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  • Eric Kampmann

The Hopelessness of Man Without God

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is

man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care

for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings

and crowned him with glory and honor.

—Psalm 8:3–5

What is man apart from God? If we look at recent history, we see a creature that, through his behavior, more accurately reflects the frightening monsters of horror films than the being described here as “made a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned . . . with glory and honor.”

The long, sorry history of mankind wandering in the wilderness of godlessness is perfectly summarized in the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. It is a tough minded picture, but it is hard to deny the truth of what Paul is saying: “Since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28–32).

Man apart from God is profoundly prone to corruption. Paul paints an unvarnished picture of what men and women really look like when they choose to live without God. It is a choice, but the good news is that our story does not have to end that way. God has provided a way, through the cross of Jesus Christ, that can transform the condition of the worst of us into saints who are “crowned . . . with glory and honor.”

Eric Kampmann, Signposts

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