Incomplete Progress


Theologian Carl Henry’s magisterial work, God, Revelation, and Authority, sought to order all of life under the rule of Scripture. Believing that original sin taints all that man does in secular vanity, Henry counts “human progress” a fiction. As grand as works of technology, art, and scholarship may be, when people attempt them without faith in the Creator and then turn to these constructs for meaning in life, they are idolaters.

Why is it that the magnificent civilizations fashioned by human endeavor throughout history have tumbled and collapsed one after another with apocalyptic suddenness? Is it not because, ever since man’s original fall and onward to the present, sin has plummeted human existence into an unbroken crisis of word and truth? A cosmic struggle between truth and falsehood, between good and evil, shadows the whole history of mankind. The Bible depicts it as a conflict between the authority of God and the claims of the Evil One. Measured by the yardstick of God’s holy purposes, all that man proudly designates as human culture is little but idolatry. God’s Word proffers no compliments whatever to man’s so-called historical progress; rather, it indicts man’s pseudoparadises as veritable towers of Babel that obscure and falsify God’s truth and Word.1


1 Carl F. H. Henry, God, Revelation, and Authority Volume I: God Who Speaks and Shows Preliminary Consideration (1979; reprint, Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1999), 21.

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