Welcome To The Anthropocene

I have been struggling a bit lately with the steady stream of disaster and extreme weather news coming from, well, coming from just about everywhere on the planet.  After all, from the perspective of a blog writer, what use is it to just repeat the news here?  I seem to repeatedly point out that, one, the cause of the earth’s accelerating decay can be traced directly to the cumulative effects of sin and, two, the effects we see on the earth and on human society and exactly what Jesus Himself said we would see in the last days of earth’s history.  If that is what every post says, then it sounds like a broken record and is devoid of analysis or real meaning.  On the other hand, there is so much news that I feel compelled to comment.  I am working on a “What Happened in 2015 in Fulfillment of Prophecy” post, but that is not ready yet and so, as I say, I have struggled with how to provide context and analysis to the large volume of daily news on the array of disasters all around us.

Until today, that is.  Today Reuters is carrying a story about a recent study that argues that the “Anthropocene” has started.  “Anthropocene” is based on the Greek word “Anthropos” which simply means “man”.   So Anthropocene means that this part of the earth’s history is defined by the domination of man.  It is, for me, an ironic name because when man sinned, he lost everything — his happiness, his face-to-face relationship with God, his freedom, and his dominion of the world.  Because when man disobeyed God and therefore rebelled against him, he was conquered by Satan and the dominion which was man’s became Satan’s prize in his ongoing war with God.  To call today the age of the domination of man — the dominion of man —  is full of irony.

We would be better off calling this the age of consequences.  Certainly it would be more accurate.  Because what we see happening in man and in the earth today is the direct result of the cumulative consequence of sin.  The Greek word for consequences is “synepeia”.  So perhaps we should call this age “Synepocene”?

From the start, the reason God did not want sin to enter the world was because of its horrific consequences.  Ultimately, sin destroys whatever it touches, because sin separates creation from Creator.  And of course, sin separated us to large degree from God, destroying the close, face-to-face relationship we once had with Him.

Ultimately, the consequence of sin is death, and men are under the curse of sin (Romans 5:22) as is all the world (Romans 8:20-22).   Jesus Himself talked about consequences in Matthew 24.  In verses 6-8, He talked about the last days of the earth’s history, just before His return, and He described a place of misery and suffering that is filled with conflict, famine, disease, disasters.  A few verses later, in Matthew 24:12 He said  “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”  Lawlessness.  The word itself describes the root cause of the problem — man disobeyed God — he rejected His law and still does.

Satan, of course, remains extremely active in the waning days of his war with God.  He has lost the war of course — he lost at the Cross — but he battles on, bitterly taking to doom as many as he can get to join him in his rebellion.  No one who is fully informed will join him, so he deceives continuously.  And part of Satan’s deception is deflection of blame.  In the context of the current subject, that means he blames consequences on God.  Disasters, for instance, are blamed on God.  “How could He let this happen?”  Perhaps this is because there is a strong perception of God in this age as benevolent protector or a big brother who pulls us out of difficulties.  But God’s salvation is not an everyday cancellation of consequences so that we can happily get on with our rebellion.  God’s salvation is an ultimate salvation that cancels forever the fundamentally rebellious as well as the consequences of sin.  His salvation restores us to what we had before we were conquered by Satan.  And if we will admit to our sin, confess our guilt, and accept this salvation as Christ’s gift to us, we will receive it.

As we witness increasing disasters, as we witness the waxing coldness of the human heart, as we see suffering and disease and famine and disasters, let us remember:  This is exactly what God didn’t want to happen,  and this is exactly what Christ died to reverse.  Thank God for the plan of salvation!

But we’re not home yet.  So welcome to the Anthropocene Synepocene.

Scott Christiansen