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Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen. 6:5)

But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Tim. 3:13)

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Beginning with the Enlightenment in 18th-century Europe, philosophers have been intrigued with the idea of the perfectibility of man. Rousseau, for example, believed that man in his natural state is inherently good, and it is society that corrupts him. Make society better, and individuals will flourish. Easy, peasy.

What Rousseau and others overlooked, however, is the testimony of history. Every human effort to create the "perfect" society has ended in tatters. The French Revolution, Nazism, Marxism, the Chinese Cultural Revolution--all were premised on the notion that, given sufficient education and social engineering, humanity can achieve a heightened level of moral goodness without God. Violence can be minimized, fairness for all can be achieved, and a new age of prosperity and freedom can be ushered in. 

Of course, in every case the exact opposite occurred. Those in charge of shaping the "perfect" social landscape had to resort to threats and terror to get their way, and their projects drowned in blood. It never occurred to these geniuses that "society" is nothing more than the sum total of the people who make it up. Societies are corrupt because people are corrupt, including (often especially) those at the top. 

These utopian fantasies are doomed to perish in the face of unrelenting universal human sin. Inevitably, ceding power to "experts" to fix our social ills only expands opportunities for evil to escalate. Governments become totalitarian and tyrannical. "Justice" becomes an empty label that is slapped onto graft and corruption to make it more appealing. That's why the modern progressive, environmental, and racial justice movements are all headed toward the same miserable end. They will never reach their lofty goals, but masses of people will be hurt in the process of trying. 

The Biblical answer to social ills is not another government program that finally gets the formula right, but rather personal transformation. The gospel meets people where they are at, one by one, slowly seeping into their hearts and restoring them to a closer facsimile of the image of God. It is only when sin is addressed at the individual level that social healing can begin. 

If I want the world to be a better place, it starts with me becoming a better person.