This week, my son’s music teacher gave him a CD recording to help him learn some music that he plans to perform. He brought it home, not knowing exactly what to do with it. Even though CD technology doesn’t seem that old, we simply didn’t have a CD player readily available for him to play it. In fact, I had to do a little digging in the basement to find a device in our home that is capable of reading CDs so his recording would play. It made me think about how quickly the things that we use become obsolete.
Just as CDs have been superseded by streaming music services – and ironically vinyl records – we see other advancements pushing aside stalwart technologies. Electric cars now dominate automaker-marketing campaigns. Battery-powered bicycles prevail on the bike paths, leaving the human-powered pedal pushers in the dust. LED lightbulbs fill the shelves at hardware stores, replacing the tried and true, but inefficient, incandescent bulbs that haven’t changed much in the past 150 years. Even though these are current examples, it’s quite common to see the old replaced by the new.
Advancements have been a human endeavor from the beginning. However, new technologies only provide us with new ways of doing the same old things. Streaming audio services and Bluetooth earbuds serve the purpose of enabling us to listen to music. Yet, people have been able to listen to music since the first person on earth enjoyed another person singing to them. We are told by the industry that electric cars are supposed to make traveling easier, but traveling has been possible since man first sat on a horse. As Solomon reminds us, “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’? It has already been in ancient times before us” (compare Ecclesiastes 1:9-10). Even in the ancient times during which Solomon lived, he could see that modern inventions are only an illusion of advancement. But, man in his pride believes that inventions that cause obsolescence are the measure of “progress”.
The attempt to make progress through the replacement of ancient things expands beyond technology and gadgets. Today we see how quickly the Truth of the Bible is jettisoned aside to usher in a more modern interpretation of so-called morality. To cite a simple example, more and more nominal Christian churches are placing a perverted spin on marriage, ignoring the clear Biblical doctrine that it is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. The desire to adapt the interpretation of the Bible to fit the norms of modern culture is no advancement. Rather, the practice of selectively applying Biblical instruction to be convenient for human desire only corrupts the perfect Truth of God. The Word of God needs no replacement because it will never be outdated.
We are fortunate to have access to God’s perfect instruction to guide and direct us every day of our lives, regardless of our circumstances. “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him” (Proverbs 30:5). We can, and must, apply that pure Word of God in our lives if we want to fulfill our potential. There is nothing better that will come along in the future, because the Truth is enduring, perfect, and stands the test of time (compare Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:23). Technology may try to bring us more worldly convenience with each passing day, but we can be satisfied today with the perfect Truth of the Bible, knowing that it will never be obsolete.