Prof. Dr. Werner Gitt
Englisch: Wer hat die Welt am meisten verändert?
Who has changed the world the most?
Wir suchen den, der die tiefste Spur in der Menschheitsgeschichte hinterlassen und das Leben anderer Menschen am meisten beeinflusst hat. Wer hat die größte Bedeutung für unser Leben?
Folgende Kriterien werden benannt, nach denen wir beurteilen wollen: Wer hat den Menschen die größte und weitreichendste Hilfe gebracht? Wessen Aussagen sind nie veraltet und heute noch hochaktuell? Wer hat sich persönlich für jeden von uns eingesetzt? Wessen Tat ist für jeden von uns wirksam?
Zur Beantwortung dieser Fragen wird das Wirken von Menschen aus unterschiedlichen Bereichen betrachtet und schließlich die Person genauer beschrieben, auf die die richtige Antwort zutrifft. Von allen, die über diese Welt gingen, ist der Gottessohn Jesus Christus der Einzigartige und Unvergleichbare, den niemand kopieren kann.
Who has changed the world the most?
Have you ever thought about which person in history has had the greatest influence on the lives of other people? We will search for the one person who has left the deepest impression on human history. Where should for look for such a one? To answer these questions, we will first consider the work of people from different fields.
Would it be one of the great explorers? Among these, the Italian Christopher Columbus (c. 1451–1506) stands out. He was looking for a new sea passage to the East Indies by sailing westwards. In the process, he discovered a part of the earth hitherto unknown to Europeans: America! Millions found a new home here, so that their lives were profoundly altered.
Or consider the inventors. Our modern world was especially revolutionised through one invention—that of the computer. In 1938, the German civil engineer Konrad Zuse (1910–1995) made the world’s first functioning programmable computer. This device has since made a triumphant penetration into all branches of science and administration, thereby significantly transforming the world.
Might our search find its object among the great revolutionaries? In 1917, Lenin (1870–1924) sparked a revolution in Russia and founded the Soviet Union. At the end of World War 2, it reached its greatest extent, covering 22.4 million km2, a seventh of the entire world’s area. The plazas in all of its cities had prominent Lenin memorials. He was the omnipresent ‘God of the Soviet Union’. The idea of communism was meant to conquer the entire world.
From the day of his burial in the Lenin Mausoleum in Moscow in January 1924, guards were posted there day and night, rotating hourly. Thousands passed by the glass sarcophagus every day. Brides and grooms went to the mausoleum for their wedding, instead of holding it at a church. But from Wednesday October 6, 1993, the Lenin Mausoleum—the pilgrimage site of communism—was no longer guarded. A report by the Itar-Tass news agency simply stated: “The country’s number one guard post has been closed due to a change in ritual.” The mausoleum has been closed since November 1993.
An ideology had collapsed, one that led to the greatest mass murder and persecution/murder of Christians of all time. The power politics emanating from the former Soviet Union recorded well over 140 million victims. The suffering that communism brought upon the entire world is immeasurable. Russian writer Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821–1881) rightly said, “Those who think they are doing justice by denying Christ will end up drowning the world in blood.”
Many scientists have traversed this planet. Einstein, Planck, Heisenberg, Newton, Darwin, Pavlov, Mendeleyev are just some examples we could name. Darwin helped the theory of evolution to break through. This notion was enthusiastically received by many because it was thought the world could now be explained without God. It has since been refuted by the natural laws of information, so it should now be regarded as an error-of-the-century fallacy.
Albert Einstein (1879–1955) is regarded today as the greatest scientist of the 20th century. Irish poet George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) invited him to London for the premiere of one of his plays. On that occasion he delivered the following eulogy on Einstein:
Napoleon and other great men of his type, they were makers of empires,
But there is an order of men who get beyond that.
They are not makers of empires, but they are makers of universes,
And when they have made those universes, their hands are unstained by the blood of any human being on earth.
Ptolemy made a universe that lasted 1400 years .
Newton also made a universe which has lasted 300 years.
Einstein has made a universe, and I can’t tell you how long that will last.
Finally, let us contemplate the philosophers. We here encounter a formidable list of names: Aristotle, Socrates, Plato, Locke, Hegel, Nietzsche, and more. Marx is credited with saying: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” In the countries of the former Soviet bloc, his ideas were elevated to be the basis for the state, economy and society. After the collapse of communism, the extent of their destructive influence became apparent—in the state and the economy, but also in the souls of the people.
Let’s take stock for a moment:
All of the people mentioned above have changed the world. Some did so in a very positive way and others in an extremely negative way. But of all who have ever walked this earth, who has changed the world the most? Who gets the super gold medal, one not followed by any silver or bronze award? First, let’s name the criteria by which we will judge:
- Who has brought the greatest and most far-reaching help to people?
- Whose statements have never gone out of date, and his teaching is still highly relevant today?
- Who has personally intervened for each one of us?
- Whose work is effective for each of us today?
- Who has so deeply impacted my own life that I, as author, would write the text you are reading? Columbus? Goethe? Copernicus?
With the bar set so high, only one remains. He is the one we now want to hear about. His CV—as will be seen—is clearly not exceptional. Nevertheless, this person is the only one whose impact reaches directly into all of our lives. Who could this person be?
An anonymous writer sketched this man’s life something like this:
- He was born in a remote village as the child of a craftsman’s wife. He grew up In another village and worked in a small workshop, until he was thirty years old. Then he wandered the countryside for three years, telling people what he thought was important.
- He did none of the things we normally associate with greatness and recognition.
- He was only thirty-three years old when public opinion turned against him. That was surprising, because he helped a lot of people.
- His friends ran away from him.
- He was handed over to his enemies, and had to endure a mock trial.
- He was sentenced to death, although no one could prove him guilty.
- He was nailed alive to a cross between two robbers.
- While he was dying, his executioners rolled dice for his clothes, which were his only earthly possessions.
- When he was dead, they placed him in a borrowed grave. A friend provided it for him out of pity.
Who is this man
with this particular biography?
- Twenty centuries have now passed, and to this day he remains the central figure of humanity and the engine of its advancement.
- All the armies that ever marched and all the fleets that ever sailed have not accomplished what he did in three years.
- All the parliaments that have ever met, and all the kings that have ever reigned, put together, have not influenced the lives of the people of this planet as much as this unique man.
That is Jesus!
Let us now focus on the question: So who is this Jesus?
More than 60,000 biographies have been written about him. No person in world history has been portrayed as often. Napoleon apparently said of him: “People will talk about him [= Jesus] forever, and people will die for him. No one will speak of me [= Napoleon] anymore, and no one will die for me.”
No one had to die for Jesus. He never demanded it of anyone, but nonetheless countless thousands of people throughout history have voluntarily gone to their deaths because they did not want to deny him—and this continues to our day. People were compelled to die for Napoleon, but now no one goes to their death for him.
1. Jesus is the Son of God
At his baptism, a voice sounded from heaven: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). If the voice speaks of his Son, then the One who speaks the words must be his Father. This voice came from heaven—it came from God himself! And on the Mount of Transfiguration, God speaks out of the cloud: “This is my beloved Son; listen to him” (Mark 9:7).
When Jesus was interrogated before the council of elders, the high priest asked him, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God” (Matthew 26:63). Jesus professed to this in His response: “You have said so” (Matthew 26:64).
2. Jesus is the Creator
The Bible begins with the words: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The word for God here is the Hebrew ‘elohim’, which is a plural noun. The creation account itself makes it clear that God, the Father, is not the sole agent in creation: “Let us make man” (Genesis 1:26). In the New Testament the ‘who’ regarding creation is more precisely unfolded. Thus, according to 1 Corinthians 8:6, Jesus Christ is clearly involved in the work of creation: “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we exist.”
Hebrews 1:2 says: “… through whom [= Jesus] also he [= God] created the world”. The beginning of the Gospel of John also documents that everything has its origin in Jesus: “All things were made through him [= the Word = Jesus], and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3). In Colossians 1:16–17 we read further about Jesus’ creatorship: “For by him [= Jesus Christ] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.” In our visible, material world, there is nothing that was not created through Jesus. The huge cosmos with its millions upon millions of galaxies is included here, as well as the finest details making up a living cell, or the structural composition of an atom.
But Jesus is not only the Creator, He is also the Sustainer of this world. Everything has its continuance in Him. The world has not been left to itself after its creation, but through His powerful Word He also sustains and maintains it. So we do not need to fear a cosmic catastrophe from a collision of stars, or the burning out and cooling down of the sun. Jesus sustains the world until His return.
As Creator, Jesus is thus also the Lord over all things: He both devised and instituted the laws of nature. Therefore, He can also override them as needed. We then call such actions miracles:
Stilling of the storm (Mark 4:35–41): While Jesus was travelling on a boat with the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, a violent storm arose. He was asleep on board, but the disciples saw themselves near death. When they woke Jesus, His short rebuke of the wind and waves was enough for them to immediately fall silent. He has power over the laws of nature.
Raising of Lazarus (John 11:1–45): From the perspective of Mary and Martha, Jesus came to Bethany too late to heal the sick Lazarus. Lazarus had already died, but for Jesus there is no being late. He issued the two commands, “Take away the stone”, and “Lazarus, come out”. That was enough to bring the dead Lazarus back to life.
3. Jesus is the unique one
Of all who ever passed through this world, Jesus is the unique and incomparable one, whom no one can imitate.
He is the only God; none of the gods claimed by various religions has visited our world as He did. In John 5:19 Jesus says, “For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” This statement by Jesus that He can do all that the Father does unmistakably shows that Jesus is God. For who can do all that God does? Only the one who is Himself God! Through my believing in this Jesus, God has met me!
He is the only one whose biography was made known centuries in advance. He is the only one of whom His birthplace, His nature and His works, and the circumstances and details of His death, were precisely foretold and also set down in writing.
He is the only one who remained without sin (1 John 3:5).
He is the only one who conquered death through His resurrection, so that now it is true: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54b–55).
He is the only one who gave Himself over to death out of love for us: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
He is the only ruler whose kingdom will be everlasting: “... his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:27b).
He is the only one who has revealed to us how world history will end one day. His coming again will be the conclusion. And then it will be confirmed that I have made the right decision in this life.
He is the only one who shows us the way to heaven. In John 14:6, He says in very unequivocal fashion: “I am the [only] way, and the [only] truth, and the [eternal] life; no one comes to the Father [to heaven] except through me.” Numerous other verses also speak with this unmistakable clarity, of which we select only two examples here:
“Whoever believes in the Son [of God] has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son [of God] shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name [but Jesus] under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Who has changed
the world the most?
The question we asked at the beginning can now be easily answered. With His words: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” Jesus indicates that His message of salvation is addressed to all people worldwide. Everyone is invited: “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). Now all that matters is that we entrust our lives to this Lord in faith, and consistently walk with Him. I explain how you can do this in a very practical way at wernergitt.de/turning.
No one, other than Jesus alone, has done greater things for us human beings—thereby He has not only changed me, but has also changed our world the most.
Director and Professor (retired)
Dr Werner Gitt Ph.D.
 W. Gitt with B. Compton and J. Fernandez: Without Excuse – Information: the Key to Life. Creation Book Publishers, Atlanta, Georgia, USA, 2018, Ch. 8 (pp. 183–206).