14 May 2010

Topic for discussion

Is human nature getting worse as time moves forward, or is it simply the case that things just seem worse with every passing generation? In other words, is the decay of the universe on a descending curve or has human nature been consistently as weak as it is now since the fall?

Tawk amungst yaselves...


Chad Myers said...

It's been worse, it'll get there again.

It's the cycle: Man walks with God, man prospers, man gets comfortable and forgets God, man drifts away from God into corruption and debauchery and the influence of evil forces, man brings calamity upon himself or God forces it because He needs to speed up the process for some reason. Man returns to God to save us. Repeat.

We're in a "fat, dumb, happy" time right now. Which means we're due for a calamity of some kind.

Jon M. Ellingworth said...

Looking at the question existentially, human nature is not getting worse; human nature is what it is, and what it is is sinful and corrupt - period. Human nature has not changed for the better or for the worse since the fall.

What we experience as "worsening", perhaps, is more the result of learning and technology, e.g., there is no new sin, only more efficient ways of sinning.

I think that we also experience God's "giving men up" ( παρέδωκεν αὐτοὺς ὁ θεὸς ) to their passions, lusts, and debased mind (Romans 1:18-32). This is similar to God's "hardening" of Paraoh's heart: Pharaoh's heart was already hard; it was only by God's grace that Pharaoh was at times "softened" and almost turned. When God withheld His grace, Pharaoh's heart hardened -- that is to say, he became who he was. So, man's nature is fallen, corrupt, and sinful; what we experience as "worsening" might also be attributed to God withdrawing His grace, ever so gradually, over time, until the end.

George said...

Entropy increases. I learned that from a Doctor Who show a long time ago. It has served me well.

Other than that, what Chad said sounds good.

Rev. George Naylor

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Since our culture began to celebrate immorality, all the ugliness of sin has come out of the closet into the living room disguised as entertainment. This then further desensitizes those who do not know enough to close their eyes and ears and brings forth even more sin. We seem to be in an endless downward spiral.

I agree with Chad. We are in a "fat, dumb, and happy" time right now. However, I'm not sure we've reached the summit of the current brands of folly yet, and I fear any corrective calamity is still a ways off. I have a feeling things will just continue to get worse the closer we get to the end of time.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

Things cycle. However, as we age, I think we can see wickedness in the present more clearly, as well as tending to white wash the past a bit -- so it will always seem that things are getting much worse than they hard. We can romanticize the past some.

Rev. Paul Beisel said...

It could be one of those "coram Deo v. coram mundo" things. In other words, in relation to God, we are just as bad as we have always been; in relation to each other, we get better and worse at different times.

Father Hollywood said...

I agree that there is a cycle of corruption and repentance, individually and collectively. But I think there is an undeniable "big picture" of universal entropy as the world runs down. I believe human nature is getting worse as the world ages.

Or to put it as our Confessions do in the following observation:

"In these last times of which the Scriptures prophesy, the world is growing worse and men are becoming weaker and more infirm" (AC 23:14 German, Tappert, p. 53).

The Latin reads: "Inasmuch as the world is growing old and man's nature is becoming weaker, it is also well to take precautions against the introduction into Germany of more vices (AC 23:14 Latin, Tappert, p. 53).

I think we deny this reality not only at the peril of leaving behind a quia subscription, but also at the expense of understanding the cascading degradation as a result of the Fall. I think we delude ourselves if we think we're on a flat line instead of a downward slope or spiral.

Erich Heidenreich, DDS said...

Americans say U.S. morality is getting worse.