Humanism-The Fifth Woe
Extract by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Modern men and women, with all their cleverness, are incapable of inventing a new sin. The worst forms of vice and evil being committed today are to be found somewhere in the Bible. Nothing new under the sun! This boast and claim of modernity, and the idea that the majority of people are not Christians because they are “up to date” and “twentieth-century people”, is a most futile and foolish claim. I can understand people who say that they are not Christians and do not accept the message, but they must not say that this is because they live in the twentieth century. There is nothing new about such a rejection of Christianity. People have been rejecting it throughout the centuries, and for exactly the same reasons, as we shall show.
This astounding chapter in Isaiah’s prophecy shows us these things very clearly, both the contemporary character of the word of God, and the fact that there is nothing new under the sun. History is most important, and if you study it you will find that it goes round in cycles. We think that we are advancing, but that is an illusion; we are always going round in a cycle. This is seen very clearly in the matter of fashions in clothing, as everybody knows. I was reading in a newspaper the other day of a man who kept a suit a number of years. For a long time he had been ashamed to wear it, but now it had again become the fashionable thing to wear!
This is not only true of clothing – it is equally true in the realm of thought, indeed in every realm. Human beings are never very original; they merely go on repeating themselves and the Bible brings that out in a most extraordinary manner.
What does humanism mean? I cannot give a better definition of it than these words of Isaiah, “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” Humanism is belief in humanity. It is interested solely in men and women without God. It banishes God because it believes that human beings are sufficient in and of themselves. That is the very essence of humanism. Man is the centre of the universe, and there is nothing bigger, and nothing greater.
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