Paul in Ephesians said this:
11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists,
the pastors and teachers, 12 to equip his people for works of service,
so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity
in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature,
attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the
waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the
cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. 15
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every
respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. 16
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting
ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its
This process of attaining maturity in faith and practice could well be described as "moral progress", but it is moral progress towards a perfect, unchanging, absolute goal, namely Christ. The central challenge is overcoming the "cunning and craftiness" of people. The normal state of human society is wandering, not progress. It is wandering away from the truth in one area in one generation, only to wander back towards it in another. This occasional return to the truth is then trumpeted as progress, as though some new human achievement was in view. One antidote for this is to read Job's ethics and decide if we have passed him by with our progress.
- Feminism? Job gave his daughters and sons an equal share in his inheritance.
- Racism or caste systems? Job considered all people, from the beggar, to his servants, to the fatherless, to be equal in God's eyes with himself.
- Labor relations? Job took the complaints of his workers seriously and was conscientious in paying them fairly.
- Sexual ethics? Job foreswore all sexual immorality, even that sanctioned by the religions of his time.
- Politics? Job sought to do the right thing even when his popularity would let him get away with bad decisions favored by the crowd.
- Vengeance? Job refused to curse even his enemies, and forgave his persecutors.
The man lived about 3700 years ago. I do not see much sign of moral progress, merely struggling again and again the reach the same standard. (See Job chapters 29 and 31 for many examples of his ethical beliefs and practices.)