trusted online casino malaysia
Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

The Corruption of Culture (Redeeming Culture, Part 3)

And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son – Enoch. Genesis 4.17

Something culturally wrong

Human beings are made for culture. They take to it like ducks to water. We see this from the opening pages of the story of human history as this is presented in the Bible.

Here is a religious ceremony, there brothers converse among their cultivated fields, a city is founded, tools and music and animal husbandry appear, a poem with a catchy rhythm pops into the mind of its composer and is recited to his wives.

The gifts of God for making culture are already beginning to proliferate among the earliest human beings, but there is something very desperately wrong with this picture.

The people in the vignettes mentioned above – Cain and his descendants – do not seem to understand the proper use of culture. Cain’s offering of a sacrifice to God appears to have been either a self-serving or merely perfunctory act, for that cultural activity was rejected by God. His conversation with his brother, which on previous occasions may have been about who would do which work among the crops on that day, was on this day constructed as a ruse to lure Abel out into the field, in order that Cain might kill him, perhaps with one of the implements made for the cultivation of the fields. A city is built, but it bears a man’s name, to honor him, not God. Industry and agribusiness appear, but solely for advancing the wealth and power of a particular family, one of whom, puffed up with his cultural achievements, killed at least one man for slighting him in some way, then wrote a poem about his deed and recited it to his wives, as a boast and a warning.

Culture off the tracks

Shortly after the fall into sin, culture is off the tracks. Human beings are engaging in all manner of cultural activities, and a good deal of what they are doing appears to have nothing to do with honoring God and carrying out His true, good, and beautiful purposes on earth. God’s gifts of culture-making are obviously at work here, but their use has become corrupted by mankind’s rebellion against Him.

Following the fall into sin, culture quickly became a means for gaining advantage over others, building strong tribal and national identities, and suppressing or enslaving those whose cultural achievements did not match up. Every imagination of the thoughts of men’s hearts, being only evil continually, was bent on making and using culture in merely self-indulgent ways, and this, as we know, ultimately provoked the judgment of God in the form of the flood against men and their corrupt cultures.

The entrance of sin into the experience of men could not but affect their culture. When men became a law unto themselves, they projected those self-serving ways on every aspect of their lives. They considered that culture was a tool for defining, sustaining, and enriching themselves at everybody else’s expense, or, at least, without regard for the needs or interests of others.

It was every man for himself in those early days of culture-making, and this is a condition which, because of the persistence of sin in the human situation, we continue to experience even to this day.

When culture becomes corrupt

Culture becomes corrupt when it is employed according to the whims and passions of men rather than the purposes and standards of God. We hardly need to argue that much of contemporary culture falls into this category. Not only are the will and ways of God ignored and flouted, but many aspects of contemporary culture are in all-out rebellion against God and His rule.

This situation demonstrates the power of sin to corrupt culture, so that it becomes, in many ways, a vehicle for lies, a source of evil, and a cause of ugliness of various kinds. When culture falls into this sorry state, it is the duty of those who perceive this condition to do whatever they can to redress it. Christians are the salt, light, and leaven of the world; it is our duty to take every thought, and all of culture, captive for obedience to Jesus Christ, to redeem culture from the destructive powers of sin and rebellion, so that it can be renewed for the purposes of God and His glory.

Next steps

In what ways can you see the sinful effects of the fall on the culture of our day? What is the role of the Church in preparing church members to recognize the state of culture and work to redeem it? Talk with a pastor or church leader about these questions.

Additional Resources

Download this week’s study, Redeeming Culture.

Sign up for ViewPoint Leaders Training and start your own ViewPoint discussion group.

Want to go a little deeper with culture? Order T. M.’s book, Christians on the Front Lines of the Culture Wars from our online store.

Men, download our free brief paper, “Men of the Church: A Solemn Warning,” by clicking here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.