At present, we are behaving like insane passengers on an aircraft, who are busy dismantling it as it flies along!
Jesus knew how it would be in the world at the time of the end – “Just as it was in the days of Noah….In the days before the flood, they ate and drank and married until the day that the flood came and swept them all away. It will be like that on the Day when the Son of man is revealed.”
If God has called us for such a time as this, He has His reasons. His salvation is the only hope and He has asked us to bear that message to those without hope. Why has He picked us for these times? We cannot know, but be sure that it is a privilege and let us live ready, willing and able for whatever He has planned.
Progress and profusion are the hallmarks of civilization and we are seeing an exponential increase in most everything – more and more, faster and faster. At first the momentum was gradual, imperceptible, checked by wars, the dark ages, plagues, etc, but in recent times, it has accelerated- the curve of every graph steepening like a mountain rising from a plain. Never before have we seen such speed and power as we have available today. Never before has there been such profusion in everything from population to pollution. Because progress proves so alluringly proficient, we built our entire economy around its twin engines of proliferation and differentiation. Progress has delivered on a grandiose scale, leaving us gratified and awed. To continue in the direction we are going is our only apparent option. Even if we wanted to stop, slow down or change direction, we would not know how to do so. But, why, who in their right mind wants to change our modern world?
The world economic system now dwarfs all the other forces in society. Progress and the economy are directly related. We can expect more and more, faster and faster as profusion expands and the world economy grows exponentially.
A recession is obviously not the preferred condition for any society. Therefore, people and systems will work to return to the condition of progress and economic prosperity, thus leading to more profusion of everything.
We have developed lifestyles so habituated to progress, that it is now very difficult to change or even slow this process. Progress is irreversible – based on the contention that we are addicted to it, therefore we are quite willing to accept whatever profusion comes our way. Much of it is not good for us or the world, but we don’t do anything about it because we are so dependent on always moving onward and upward.
Now, however, something dramatic, something different is happening in our generational shift. Life pace and change are escalating wildly. Without our permission, history has picked up speed, turbo charged by progress.
In the 1970s, many doomsayers made dramatic and somewhat premature assertions of how population, pollution, etc would cause the end of the world. By the 1980s the shock had worn off and people now look on progress as an asset, not as a threat, but as a promise. The entire concept changed from a depressing topic with apocalyptic implications, to an exhilarating one , with prosperity and growth to be encouraged.
I assume that most people reading this know about the presence of fallenness in the world, derived from Adam and Eve’s “fall” from perfection into sin. Even those not spiritually minded can see that there is a distortion in everything that constantly thwarts perfection. Without first understanding fallenness, it is impossible to fully explain what is happening in the world around us. It is like trying to understand infectious disease without knowing about bacteria.
When we understand fallenness, then we know why the many advantages we have in progress still do not offset the serious problems in the world system. With each new thing that profusion adds to the world stage, there is a downside that must be acknowledged, anticipated and dealt with. We realise why Utopia did not show up as expected.
We once thought that science would solve our problems. It has, indeed solved many, but has created additional ones, from weaponry to pollution. Antibiotics have resulted in widespread microbial resistance. Abundant food has resulted in unprecedented obesity.
Progress has put power and weapons without regard to wisdom, into the hands of the leaders of nations, the military, the media, the entertainment industry, etc. All our knowledge has not ushered in a brave new world, it has simply increased our ability to perpetrate evil.
There are more and more people, six billion and rising, in the world. This is not evil, the Lord said; increase and populate the earth, so we have. Each person is a separate, individual moral agent. Fallenness coupled with profusion, more people, more technology, more weapons, more mobility, means ever increasing statistics such as crimes, accidents, disease, and wars over land and resources. No matter what topic we choose we can find the good and the bad growing side by side. If we list all the positives of progress, it would be a very long list, but when we list the negatives we see such a daunting litany of problems, that they threaten the very viability of our society.
If the negatives are sufficiently dangerous, they cannot be offset by the positives, no matter how beneficial the positives are. If we fail to grasp this principal, we will also fail to anticipate the cataclysmic dangers of our future. No matter how large the quantity and quality of the positive, if the negative is harmful enough, it wins. This principal of lethality applies to all systems, from the individual to companies, nations, species, etc.
To summarize: The world is always experiencing profusion. As this increases, we have much new positive, but also much new negative, all growing at an alarmingly rapid rate.
No amount of positive can offset the negative if it reaches a certain threshold of lethality, it will prove fatal to our present world system. We have no possible option but to continue in this fatal direction because of our dependency on progress.
These days are not about fear, they are about privilege. These days will not be dominated ultimately by the chaos of worldly forces but by the sovereignty of God.
“I have told you these things, so that you might have peace” explained Jesus. “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”
It is time to start living as if we believed it.
Reference; Hurtling toward oblivion, Richard Swenson