Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Monday, December 03, 2007

    Brief Thoughts on Secular Warnings and Solutions concerning the End

    Through a NYTime's article, I came across a website entitled "How it will end" by Stephen Kirsch (the man who designed the mouse with an optical lens). In it, he references the IPCC consensus report which suggests that " By 2100, there is a 5% chance that the average temperature of the planet will rise by more than 6.4ºC."; and the he states that "If we continue to act as we have in the past and as we are acting now, the scientific consensus is that there is now more than a 5% chance that human beings could be virtually extinct in as little as 90 years from now." He attributes the problem and lack of solution not only to greenhouse emissions, etc., but to human ignorance, greed, etc. He goes on to refer to a study of what a 6.4C increase of temperature would look like and the effects it would cause, including not only the mass extinction of all life, but "Ash and smoke would blanket much of the southern hemisphere, and nearly half of the world's terrestrial biodiversity would be wiped out at a stroke." Of particular interest were Kirsch's references, vocabulary, and objects of hope when he refered to the need for a "savior", along with statements such as "Can we be saved? Sure, we still have the time and opportunity to save ourselves." and the fact that we can't expect "our president" or "the voters" to "save" us; not to mention where he says "Al Gore can help save the planet, but he can't do it alone.", "The Clinton Global Initiative may one day save us."; " The mayors of large cities may save us."; "The media could help us save ourselves."; "Warren Buffet could have saved the planet"; along with the possibility that "we" might "save" humanity. He then closes his article by stating "One generous donor with the right vision could literally save the world, but no such donor has stepped forward. Who will it be? I honestly don't know the answers to those questions. So Q.E.D: we are doomed. Enjoy the next 90 years. They will be our last."

    While I think the referenced articles (and Kirsch's article in particular) on some levels are not only interesting, informative and valuable reads [Note: informative in sense of what's being reported/said], and raise some legitimate questions about some problems humanity must address and deal with, including the problems associated with the human heart and the current systems in place to address humanity's problems; I think they also raise some interesting topics of thought of another kind, which I'd like to address.

    Observations and Thoughts
    1. It's interesting that for years the secular community has criticized the religous community for being "dooms day" prophets, and now they themselves are suggesting "we are doomed." (not to mention it's attributed to man's ignorance, greed, etc.) Are the ones who have condemned religous preachers now preaching the message they condemned, and preaching it the loudest? What's interesting is that even from their own mouths is the affirmation that both humanity (and the creation itself) is in need of a savior, though they cannot find one.

    2. While we must look to the scientists for the findings and projections, and while it is on one level noteworthy that scientists from around the world have come together (though one must ask if Kitsch's own discussion of the politics and interest of lobby groups, etc., on the local level should also be considered and applied, perhaps moreso, on the global level); isn't it interesting (or might it better be put) that the suggestion of the study which states "Ash and smoke would blanket much of the southern hemisphere, and nearly half of the world's terrestrial biodiversity would be wiped out at a stroke" is not too far off from the warnings of Revelation 8-9 ("a third of the earth was burned up", "a third of the stars turned dark", "smoke rose from it like the smoke of a gigantic furnace", etc.). The point is not that I necessarily equate the two as being the same or one as the cause or lead-in to the other, but what the secular community is now predicting is on one level similar to what the Christian community has proclaimed for some time but was ridiculed for, and that is ... that we cannot always count on things being the way they are now, and that great trials, tribulations, and problems of epic proportion lie not only in humanities' future, but the future of the earth upon which we live.

    3. It would not surprise me at some point in the future if humanity were to box itself in and have to face the consequences of our previous decisions and practices in a more significant way as we continue to grow and advance and have effect - we see this to be true on the level of the individual, state, nation, etc., why not on the level of humanity itself? Whether global warming will be the issue or not, I'm not sure, but history will tell (and we'll look to the scientists and others to project). Regardless of the answer, this reminds us of just how finite we are, not only as individuals but humanity as a whole. Again, God's glory and truth stand out and deserve recognition!

    4. Once again, it's not unusual to find the world without answers or solutions. Kirsch's concluding statements are deafening when he says "...I honestly don't know the answers to those questions...we are doomed. Enjoy the next 90 years. They will be our last." This is, and has been, and always will be the answer given by the world (though there are some who irrationally deny the issues and say all is well, along with some others who admit the problems but ascribe the solutions solely to man, though they have not the answers and cannot foresee them). However, the Christian answer has always been the same: Our hope is not to be found in humanity or in this world or in anything else, but is to be found in the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who has come to redeem this world, and renew it. Indeed, Paul was right when he said "I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hpe that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brough into the glorious freedom of the children of God." The world's outlook will always by one of death, destruction and doom, not only for the individual, but for humanity and for the world. But for the believer, there's hope, encouragement and even confidence in the old being rolled up as if a garment, and all things being made new.

    5. While some will cast this off as believers taking science and putting their own twist on it, it should be noted that secularists have not only begun to preach a message closer in similarity to what Christians have said all along, but that secularists themselves can find no solution/Savior.

    6. On some issues, Kirsch raises legitimate issues/questions. It is in the interest of humanity to evaluate and improve our present systems and means of addressing problems, to work to see that the interests of a few do not take precedence over the interests of humanity, and that we not only look to the scientific community but evaluate their work and hold them accountable (along with their proponents); but at the same time, if history along with science shows us anything, the issues of the human heart and it's affects upon everything else will not go away, and also is in need of a Savior. But here again, I see no solutions from the secular community... but the Christianity proclaims the one God himself has offered to those who will receive him. The question is "Who is it?" that will? Will you?

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