Will humanity get worse and worse?
Previously I wrote about cognitive ease and how it can cause us to accept things that may not be true. I recently started questioning something that I have heard so many times I cannot count it. It is the well-accepted concept that things will get worse and worse before Jesus comes. Is that what the Bible teaches?
What passages speak of the worsening of humanity?
While researching where this concept comes from, I found 2 Timothy 3:12 is most often quoted. I did find some referring to Jesus’ parable about the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30). That parable does not say the tares will become more than the good seed; it only says they will grow together.
Timothy was written to Timothy.
To properly understand Paul’s letters to Timothy, we must realize it is just that! It is not a letter to anyone but Timothy (2 Tim. 1:2). Paul did not desire to see you or me (2 Tim. 1:4). Most of us did not have a grandmother name Lois and a mother named Eunice. You may say that is obvious, but it is not used that way in practice. God was gracious enough to preserve Paul’s letter so we could listen into a conversation and glean somethings. Since it was written to Timothy, we must accept what Paul told Timothy what will happen to him.
To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul gives Timothy instructions in his second letter, and starting in chapter three, verse one, he says perilous times shall come. The last days are from Christ’s ascension until His return. These are days Timothy will have to live through. Paul lists tragic things Timothy will see and then tells him to turn away from them (2 Tim. 3:5). Notice that in Timothy’s time, there are men who lead women astray, and they will proceed no further.
Now Paul reminds Timothy that he will suffer persecution just as he had. Paul clarifies that all men who try to live godly lives will suffer some sort of persecution. Now here is what I believe has been misunderstood. In contrast to a man trying to live godly and being persecuted, others who choose evil will get worse and worse. Persecution leads to godliness; in comparison, evil leads to total corruption. I think it is reading verse thirteen out of context that takes what Paul is saying about individuals and applies it to future humanity as a whole.
Furthermore, Paul tells Timothy to be a faithful preacher because even in his day, under his preaching, they will not endure sound doctrine and turn to philosophies ungrounded in truth. History has proven cycles where people turn away, and then revival comes.
Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
If we are honest, men have always been evil
If we are honest, men have always been evil. Read your Old Testament! God had to destroy the world with a flood because men were so wicked. There have been wars ever since Christ left. The Romans accepted homosexuality and left their unwanted children to die. They also killed Christians for pleasure. There have been cannibals until recent times. Communists have killed and persecuted Christians. Men have always been evil! Sure, we have greater weapons of evil, but have men become worse and worse?
Why is this important?
My understanding has changed from thinking about how bad the world is getting and wanting to get out of here to God’s intentions; for us be keepers of his earth (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:8, 2:15). Our prayer is to be “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Do we pray that without sincerity? Are our efforts to bring that to pass? The original Adam failed, and the same with his offspring. Jesus, the second Adam, came to finish bringing the kingdom of God to the whole world (Matthew 4:14, 4:23, John 3:16). Jesus empowered us to help accomplish the task (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8).
If we have the mentality that the world is promised to get worse and worse, we will throw up our hands and say, what is the use? It is like Calvinism, where things are predestined, and we can do nothing to change it. Please do not misunderstand me; I am not suggesting we will make the world better until Jesus comes to receive it. We have a job to do, and we need to do as the angels told the disciples and stop looking up (Acts 1:11). We need to work hard as we look for Jesus coming!
P.S. I have read and read looking for it and cannot find where we are to desire to go to heaven in the sky. Jesus never speaks of that; He only talks about His coming and setting up His kingdom on earth. As far as I know, only one passage about us going anywhere is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. Even there, Jesus is coming. There is an intermediate state where Christians die before Jesus sets up His kingdom, and they are with him. I know from talking that many Christians read “the coming of our Lord”; they assume it means us going. The Bible does not go into detail because it is temporary until Jesus sets up His kingdom on a new version of our earth (Revelation 20-21).
Do you have a comment? Contact me.