Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Scientitic American delves into our fascination with "the end"

Scientific American devoted their entire magazine this month to our fascination with 'the end.' According to the scientists, we focus on the end because of our pattern seeking brains, and also to feel special. In the September issue, the editors and writers take a hard look at all kinds of finales, including doomsday scenarios. The magazine presents 18 stories all devoted to the end, finality, sustainability, catastrophe, and doomsday. They opened with an editor's note, below:

Eternal Fascinations with the End: Why We're Suckers for Stories of Our Own Demise
"Welcome to "The End," at least as we know it. The features here, from the September 2010 issue, cover a range of topics, such as the decomposition of human flesh, the disappearance of cultures, the Earth's remaining natural resources, and apocalypse scenarios. Once again, the world is about to end. The latest source of doomsday dread comes courtesy of the ancient Mayans, whose calendar runs out in 2012, as interpreted by a cadre of opportunistic authors and blockbuster movie directors. Not long before, three separate lawsuits charged that the Large Hadron Collider would seed a metastasizing black hole under Lake Geneva. Before that, captains of industry shelled out billions preparing for the appearance of two zeros in the date field of computer programs too numerous to count; left alone, this tick of the clock would surely have shaken modern civilization to its foundations."

We have always been fascinated with life endings, planet endings, universe endings... Those who are not saved always wonder what comes after death, since they do not know. I used to wonder this question often myself, musing on the eternal question, 'is this all there is? Or is there something else?'

In 1970 we 'celebrated' our first Earth Day. Earth Day is a day that is intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's natural environment. Not the God who made the earth, but the environment, the result of His works. That early focus on environmental appreciation turned to hysteria, and doomsday movies centered around population explosion and earth sustainability came along, notably Soylent Green. This award-winning and popular movie depicted the investigation into the brutal murder of a wealthy businessman in a dystopian future suffering from pollution, overpopulation, depleted resources, poverty, dying oceans and a hot climate due to the greenhouse effect. Much of the population survives on processed food rations, including "soylent green." Tune out now if you do not want to know the ending of this movie. OK, here comes the spoiler. The processed food named 'soylent green' is people, it is made from human flesh. The film ends with the main character Charlton Heston screaming, "Soylent Green is people!" It became a catchphrase throughout the 70's.

In this article from the Scientific American issue devoted to "The End", "Laying Odds on the Apocalypse: Experts Assess Doomsday" the writers ask "Could modern civilization really come to an end? Experts take stock of eight doomsday scenarios."

Yes, civilization really will come to an end. The unsaved with their fascination with the end, yet at the same time denying they have a fascination with it, say "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3:3) I think it is an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand our culture constantly depicts 'the end' in movies, TV shows, and films, and the public gobbles them up. On the other hand, mockers and scoffers mock and scoff at the notion that the world really will end, sneering that the world always has gone on and it always will. Methinks they doth protest too much.

As for eschatological Christians, that is, Christians in the branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world or of humankind, are fascinated with the end for a reason: it IS the end. And we will see Jesus, the author of the beginning and the end because He is the Alpha and the Omega. We are a unique generation. We are the ones that will not see death, but be transformed alive to our promised glorified bodies, and dwell with our Savior forever. Who wouldn't be fascinated by THAT?!

Scientific American can look no further than the bible to discover what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen, even at the end. Here is a summation of all the prophetic verses in the bible: The ungodly will rebel, they will refuse Jesus' nail scarred hand of salvation, and they will meet their end. The end will come, not by overpopulation or asteroid or global warming. The end will come, and it won't be as stimulating as comfortable intellectual discussions from ivory tower editors and scientists publishing theories in magazines. The end will come, and it won't be as sexy as when they watched it in the movie theatres with fancy graphics and computer generated people. All one needs to do is look at the bible, and believe what it says. The end is there:

"looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!" (2 Peter 3:12)

"The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is thoroughly shaken." (Isaiah 24:19)

"The mountains melt beneath him and the valleys split apart, like wax before the fire, like water rushing down a slope (Micah 1:4)

"By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:7)

It is the end for the ungodly, but that is not the end! It is not the end for the Godly! Believers in Jesus will see the earth renewed! We will live!

Rev 21:1-6 - "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true." He said to me: "It is done."

So. It is the end and it is the beginning. It is an Alpha and an Omega. I hope to see you there!!!

1 comment:

  1. Ohhhh Yeahhh! I remember Soylent Green! That movie is probably why I do not eat anything with "soy" in the name. I remember "Death Race 2000" also as a possible future solution to those pesky old people. I am sure either option is available in Obamacare. :0)

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