A Twisted Earth and a Collapsing Biosphere
As humans, we live at the top of the planet’s food chain. We control the earth, bending it to our will, and using advanced agricultural techniques to force a robust harvest of food for our species. In doing this, we don’t think much about the welfare of the planet’s vast population of insects, birds, or other vertebrates and invertebrates. They don’t affect our food chain and so they don’t affect human society. Or do they?
An astonishing study was published not long ago in “Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences”. A more accessible summary of that report and its ramifications is available in the form of an article in The Washington Post titled “A Hyper-Alarming Study Shows Massive Insect Loss”. Here is the gist of the article: The insect and invertebrate world underpin life on the planet. The insect and invertebrate populations are crashing around the world.
Let’s take a closer look at both those statements. It is true that this current world is built on a pyramid structure, with the weaker and more numerous toward the bottom and the stronger and less numerous toward the top, with the stronger feeding off of the weaker. This is certainly the design of human society and human economic activity. But it is also the design of the natural world (a twisted design to be sure, and one that is very different from the account of the newly created world given in Genesis 1, or the restored world described in Isaiah 11 and Isaiah 65. In fact, if we look at the Bible, we can conclude that the organizing principle of the newly created earth was lovingkindness and we can conclude that everything gave to everything else (an excellent example of this in our current world would be a tree). But in our post-sin, twisted world, the organizing principle is selfishness and everything takes from everything else.
Here is a basic problem: A system based on selfishness collapses in on itself. This brings me back to the study above. We are seeing the bottom of the pyramid collapse in our selfishness-based world. One scientist who read the report called it “one of the most disturbing articles I have ever read.” For those who enthusiastically embrace a selfishness-based world, and who relish power and control over others, this study should give significant pause because when the base of the pyramid begins to collapse, the whole structure soon follows. This is the inevitable end-state of a selfishness-based system.
For those who do not embrace a selfishness-based world and who long for the world as it was created and will be re-created, with lovingkindness as its organizing principle, this study should also be a clarion call. For as we see the base begin to collapse, so too shall we see dramatically increased conflict and aggression, hunger and disease in both the animal and human sphere. Again, such is the inevitable state of a selfishness-based system in collapse. Such is also the exact description of the end-times as given in Matthew 24.
Those who are alertly watching will understand that now is the time for Christian’s to awake wholly to action. Now is our time more than ever to defend, comfort, heal, and feed those who are weaker and more vulnerable and who are therefore the most ideal victims of the selfishness-based world.
The foundations of the natural world are dying around us and now is the time to understand that all effort given in the service to a selfishness-based system will end in loss, and all effort given in service to Christ and his lovingkindness-based system will end in gain. Using the very logic by which this world runs, why would we ever invest our time (and our lives) in a losing proposition?
Added to this is another recent and “hyper-alarming” study that was profiled recently in the online edition of the National Geographic magazine. The article, titled “Quake Split a Tectonic Plate in Two and Geologists are Shaken,” is a fascinating read. Essentially, it boils down to this: earthquakes usually happen in fault lines in a tectonic plate or at boundary lines where plates meet (see this video from NOAA/NWS Pacific Tsunami Warning Center). Quakes also happen at various levels within a plate. But very rarely, a quake will actually rupture (and even begin to bend) a tectonic plate. A 2017 earthquake in Mexico actually broke – ruptured, if you will – a tectonic plate. And that is a problem, because if the ruptured plate is now deformed by the action of the plates around it, then a gap will be created and the plates around the world will rearrange themselves, setting off epic earthquakes while doing so. Such a scenario is described by volcanologist Bill McGuire in his book, “Waking the Giant” in which he discusses a pacific plate that has already begun to deform (though he does not expect the process to culminate for a very long time).
In Matthew 24 Christ Himself spoke of what would happen in the closing days of the earth. He spoke of massive increases in conflict, disease, and hunger. He also spoke of massive increases in earthquakes. So here is the thing, even as we have seen Christ’s other predictions increasingly come to pass, we’ve not seen a commensurate increase in earthquakes. But the seeds for that increase have been sown, and we will surely see the earth shaken like never before in the immediate future.
With so many signs around us, it is imperative that we turn our backs on a selfish world and on a system of selfishness, and instead embrace and live out a system of lovingkindness as exampled by Christ Jesus. In the end, we see not only systems in opposition: Satan and his doomed system of selfishness as exhibited here on the earth, and, Jesus and His system of lovingkindness, as exhibited by Him and His faithful (though imperfect) followers. With the systems and characters of these two on increasingly clear display, why would anyone choose to be part of Satan’s ill-fated kingdom?