Friday, July 31, 2009

Christianity's Mysterious Obsession

Why does one err even after having spent an hour "sitting at the feet of Jesus?" You'd think prayer and Bible study as well as "giving your power of choice to Christ" would take care of the rest of the day. It does not. Some might say that one errs because one took one's eyes off Jesus. Still, there must be some other factor that throws a wrench into the engine of a struggling Christian's day.

God, it is said, respects our power of choice. If you spend time in devotional exercises and enjoy them day-by-day, but still err within minutes or an hour after your time of spiritual devotion, something else must be taking place.

Could the experience of erring itself be a test? Could the test be whether you feel that the Christian life is not what it's purported to be? Does it make sense to spend time on your knees and in the hour of prayer and still err because, deep down inside, you want to err anyway? Sometimes you might not want to err, but slip up and then the challenge takes a different turn.

Do you let errors, faults, slip-ups--fill in the blanks--discourage you that your Christian experience is false or not worth the trouble? Or do you persevere because in spite of your errors, you still find so much beauty and sustenance from the time spent in prayer and bible study each day?

If you've enjoyed the Christian life for a while and find it to be a valid approach to the challenges of life, you ignore the fact that something is not quite right with your life and you don't understand what it all means, but, nevertheless, you don't cease being a Christian in spite of the failures. If anything, your failures indicate that you need Jesus more and more. You may not be the successful Christian you'd like to be right now--or ever--but it is better to be a struggling and imperfect Christian than not to be a Christian at all.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Third of the Trees are Dying, Literally

CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) is currently causing bees to completely disappear by 2035. With the bees gone fruits, vegetables and nuts will be gone, as well, since bees--not wind--pollinate these crops. Humanity would need to survive only on wind-pollinated crops like wheat and rice. While humans have survived during past historical periods on a non-varied diet, optimum health and quality of life as we know them now, will be a thing of the past. While humans may survive the loss of all fruits, vegetables and nuts, many animal species which depend on these foods will not survive. If the wind-pollinated crops also become endangered--which is certainly not impossible--starvation will quickly take its toll on humanity.

As I watched this PBS documentary, The Silence of the Bees, the text from Revelation came to mind right away and these words haunted me the more I watched as the mysterious dying of the bees was explained.

. . . "A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the
trees were burned up
, and all the green grass was burned up."
Revelation 8:7 (New International Version)

Supposedly, malnutrition, parasites, pesticides, and finally, a virus are to blame for a third of the bees having already died out quickly. While this may explain this phenomenon partially, no available solution has been found to reverse this loss of bees. While this may explain the mystery of the dying bees, it does not answer as to why it's happening in what appear to be apocalyptic proportions.

If the bees disappear--and they will die out by 2035 unless a way is found to reverse the process--most of the foods we eat will also disappear. When the food disappears, more and more humans may very well start to experience ill health and then die, even in civilized countries. With the death of more and more of humanity, untold problems will appear, e.g., riots, revolution, and the break down of civilization.

Yes, science may yet save the day, but if it cannot, then we may be witnessing the gradual extinction of humanity or we may be seeing something else.

What if the End, the apocalypse spoken of in the book of Revelation, is really upon us?

During the Cold War it was nuclear destruction that was feared. How much simpler will the end be ushered in: by the dying of the bees and everything that follows in its wake.

Pray that the bees live on, as well as all of life and its interconnectedness. If you can't pray for that, then pray for yourself and your family that you will survive the long-foretold End of all things.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Evolution's impact on Good and Evil

Science insists that evolution has happened and may, very well, continue to happen. If evolution is good science, how can you fit the conflict between good and evil into the big picture? Do you suspend belief in science and it's proofs for evolution, i.e., natural selection, the fossil record, etc., and affirm your faith in the Bible's creation account and its concurrent 6,000 year age for the Earth? If you accept that Adam and Eve existed, and the Bible makes their creation very important to the future history of the human race, how do you account for evolution's suggestion that death existed before Adam and Eve sinned? These are not easy questions, but they should be addressed lest they continue to hound us for years.

Recently a possible solution started to take shape. Evil and it's close cousin, sin, existed from the very beginning of cosmic time. I'm not suggesting that there was never a time that evil did not exist, although theoretically it has always existed as an essential opposite of good and its close cousin, righteousness. If evil and sin existed before the fall, then how could Adam and Eve be punished, as well as their once-perfect world, if evil already existed before they sinned? Was the Adam and Eve experiment, if you will, another opportunity to see if free will would choose good instead of evil? How many other Adam and Eve experiments have there been? The universe is pretty old; its age numbers in billions of years. Has this tug of war between good and evil been going on for as many years?

In a related line of thinking, if evil theoretically could always exist as an alternative to good, would it make sense to prevent the possibility of evil rising again, if at some golden future event, evil is vanquished by divine agencies? Wouldn't that be as unjust as never allowing evil to exist the first time around?

The best our universe can ever hope for--realistically speaking--is to keep evil at bay. There will always be evil--albeit in its quiescent state--in the same way that all of the complimentary opposites must always exist. Left is incomplete without its direct opposite, right. Up and down must ever exist. Dark and light, as well. Good and evil, by their very nature, must always exist in some form or another. To think otherwise is impractical and incomplete.

Intelligent beings have at their disposal the option to bring about a universe where good and righteousness by the grace of God, triumph time and time again, over evil and sin, ad infinitum.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Creating an Ideal World: Adventist Futurism

What would an ideal world be like? How would you bring it about? Before anything can be achieved it has to be envisioned first.

Computers, spacecraft, the Internet--the list goes on and on--first had to be conceived before they could be invented and perfected. As unlikely as it seems, had Jules Verne never written From the Earth to the Moon (1865) which depicts a rocket launch from somewhere in Florida, no one would have gotten the idea to make that vision come to pass a hundred years later.

What is not being done now that could improve the world beyond recognition? There must be something that either has to be added or removed before a new reality could take place. We could wait for it to come into existence on its own. While not impossible, perhaps implementing a think tank of sorts to bring about an ideal reality might achieve more than simply waiting for something that may take millennia, or perhaps may never take place.

We should pool our best minds from every nation and work towards an approach to perfecting reality in as little time as possible.

I'm reminded of the vision of Isaac Asimov in his Foundation series (Foundation, Foundation and Empire, Second Foundation.) In order to avoid a long decay into barbarism, efforts were implemented to shorten the decay of the galactic empire to only 1,000 years. Why can't something similar be done to solve the major problems of our present reality?

What are some of the greatest challenges to an improved reality? Eliminating war, poverty and hunger are the first things that come to mind. Others might be providing education, medical care and a place to live to everyone on our planet. The third phase would be addressing environmental problems, managing natural phenomena such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Finally, the greatest gift we could give our world reality would be to take measures to move beyond our sometimes fragile planet and seed the known universe with our people, our technology and our dreams.

One possible approach might involve a little-known group of people. It's as if they had almost been kept a secret from the rest of the world for some grand vision of enhancing reality. Adventists are some of the most educated people in the world because they have higher education and progress as one of their cardinal principles. Adventists may very well be some of the most wealthy people in the world when you factor in of all their collective capital. Next to the Catholic church Adventism is the richest church in existence. This is not a widely-known reality. It would be easier for a future-oriented think tank to rise out of the Adventist Futurists than from any other traditional body.

Tap into the unknown power of your mind and literally create an ideal world.

We're here for a special God-given purpose: to better the world.

For a related post please consult Adventist Futurism.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Great Controversy Prophecy Is on the Verge of Taking Place

Only an avid reader of Ellen G. White's Great Controversy would find this headline in today's New York Times astounding:

Pope Urges New World Economic Order

The lead paragraph is like a swim in a cold ocean:

VATICAN CITYPope Benedict XVI on Tuesday called for a radical rethinking of the global economy, criticizing a growing divide between rich and poor and urging the establishment of a “world political authority” to oversee the economy and work for the “common good.”

Another paragraph contains a reference to labor unions which Ellen G. White also was wont to attack:

Indeed, sometimes Benedict sounds like an old-school European socialist, lamenting the decline of the social welfare state and praising the “importance” of labor unions to protect workers. Without stable work, he notes, people lose hope and tend not to get married and have children.

It seems that Ellen G. White did have a window into the future after all.