Why would a nation or a society or culture, particularly a large powerful one – a seemingly indestructible one – collapse and lose its dominance? It’s not because the enemy has superior firepower, and it’s not because of the state of the economy, and it’s not the threat of terrorism or subversion: these are all symptoms of a deeper sickness.
Biblically, the causes of destruction are spelled out plainly for all to take to heart – or ignore. And it’s the ignoring which is the root cause,. It’s the worst thing to happen to any society, because although a people may think they are self –sufficient, in reality they cannot survive without God any more than a fish can survive out of water. Peoples bring judgment upon themselves by intentionally ignoring their Creator and his ways, and going their own way.
When a nation is embracing gross sin as though it’s something good, it’s already under judgment, because this is in itself a sign that God is handing that nation over to its own foolishness and its self-destruction. God eventually gives up a society to its own will, so that it destroys itself from within, and becomes vulnerable to attack from the outside. There is no need for “lightning bolts” from heaven. Tell God to go away for long enough, and He will.
Paul describes the process of decay from within:
1/ although the Creator is clearly detectable and knowable from Creation alone, people collectively turn their backs on Him (Romans 1:19-21);
2/ they claim to have become wise, but have in fact turned into fools (verse 22);
3/ they worship humanity and nature instead of God (verses 22 and 25);
4/ God reluctantly hands them over to their patently unnatural and destructive sexual desires, since they have rejected the natural and godly expression of passion that he created them to enjoy as “not enough” (verse 24-27); see my post https://nickyfisher.wordpress.com/2013/04/12/passion-its-not-sinful/
5/ since people completely reject any knowledge of God, God allows them to slide into complete depravity, so that the very worst in human nature comes out: violence, envy, arrogance, greed, murder, deceitfulness (verses 28-31);
6/ they give approval and free reign to each other’s depravity (verse 32). In the final stages of a nation’s self-destruction comes an open acceptance and a prideful promotion of all that’s evil. It’s the collective legitimization and the setting into law of all that’s offensive to a perfect God, and the cursing of all that’s good. It’s the attitude which says in effect “God is wrong and we are right, and we’re going to do what we want anyway, because it’s our world”.
Isaiah said this about spiritual lawlessness:
“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).
God doesn’t sit and think “Oh dear, what shall I do now?” In fact, He’s got it all in hand, and the “woe” can’t be far behind:
“Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. Let us break their chains, they say, and throw off their fetters” The One enthroned in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them” (Psalm 2: 1-4).
“The Lord Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty”…”the arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of man humbled” (Isaiah 2:12-18).
Examples of divine judgment, which followed self-judgment, can be found throughout the Bible, but two examples are very well known. The first, the Flood of Noah’s day, is found in Genesis chapters 6 and 7:
1/ everyone on earth had corrupted their ways (6:11-12);
2/ the earth was full of violence (6:11);
3/ every inclination of the thoughts of men was only evil all the time (6:5);
4/ God’s prescription for life was abandoned (6:2).
The second most well-known judgment is that of the city of Sodom, in Genesis chapter 19. The men of the city had already judged themselves by their immoral lifestyle and their contempt for God and man, but this was followed by the judgment of God when their city was destroyed (19:15-29).
So there’s a Biblical pattern of causes for the destruction of any society:
1/ ignoring God and claiming that He’s not there;
2/ calling good evil and evil good;
3/ violence and murder
4/ gross sexual immorality and perversion.
The West is as vulnerable to self-destruction and judgment as any other culture is. Biblical examples of destruction and judgment are given to us as warnings. But when the warnings are ignored, what other hope is there?