There’s talk of the End of the World approaching again – and this time Christians attest the biblical proof that planet Earth might be approaching the end of an Age is irrefutable. They say the signs are all around us: The 7.7 magnitude earthquake that struck the Cayman Trough in January, simmering tensions between the U.S. and Iran that nearly escalated into full-blown war, the devastating brush fires and dust storms that ravaged Australia, the locust swarms plaguing Africa that threatens the food-security of millions, political turmoil in Europe that paved the way for Britain to turn its back on its EU neighbors, climatic extremes across the globe, and the outbreak of a virulent pandemic of COVID-19, along with its brutal cannibalization of global financial markets.
The End of the World, as many Christian scholars see it, doesn’t mean the world is going to end tomorrow or next week but that recent earth-shaking events are a warning-sign that we are about to enter a novel period of planetary turmoil or tribulation. In the bible, this foreboding period of unprecedented global suffering and distress is preceded by a divine intervention by God in the course of human affairs. Hopi Elders even have a name for it. They refer to this troublesome period as The Great Purification and they say few are likely to survive it.
In today’s secular world, where science and technology have a digital answer for virtually everything; such talk, no matter how convincing the arguments are, doesn’t bode well with today’s humanist society. As they see it, reality is linear, dictated by reason, governed by the laws of science, and not subjected to any life-altering changes caused by a supernatural realm. Be that as it may; no one can argue that the year 2020 is starting off remarkably different from any other most of us have seen in our life times. This is all under-scored by an ever-worsening series of crises that are threatening life on this planet for all us. The planet’s problems are numerous and compounding: climate change, ocean acidity and pollution, food and water scarcity, the rise in carbon emissions, the eradication of rain-forests and the destruction of coral reefs, unsustainable food demands, newly emerging disease patterns and growing anti-microbial resistance, the melting of polar ice caps and the subsequent rise of sea-levels across the globe.
Science and religion will never fully agree with each other – but at least now, they can meet in the same room and discuss why the impetus to address or even solve some of the world’s most urgent problems appears to have run out of steam.
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” -Luke 21:25,26
Signs in the sun, moon, and stars: A young, bright star has been acting a little erratic lately. The star, Betelgeuse, is suddenly dimming. It may be a sign, astronomers say, that the star is about to explode. Another possibility is the red supergiant may just be going through a phase. Ed Guinan, an astronomy professor at Villanova University, was the lead author on a December 8 paper entitled “The Fainting of the Nearby Supergiant Betelgeuse.” He told CNN that Betelgeuse has been declining in brightness sharply since October, and was now about 2.5 times fainter than usual. Once the ninth brightest star in the sky, Betelgeuse has fallen now to about the 23rd brightest. In the last half-century, the star has never dimmed so aggressively, and that could mean we’re on the verge of something extraordinary. –CNN Dec. 26, 2019
The Sea and the Waves Roaring: One child is dead and another is missing after they were swept out to sea with their father in Oregon Saturday, police said. Jeremy Stiles, 47, of Portland, was holding his 7-year-old daughter Lola and 4-year-old son William on the beach in the area of Falcon Cove in Arch Cape Saturday afternoon when a wave took them into the ocean, Oregon State Police said in a release. Police who arrived on the scene found Stiles struggling to get out of the water, while his daughter was further out in the ocean. An officer from the Manzanita Police Department was able to bring the girl back to shore, according to the release. The trail they were using was hit by a sneaker wave, according to the family. Sneaker waves are “larger-than-average swells that can suddenly and without warning surge dozens of feet higher up the beach than expected,” according to the National Weather Service. –CNN Jan. 13, 2020