Saturday, February 10, 2007
Review: The End
I have a general tendency to avoid end-times books because they are often alarming or extremist or worse and they usually try to set dates for the return of Christ. The End by Mark Hatch intrigued me though because he is a futurist (what a cool business card) who is a member of the World Future Society. He has been quoted in Wired magazine, worked with MIT, and has an MBA from the Drucker Center. Sounds like someone who should know what he's talking about.
Hatch takes a different approach than many end-timers out there in that he looks not only at Biblical prophecy but also at what current scientific thinking has to say about the future of our planet. I like this approach because much of what I am reading in newspapers and magazines would seem to support what Hatch is saying - that our planet probably has no more than another 40 or 50 years left before we reach the point of unsustainability. Hatch provides a summary:
"What are we currently facing? If you examine Biblical prophesy, secular predictions and general observations about today's global climate, here's the state of the world: The state of Israel exists, the gospel is preached around the globe, and we wander all over the globe in search of knowledge. Iran is on the path to joining the nuclear club, despots are pursuing genetic weapons, and nature is kicking back with AIDS, avian flu and super bugs.
Scientists believe that we will transcend the limitations of our species, merge with robots, radically evolve ourselves with genetic upgrades and live forever. Defense departments fret over asymmetric biotech assaults, regional nuclear war and the dissemination of more and more powerful weapons of mass destruction. NASA worries about asteroid impacts. Geophysicists are concerned about super-volcanoes and environmentalists are concerned about massive global climate shift.
Conclusion: Add them up and you have a persuasive case for these days truly being the last days. As I have shown in this book, it isn’t just Bible scholars who are saying it. This growing contingent of secular scientists, from the most respected universities and institutions are beginning to make the same type of statements."
I am still not convinced that dispensational premillennialism is the one and only correct view of Bible prophesy (a la Tim LaHaye, Billy Graham, and a host of other prominent evangelicals), however the scientific and social evidence alone suggests that we are in serious danger of reaching a crisis point sometime in the middle of this century beyond which we are unable to recover. That being said, I still fall back on the belief that God will keep us here as long as He wants us here. That's not an excuse for not caring about the environment, or trying to eradicate poverty, or working for peace, or being kind to your neighbour. It is simply trusting in the sovereignty of God to work it all out.
The End is not the most scholarly of reads but it is certainly worth investing an evening to read this short book. It will give you a good understanding of the dangers the world faces and will hopefully prompt you to pursue more information about some of the topics discussed. 3/5