DNA is unique. Each person is as irreplaceable as they come.
The word “gospel” is an old English combination of the words “God” and “spel”, which in modern English translates into news, a story. The news that God exists is the heart of the gospel and that is very good news. The gospel ventures beyond biology: There is a God who created matter out of nothing and this same God is the reason why we exist. By acknowledging Him, faith infinitely increases the value of human life. As a creature of God, we are no accident. We all matter.
Recognizing who God is, we will move past corruption. As we grow closer to Him, we essentially find out that God is a team of three. It is a delight to get to know the Son of God. The Spirit of God is tirelessly introducing Jesus to every generation. And the Father of all is our soul’s destiny and home. By getting to know God we escape corruption and engage in eternal life. We become an integral part of His family. Faith is precious because we are no longer slaves to corruption, but we are set free to participate in God’s divine nature.
The incorruptible, inconceivable, beautiful and generous nature of God wants to include us because He dearly loves us.