Sarah Parham

Progress is aimless

When I claim that progress is a myth, I think that the first rebuttal would be “what about science?”  And this is a fair question.

Since science is so closely associated with progress, especially in today’s technological world, I want to understand: what is the goal of science?  I mentioned in my last post that our goal as humans since the fall has been to gain reentry to the garden of Eden.  It would seem to me that science is the tool that humans are using to fight our way back into the garden.  Science is the vehicle we are using to attempt to mow over those cherubim with flaming swords.  We use science and technology to control and manipulate the world around us.  I believe in our souls we miss the real connection we had in the garden with God and with people.  There was no competition or desire for power keeping us apart…of course until the bite.  So in our search for this real soul connection, we seek to be able to always be in connection.  Enter social media.  As we were created, we were not meant to die.  There is a piece of that essence still in our souls that knows that death is not right for us.   We were not made to die.  That’s why we rail against death at every turn.  Enter medicine.

Yes, I would agree that we have made some progress in these areas…I guess.  In technology we have made identifying and catching criminals much easier.  But we have also given these people tools to perfect their art.  Through social media people are now always able to be connected, literally anytime and anyplace.  But the competition has increased significantly, and the “real” part of the real connection has been lost almost entirely.  We put up false facades which are a buffer to real connection.  We are further from this goal than ever.

In medicine we have increased the longevity of life.  But at what cost?  And more importantly, to what end?  Sure, we can control grandma’s diabetes.  And that’s good, but what is the point?  Is grandma still living?  Really living?  We can rid the world of malaria.  And that would be good!  But then people would die from something else.  The real truth is that we aren’t fighting malaria or diabetes, we are fighting death.  In the world of medicine we have been fighting death so hard, we have forgotten to look at the living.  The recent debate over the “Death with Dignity” laws have brought this truth front and center.

I don’t really want to debate these issues individually, at least not in this post.  What I am trying to see through to is the aim of it all.  If we are seeking progress, then progress towards what?  I think that all persons, religious or not, if given a description of the original created order, everyone would agree, with a sigh of relief even, Yes, this is what we’ve all been chasing after.   I want the world to know that this is attainable!  This is our destined end.  God has promised a new heaven and a new earth.  We are working ourselves full circle.  We will reenter that place of real connection, of pain free, tear free, eternal living.  There will be an end to death!  But it won’t come at the hands of science.  It will only come at the merciful hands of Jesus Christ.  He alone can conquer death and the lies that keep us apart.  And when this happens God will get the Glory!  ALL the glory!

Science isn’t bad.  The pursuit of health and wellness on this earth isn’t bad.  But when we are talking about real progress:  A world where there is lasting peace, no more wars or death, there is only one place to look.  There is only one vehicle that will get us there:  the cross of our resurrected Savior.  Glory to God!

Comments (5)

  1. Mom

    Thanks for this reminder…

  2. Debra

    You hit a lot of buttons here that derailed me a little while I was reading…sending me down rabbit trails beginning with “but…”. However, you nailed it down in the end…and you are right, there could be much discussion, but mostly based on individual perception and experience. Thanks.

    1. Sarah Parham (Post author)

      I went down many rabbit trails in writing this post. I chose to leave them all out for this very reason. 90% of them are based on perception and experience. Also, the rabbit trails themselves are not what I want the focus to go to. The focus should be Jesus alone!

  3. Jared

    Okay. So it probably breaks some rule of the blogosphere to comment 10 days after a post, but I had to chew on this a bit to form my thoughts on it. (Then I had to read the newer posts to make sure what I have to say jives in the context.)

    I’m a big fan of progress and a self-proclaimed optimistic futurist. I agree that Eden is the goal; however, there are a limited number of ways we can usher it in. What brings the second coming: wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in various places and everyone having a chance to hear the Gospel, right? The first few are out of the question as I favor pacifism and unless we do some hardcore fracking or really mess with plate techtonics we can’t really control the earthquakes. However, we CAN contribute to everyone hearing the Gospel. And progress allows us to understand how much more of this goal is incomplete.

    With a flattened world and wide-reaching technology we are able to collaborate and share and commmunicate and understand what is happening with the church (a.k.a. people of God). The Joshua Project and other organizations try to compile stats on Unreached People Groups and that allows believers to catch the vision of where they can go, send, or pray for.

    Of course, direct revelation (God showing up in a vision to a person or group) could happen at anytime so regardless of our ‘planning’ of reaching the world so we should be prepared at anytime–heightening our own awareness of personal holiness and urgency for reaching the lost. But we need progress to further equip us with the tools to help complete the Great Commission.

    1. Sarah Parham (Post author)

      Thanks for responding Jared! I started in a much more negative direction when I began this post series, but having been challenged, I couldn’t say that progress is a complete loss. I sincerely appreciate all that progress affords us in this age. I’m not sure I would have made it in another. However, as you are stating here, without the aim being the glory of God, progress only seeks to glorify us. And the Tower of Babel tells us how that goes…. Seriously though, thanks for responding!


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