- “Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Proverbs 14:34 NLT
What makes nations great? This is a question that has challenged scholars throughout history, and many scholars have suggested various answers. But it’s a question that each person should think deeply about too, because if your nation falls apart, then you and those you love are far more likely to be exploited, enslaved, treated cruelly, victimized by crimes and atrocities and many other injustices. This should be one of the top issues of education in in schools, churches, in the media, but most of the time this is ignored.
God said that godliness makes nations great. The Hebrew word there is “tzedekah” and involves righteousness (faithfully following God’s principles of love and confessing when we make mistakes and asking for help to do better) and justice, treating all as having the same rights to a decent life as we do.
A great short 6 minute video illustrating this is here:
Jesus said the top principles of godliness are “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” Mark 12:30-31 (e.g. Matthew 22:37-40, Luke 10:27).
God was fully aware that some people who claimed to be religious ignored God’s laws and hurt innocent people and condemned this as wicked hypocrisy repeatedly. But He also said that those who were truly godly, were the main factor that made nations great and protected them from collapse and disgrace. So he outlined the top principles of God for a lawyer. The Greek meanings of the words He used involve:
–love for God and all people as equals, acting to “always do good for each person and all people” 1 Thess. 5:15 which involves discerning what actions will do the most good for every level of society, from individuals to the worldwide level.
–using the special talents, traits, skills and passions God has given you to do as much good as we can,
–using the mind God gave us to think rationally and based principles of truth and proof to make wise decisions, to distinguish what is good from deceptions. Scholars say that the 3 most effective principles of truth are: pragmatic truth, correspondence truth and coherence truth. (add link**)
–to act on all these things in our daily choices.
Basically Jesus is telling us to make all our choices based on truth and love that does the most good for ourselves, our families, our communities, our nations, our world and for eternal life for as many as we can persuade to follow genuine godliness.
What happens when these principles of God are abandoned? The noted secular historian Will Durant wrote:
”The yearning for the spiritual just will not die. . . There is no clearer demonstration of this hunger than the experiences of Russia and China….The greatest question of our time is not communism vs. individualism, not Europe vs. America, not even the East vs. the West; it is whether men can bear to live without God.” Will Durant, On the Meaning of Life (New York: Ray Long & Richard R. Smith, Inc., 1932) 23.
He wasn’t saying that you can’t physically live without belief in God. He was asking whether people and societies can really live to the fullest most abundant life, empowering the most satisfying life for the most people, thriving and advancing without falling into the pitfalls of immorality, crime, greed and injustice that have caused the fall of civilizations throughout history.
Another historian who came to the same conclusion was Alexandr Solzhenitsyn who actually had dreams of writing the history of the great Bolshevik Revolution as the best way for nations to live. The editor of the New Yorker newspaper, David Remnick. wrote this,
“No writer that I can think of in history, really, was able to do so much through courage and literary skill to change the society they came from. And, to some extent, you have to credit the literary works of Alexandr Solzhenitsyn with helping to bring down the last empire on earth.”
But, once he criticized president Stalin to a friend. The police heard about it and he was sent to prison for 8 years. In the prison, his days were filled with backbreaking labor and slow starvation and torture. He began thinking that his life made no difference in the world. He saw no reason to continue living.
He slowly walked to a work-site bench and sat down. He knew that a guard would soon come, order him to stand up, and when he didn’t, the guard would beat him to death. But, he didn’t care.
As he waited, a saw a skinny, old prisoner sit down next to him. The man said nothing. He just drew on the ground at Solzhenitsyn’s feet. He drew the sign of the Cross. The man then returned to his work.
Solzhenitsyn stared at the sign of the Cross. His life changed. He was still just one man in prison. Yet in that moment, he knew that there was something greater than the evil in the prison. He knew that Jesus was greater than all evil. Jesus was greater than the Soviet Union. Jesus had suffered excruciating torture much to bring incredible truths to the world that stimulated the greatest human rights movements in history. He realized that man’s hope was represented in that simple Cross. Maybe he too could bring good to the world. Through the power of the Cross, anything was possible. He got up & went back to work. Through the cross, Solzhenitsyn had received hope.
At the end of his life, he wrote about many of the crimes and atrocities that happened throughout the world and said:
“More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
Since then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our Revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous Revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.
What is more, the events of the Russian Revolution can only be understood now, at the end of the century, against the background of what has since occurred in the rest of the world. What emerges here is a process of universal significance. And if I were called upon to identify briefly the principal trait of the entire twentieth century, here too, I would be unable to find anything more precise and pithy than to repeat once again: Men have forgotten God.”
The objective reality is that when men reject Jesus our Creator and the God of the Bible, men then become gods in their own eyes. But each many has major tendencies to exploit, enslave, abuse, steal from, kill or commit acts of violence against those who don’t agree…and so without God, every society has devolved into some kind of totalitarianism.
Those who refuse to read this from the history of mankind in the Bible that God has in love given to the world, are bidden to read read the same story in the history of the nations.
If you think about other historical events, it is impossible to find one with such significant implications for human lives as Jesus’ resurrection. If Jesus really resurrected and this is based on certain truth and infallible proofs as Bible writers repeatedly attest and many elite lawyers, historians and scientists have affirmed, this changes everything. Whether God became man, died and resurrected becomes the sole, primary or major factor in all the major decisions of life as well as many of the minor ones, including these below and many others.
Some time ago I was talking with a sincere secular physicalist scientist, and showed him the Bible’s claims that faith is based on proof, especially the proof of Jesus’ resurrection and a little of the vast academic evidence for it. I also shared some of why it is so important for us to think carefully about including how God’s principles inspired Judeo-Christians to pioneer nearly all major human rights, pioneer the foundational methods and branches of science, how it transforms how we relate to other human beings as fellow beings created by God, and is by far the most solid proof humans have for eternal life being possible. He responded with one of the most profound insights on the significance of the resurrection of Jesus I have ever heard, rivalling that of most Christian pastors and theologians.
“I’ve been pondering your comment, ‘the evidence for the resurrection is vastly superior to pretty much every other event in history according the standards of legal courts and historians’…I tried to think of a few other disputed historical events…I see that there are far far far more witnesses for the resurrection. I see that they are far stronger and more emphatic…As I thought about the resurrection, I came to realize it is entirely in a class of its own, quite separate from all my other examples…
The baggage attached to the resurrection is tremendous! One cannot simply accept the resurrection as if it were some kind of stand-alone event…Jesus resurrection changes what the nature of reality is… In order to accept the resurrection, one must abandon naturalism and accept supernaturalism… It changes whether science can include supernatural conclusions or is only materialistic. In order to accept the resurrection, one must abandon the idea that consciousness is an emergent phenomenon of the brain and accept that spirits carry our identities. It means ancient people knew more about the high-level nature of our Universe than modern scientists! That’s a big deal! It means there is an afterlife! It means there is a God! It means Christianity is true and all other religions are false! How many lives have been spent just trying to settle that?! It means we need to figure out how to weave the Bible in with scientific understanding. One doesn’t just accept that the resurrection occurred. It requires taking a philosophical leap into a completely different paradigm of thinking.” David Smith, atheist scientist
This is why Jesus’ life has been so contentious and why so many powerful people have tried to stop people from knowing the facts about Jesus’ resurrection. It is the most radical and transformative experience a human being can have on earth. I have written about some other major reasons why if Jesus’ resurrection is a powerful proven fact as the Bible contests, many scholars affirm, and many have experienced for themselves, it is the most life changing fact on earth. Jesus resurrection has deep significance in all the areas below and others.
GOD IS THE ULTIMATE SOURCE OF LIFE AND WISDOM
- Jesus really is “the way, the truth and the life”, (John 14:6), the Bible is true and since truth sets people free (John 8:32), all who love truth and desire freedom and the highest and most satisfying quality of life should listen carefully and follow what Jesus says as the ultimate source of wisdom in every field of knowledge.
- The Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit created this earth and life and thus know how life works best for individuals, communities, nations and the entire planet in all fields and subjects (Genesis 1, Isaiah 40:18-19, 25-26,28, Matt. 19:4, 1 Tim. 4:8, Proverbs 9:10, etc.).
- Godliness is valuable for eternal life and this life (1 Tim. 4:8).
GOD IS LOVE AND THE BEST GUIDE FOR LIFE AT THE INDIVIDUAL LEVEL
- Incredibly, the Godhead that created the university want a relationship of love with each and every one of us as friends, not servants, to develop every aspect of our being most fully so that we can experience the best quality of life and contribute the most to the lives of others. (John 15:15, Luke 2:52, Eph. 5:1, 1 Cor. 3, Matt. 5:48)
- The Bible’s claims that freedom comes from following God’s wise principles are true (Psalms 119:44-45, James 1:27) and the popular idea that freedom is doing what you feel like (which often is heavily influenced by societies, cultures and corporations influencing what people want to do regardless of whether it is good for them) is a deception that exploits people.
- There will be some suffering and hard times for believers and non-believers on this earth, but we can and should be cheerful through them because Jesus has overcome the world and God can bring good out of evil (Romans 8:28) to help us develop our character, skills, mental strength and maturity (James 1, John 16:33). Science confirms that choosing to be happy helps our brains function ~20-30% and difficulties make us stronger.
- **God gives us real objective purpose in life in both good/bad times. This adds ~7 years to life according to science and helps brain function.
- God is the source of every good gift including: Health, happiness, economic justice/stability, marriage/family, creation and Sabbath which points to all of these and many more.
GOD DESIGNED US TO LIVE IN COMMUNITY & THAT IS HOW WE FUNCTION BEST
- The church community, based on a belief in the resurrection and Jesus’ sacrifice for others, helps us establish an altruistic community. Harvard professor Dr. Wilson says altruistic communities always thrive best vs. selfish ones. Churches best enable interdependence, which is the highest level of success according to Stephen Covey.
- God is the primary motivation for justice, service, human rights. The Bible says that this is a crucial essence of godliness (Prov. 29:7), that it makes nations great (Prov. 14:34), and that godly people should speak out against injustice (Prov. 31:8,9), as Jesus did in his mission (Luke 4:18-19).
- God tells us to treat others as equals. This is crucial to help meet and work with people from many places and backgrounds (Gal. 3:28).
GOD HAS THE BEST IDEAS FOR NATIONAL THRIVING AND JUSTICE
- The rise and/or fall of civilizations is based on how well they follow God’s principles (Prov. 14:34, Deut. 17:17-20, etc.).
- Justice for billions: Many people have suffered terrible crimes
and atrocities because of sin (such as the holocaust). God is the only one who
can give justice for them. The resurrection makes this possible. Atheist can’t
“The most “dangerous” idea in human history remains the belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God and rose from the dead. It turns the universe from a meaningless chaos into a designed place in which there is justice and hope. It alters us all. It’s why so many people [oppressors] turn against it.” Peter Hitchens.
GOD HAS THE WISEST PRINCIPLES OF TRUTH, RESEARCH & SCIENCE
- God’s truths helps us detect truth vs. deceptions/fallacies/propaganda. We need to evaluate claims of truth in health, economics, environment, education, science, govt., media, parents, friends and culture/society, by what God says because His way will prove true and best long term (John 17:17, 16:13, Psalms 25:5, Prov. 12:19, etc. ).
- The Bible’s claims that there is true knowledge/science and false knowledge/science and many deceptions that we need to be wary of is very important to understand and avoid (Matthew 24:24, 1 Timothy 6:19-20).
- The Bible’s claims that greed is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10) and will cause terrible times in the period before Jesus comes is the first place we should check whenever there are abuses in society and nations (2 Tim. 3:1-2).
- The Bible’s claim that hell is a real place designed to destroy all abuse, sin and suffering (Matt. 10:48, Rev. 20:14-15) is true.
GOD IS THE ONLY SOURCE OF ETERNAL LIFE
- God’s promise of resurrection is real and if we choose to love and follow God, we will live forever and also see our loved ones who have died in a place where there is no sin or suffering and our bodies will be restored to the original glory as God created humanity with before sin (Rev. 21:1-4, 1 Cor. 15:50-54.)
- There will be a final evaluation of every life where God will reward all work done for Him in heaven in ways beyond our imagination and also often in this life too (1 Cor. 2:9, Rev. 22:12), but where those who reject God’s offer of mercy will have to experience the penalty of the abusive things they have done to others (Luke 12:40-48). Atheism in stark contrast has no rewards done for good and can do nothing about vast amounts of injustice that people get away with in this world:
“Atheism is the most cruel hypothesis of all. For it says that in the end injustice cannot be righted, suffering cannot be redeemed, evil triumphs after all. There is nothing more the atheist can say to the victims of Auschwitz.” Francis Bridger “Why Can’t I Have Faith?” p. 72).
- The Bible’s challenge claiming what profit is there if we gain the whole world and lose our own souls is the most important question in life (Matthew 16:26). This life compared to eternal life is like an ant’s life compared to ours. This is also important because it is usually those who have confidence in eternal life who are most willing to sacrifice to stop injustice done to others and pioneer human rights.
- The Bible’s claim that there is eternal life where there will be no pain, suffering or tears, and we will be able to know our Creator and Saviour face to face and explore the endless universe and develop the deepest relationships with beings throughout the universe is real. Also real is that the God of the Bible is the only power that can give this gift to those who meet God’s conditions of accepting His grace and learning to live in God’s wise laws of love and freedom on this earth (Rev. 21:1-4, 1 Corinthians 13, John 14:6, John 3:16, 1 John 2:1-6).
- And many more.
As Oxford professor C.S. Lewis wrote,
“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. “
Jesus lives and He continually demonstrates this in the lives of many believers who follow His principles. He wants to begin a relationship with you and take you on an adventure that will start on this earth, transform your life, have major impact on the lives of people around you, and eventually enable you to explore the vast universe that He created for you to experience! Won’t you start this journey with Jesus today?
If you want to do that, this link will help you start that journey to the fullest and most abundant life you can imagine!