Confused Data, Growing Problems
The constant and accelerating decline of the key natural systems that drive life functions on this planet is fairly clear to anyone who sifts through the data. The fact that this profound and accelerating decline is the inevitable result of sin and separation from God is also clear to anyone who sifts through what the Bible has to say about the consequences of rebellion and the fate of the earth (and, of course, the whole point of Christ’s life and death was to provide a path of escape from the consequences of man’s decision to sin and reject God’s leadership). We can, in fact, match data from the steady march of global disasters to the predictions for end-time events that Christ made and find out that, indeed, we are in the very final days of earth’s history.
The picture and data are clear. Clear, that is, until El Nino happens. And the current El Nino is not just a normal event, it will end up being either the strongest or second-strongest such event on record. It is a fairly simple thing to track the changes in global rainfall patterns, with drought scenarios becoming more and more prevalent through the decades (and with that trend expected to steadily worsen, having massive impacts on food supplies and on the stability of human society). But then El Nino comes along and clouds the whole picture. For instance, is the emerging famine in the horn of Africa part of the accelerating decay of the earth or is it an El Nino impact? It is an important question: Are we seeing yet more acceleration in earth system collapse or are we merely seeing the effects of El Nino?
Currently, on every continent, there are extreme weather events that go beyond the trend-lines of accelerating system collapse. Drought is pandemic and drought-related human migration is increasing. Forest fires are spectacularly unusual in their extent, especially in the far northern range (Alaska and Siberia). Our oceans are heating up very quickly and are showing all sorts of anomalies, from mass die-offs of sea life to an apparent quickening of methane clathrate destabilization in the arctic.
And then there are the storms, which are getting not only more severe but also more unusual by virtue of where they occur and when they occur (for example, “winter-type” storms hit England during the summer). And of course, there are the killing heat waves, such as we saw in India and Pakistan this summer.
Below is a representation of sea surface temperature anomaly on a global basis. The collection of extremely anomalous hot water along the equator in the Pacific (otherwise known as “El Nino”) is the most dominant feature on the map. This El Nino is huge.
Problem is, even when El Nino is gone and the data become clearer, we’ll still have significant problems to deal with: Will Brazil’s drought continue and will human migration (and sickness and suffering) continue to accelerate in that country? What about California? Will it experience the damage and death that comes with tremendous rainstorms once El Nino winter rains really hit, or will the expected rain fizzle out? Either way, California is so dry that it will take more than one rainy season to set the state right. Problem is, often after an El Nino hits a La Nina pattern (which puts California in drought) will form. If the rainy season is not massive and a La Nina forms, then agriculture and property values in much of California will steeply decline and human migration in the US will become as much a story now as it was in the 1930’s.
Right now the signals the earth’s systems are sending out are uniformly bad and in tremendous acceleration. Is this increase in the distress of the earth mostly just El Nino impacts, or is it an increase in the acceleration of decline that is being masked by El Nino? I strongly suspect it is the latter. But either way, it should be increasingly apparent to Christians that we have little time left in which to work for Christ. Soon enough the everyday witnessing opportunities that we take for granted will fade away. How precious they will then seem!