The Bible, The Bedrock of Modern Civilization

By: Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr
Radio GAR, Kumasi, Ghana

In the eyes of many, the Bible is an antiquated book with little to offer man, except perhaps in terms of its spiritual teachings.

But believe it or not, the Bible, authored by the inspiration of the Living God (2 Tim. 3:16), is a living book that permeates nearly all aspects of life, not least in nation building.

Much of what is wrong in society today stems from the wholesale abandonment of the precepts of the Bible. (See Hosea 4:6).

The fear of the Lord is indeed the beginning of wisdom (Ps 111:10; Prov. 1:7). The Psalmist celebrates: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps. 19:7-8).

And no less an authority than the World Book Encyclopedia agrees: “Christianity [and by logical extension the Bible] has influenced government, thought, and art for almost 2000 years.”

Throughout the ages,  the moral and spiritual ethic of the Written Word has been unmatched in terms of both its breadth and progressive timeless value. To this day, it holds the only credible blueprint for the peace and wellbeing of mankind, and that has been recognized by thinkers and men of knowledge down the ages.

Of that unrivalled lodestar, the Ten Commandments, the World Book Encyclopedia again testifies:

“About 1200 B.C. Moses, a Hebrew, gave to the world the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments’ stated principles of behaviour had long been recognized as good. These commandments in one form or another can be found stated in law everywhere” (Vol. 12, p. 118, Art. “Law”).

A light to the nations—that was one reason why the Lord set up the Kingdom of Israel. The Almighty gave His righteous and civilizing laws to Israel so that she might be a model of godly behaviour and enlightenment to the nations of the world.

We read of this noble purpose of God in Deut. 4:5-8:

“Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.

“Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

“For what nation is there so great, that hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon Him for?

“And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (Deut. 4:5-8).

Belated but eventually there! Today, thanks to the preaching of the gospel and the acceptance of the Judeo-Christian tradition, many of the principles of God’s law have found their way into the statute books and constitutions of most modern nations.

Such concepts as equality before the law, the protection of individual rights and freedoms, the right to property and fair trial, which have come to be revered and upheld in almost all nations, had long been taught in the Bible. (Ref: Ex. 12:49, Lev. 19:15, 24:22/ Ex. 22:21, 23:9, Lev. 19:33-34/ Deut. 19:14, Num. 27:7, 36:7,9/ Ex. 23:6, Deut. 19:15, 18-20, 27:19).

Significantly, the rest of mankind had been slow in catching up. For most of history, despots have ruled by brute force and trampled on the rights of the masses. In fact, it wasn’t until the 13th century (1215 AD) that a law was passed in England (called the Magna Carta) recognizing the rights of freemen to liberty, fair trial and speedy justice.

In the 1790s, the United States, a bastion of the Judeo-Christian heritage and a fledging democracy at that time, introduced a series of constitutional amendments guaranteeing its citizens a slew of rights and freedoms. Known as the “Bill of Rights”, the amendments bore close resemblance in several respects to the civil liberties decreed in the law of God.

But at no time have the high moral principles of God’s law been universally recognized and applied than after the 2nd World War. In the wake of the destruction and gore the war unleashed, world leaders sought a way to promote universal respect for human rights and freedoms so that the barbarity of the immediate past might not be repeated!

In December 1948, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”; the majority of its noble ideas had been pre-taught and enshrined in the Bible.

In a sense, it was as if Isai. 2:2-3 had been fulfilled—but only partially. The just and good law of God (Rom.7:12) had finally attained some level of universal recognition and enforcement.

A critical analysis of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights shows many of its articles to have originated in Biblical law.

The first article recognizing the freedom, equality, dignity and the fundamental human rights of each individual matches the Biblical description of man as “made of one blood” in God’s image and therefore worthy of dignity (Acts 17:26; Gen. 1:27-28).

Article 4 of the Declaration forbidding forced slavery and servitude is anticipated by Ex. 21:16 forbidding same.

Others include the following:

Article 5: No person shall be subjected to torture or cruel and degrading treatment      – Ex. 22:21-22.

Article 7: All persons are equal before the law – Ex. 12:49; Lev. 19:15, 24:22.

Article 10: Everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing – Deut. 1:16-17, 19:18-20.

Article 14: Everyone has the right to asylum – Num. 35:6.

Article 15: Everyone has the right to a nationality – Deut. 32:7-8; Ex. 6:7.

Article 17: Everyone has the right to own property and the right not be arbitrarily dispossessed of it – Num. 36:7, 9; Deut. 19:14; Prov. 23:10-11. (Naboth’s e.g. – 1 Kings 21).

Article 21 (i): Everyone has the right to participate in governance, with the right to choose [honest] leaders who uphold the rule of law and derive their authority from the will of the people (iii) – Ex. 18:21; Deut. 17:14-20.

Article 22: Everyone has the right to social security, such as for the jobless (in OT the Levites), strangers, orphans and widows – Deut. 26:12-13; Lev. 19:9-10; Ex. 23:10-11 (produce of the 7th year for the poor and even the beasts of the field); James 1:27.

It is in this connection that the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme introduced by the government is commendable. The programme reflects the caring and humanitarian spirit of the Biblical injunction to care for the poor and the vulnerable in society. Jesus said the poor will always be with us, and we must not weary in doing good to them especially those of “the household of faith” – Mark 14:7; Gal. 6:9-10. In countries like the United States, philanthropy is widely practiced. No wonder, the Lord has blessed them according to His word of promise.

Article 23: Everyone has the right to work  in return for equal, living wage for equal work– 2 Thess. 3:10; Prov. 6:6-11; Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:14-15.

Article 24: Everyone has the right to rest and leisure – Ex. 20:8-11, 23:12; Lev. 23:3; Mark 2:27-28; Heb. 4:9.

Article 25 (i): Everyone has the right to a standard of living that ensures his well-being and that of his family, including food and clothing – Deut. 8:3-4, 28:8, 1 Kings 4:20. (ii): Mothers and children are entitled to special care – Deut. 20:13-14 (‘special care’ even in war).

Article 26: Everyone has the right to education – Deut. 4:9, 11:19. (iii): Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education they want for their children – Prov. 22:6.

Article 29: Everyone has duties to his community in which his well-being and personality development can be secure, though must be subject to its laws for the common good – Rom. 13:1-4.

From the foregoing, we know that by and large the civil aspects of God’s law have come to be known and accepted by the majority of mankind alongside those that regulate moral behaviour. To this extent, modern man is without excuse (Rom. 1:20). Indeed, advanced countries like America and Britain owe their greatness largely to the adoption of the principles of God’s law early in their nationhood. The wise writer of the Book of Proverbs hit the nail on the head when he said: “Righteousness exalted a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Prov. 14:34).

Today, even animal rights are recognized—something long taught in the Bible (Deut. 25:4 “Don’t muzzle the [milling] ox”; Prov. 12:10), including the protection of rare and endangered species (Deut. 22:6-7). This foreshadows the heavenly civilization in the millennium where no animal shall hurt another “in all my holy mountain” (Isai. 11:9).

Another issue of modern concern is environmental protection—rigorously enjoined in the Bible even in time of war (Deut. 20:19; Ex. 22:6). Unfair business practices involving the use of false balances and weights are all as Biblically proscribed as they are by modern laws (Prov. 11:1, 20:10; Deut. 19:35-36).

And we could cite more examples of God’s laws being upheld by modern nations, such as the humane and dignified treatment of disabled persons (Lev. 19:14; Deut. 27:18).

Sadly, however, the trend these days has not been to continue in the path of righteousness. Consistent with the spirit of the times, wickedness is now the order of the day (Matt. 24:12) with abominations forbidden by God’s law brazenly practiced today. In the USA, the Ten Commandments are under attack (Ps. 119:126) being removed from public places. In fact, there is a worrying perversion of the civil liberties and freedoms that have their roots in the Bible in present-day America. For example, the concept of freedom of religion is now being reinterpreted to mean freedom from religion.

Disobedience and Divine Retribution

Because abominable practices are being carried out in flagrant disregard of the law of God, the Creator is offended, and in His anger the land He created is also offended. The more people do abominations, the more the Lord is angered and driven to unleash punishment on the disobedient. The root cause of natural disasters and catastrophes can be traced to this.

God especially punishes homosexuality, which defiles the land, by unleashing natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes which vomit out the inhabitants of the land (Lev. 18:22-28). Because of these increasing abominations, the prophet Isaiah bewails the earth as having been defiled and cursed (Isai. 24:5-6).

Natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and deadly Tsunamis do not happen by chance; they often follow hard on the heels of abominations committed to provoke God’s anger.

We look at a few examples, mainly centred in America. The Christian magazine Prophecy Flash (Aug. – Sept. 1999) gives a timeline of abomination-provoked disasters witnessed in the recent history of the United States.

The magazine reports that on October 17, 1989 just two days after a huge pro-abortion rally in San Francisco, a powerful earthquake measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale struck near San Francisco, causing deaths (“God’s Final Warning to America!” p. 55). The earthquake was said to be the fifth most powerful to hit America in the 20th century; it reflected the fierce anger of the Lord against the evil practice of abortion, a punishable offence in the Bible (Ex. 21:22-23).

In Old Testament times, abortion as a routine practice was not carried out. But still, the killing of babies/children (which abortion amounts to) was an evil well entrenched in pagan societies. Sacrifice of children was regularly made to the Canaanite/Ammonite god of fire, known as Molech, and the Lord strictly warned Israel on pain of death not to make any such abominable sacrifices (Lev. 18:21, 20:2-3. See also Deut. 12:31; 2 Kings 23:10; Jer.7:31; 32:35).

Today, the shrine of the children-eating Molech is the abortion clinic where many young ladies go to sacrifice their unborn babies. In the US State of California alone, over 310,000 babies are aborted a year, not to mention the national figure!

Won’t the Holy God of Heaven, the Creator of Life, visit vengeance on this wickedness? He will, and so will He continue to avenge His enduring pet hate—sodomy!

On June 28, 1992, the very first day of that year’s “Gay Pride” parades (the first Sunday in June is designated “Gay Pride Day”), Prophecy Flash reports that a string of earthquakes hit southern CaliforniaIdaho. God by the multiple quakes sent a clear message that sodomy provokes His anger and judgment. with effects felt as far as Idaho. God by the multiple quakes sent a clear message that sodomy provokes His anger and judgment.

The following year (1993) when Gay Pride Day came around, God had varied the punishment: He showed His anger by causing the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to overflow their banks. “The Great Flood of 1993, the worst in American history, started on Gay Pride Day.”

In March 1994, a series of thunderstorms and tornadoes tore through Alabama and then southern America. The week before, a week-long anti-abortion march, organized by the  Christian group Operation Rescue, had been violently opposed and attacked by pro-abortion activists chanting swear words against God. Just two days after the march and the ungodly counter-protest, the destructive tornadoes and thunderstorms struck!

God speaks to people who delight in wickedness in the harsh language of plagues and judgments, reserved for fools (Ps.14:1; Prov. 19:29). He did it in Egypt (Ex. 6:6); He did it in Sodom and Gomorrah and even against His own chosen people whenever they committed evil.

God does not condone evil (Rom. 1:18, 32). And so when America would not repent after repeated warning punishments, the nation, previously founded on Christian ideals, was in for more “stripes”.

Prophecy Flash reports that in June 1998, one of the severest plagues was visited on America when out-of-control fires erupted in and around the city of Orlando (in Florida), the venue of a week-long so-called “Gay and Lesbian Pride Celebration”. What might have incensed the LORD the more was the official national endorsement given the homosexual debauchery! Of all the presidential letters then President, Bill Clinton, could write, he sent a letter of congratulations to the homosexual community on the occasion of their vile celebrations!

The unstoppable inferno, according to the report, was made up of over 2,100 (individual) fires and burned 500,000 acres. After 24 days of unstop fires, over $1 billion in crop loss had been incurred, with 40,000 people forced to evacuate their homes.

This time round, God’s language of plagues had been consistent with the kind of punishment He metes out against sodomy—fire (Gen. 19; Luke 17:29). With the growing acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle around the world (as predicted in Isai. 1:9), surely the destruction of the world by fire is afoot.

The rejection of God’s law only brings doom and hardships, for “there is no peace, saith the LORD, unto the wicked” (Isai. 48:22).

But, oh, how our Heavenly Father wished we would keep His commandments always   that it might be well with us and our children forever (Deut. 5:29).

He draws our attention to His law of peace through the prophet Isaiah: “O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! Then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea” (Isai. 48:18).

And the Psalmist proclaims, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them” (Ps. 119:165).

In our obedience to God, we win the favour of Heaven, and “He shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness from away from the midst of thee” (Ex. 23:25-26). Yes, “the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever” (Isai. 32:17).

Regrettably, man loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19) and so continues to sin and work abominations (in the face of God’s Word) to provoke His anger.

The wrath of God at the wickedness of man as in Noah’s days (Gen. 6:5) is occasionally expressed in the form of earthquakes and other calamities. But soon the mild will give way to the severer—His wrath will be expressed in its fullest when He shakes heaven and earth and the stars fall to the ground and the moon turns into blood (Matt. 24:29-30; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 6:12 -17).

Now is the time to heed the gospel of Christ and thereby save ourselves from “the wrath to come” (Matt. 3:7-8). There is only one Lawgiver, Who is able to save and to destroy (James 4:12; Isai. 33:22). Let us obey His law of liberty, and nothing shall offend (trouble) us—not in this life nor in the world to come (James 2:12; Ps. 119:165). Amen!