“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
It would seem almost ludicrous to ask the question, has mankind made progress since his appearance on this planet? Many would answer that it should be perfectly obvious that man has come a long way from primitive beginnings in the cave.
Until recently, historians have always spoken of the idea of progress in history but this is now being seriously questioned. While it is true that there have been improvements and innovations in technology throughout human history, each step forward has brought with it a mixed blessing. For example, the movable-type printing press introduced about 1447 reduced the cost of printing, thus making, say, Bibles much more readily available. While this helped to establish moral absolutes, those same printing presses also produced pornography and politically dangerous ideas from the Greeks. More recently, television seemed like free entertainment, but overindulgence has robbed many of their health and the ability to think for themselves.
In those very early chapters of the Bible, we are told how in disobedience to God’s command, our first parents, Adam and Eve, ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is mankind’s fallen nature that has caused the good and the evil to come together as a package. We have made progress in technology, but we have also regressed morally. As it was in the days of Noah, the earth has become filled with war and violence by man’s use of good inventions put to evil purpose.
Dear Lord, we thank You for all the inventions and advances in technology that You have given to help us. May we be mindful of these gifts and always use them for good and not evil.
Nisbet, Robert. History of the Idea of Progress. New York: Basic Books, 1980.