Monday, May 23, 2011
The World Will End On _____
The media hoopla over Harold Camping's prediction that the world would end this past Saturday was both sad and silly. It's sad because there were people who totally bought into this date and quit their jobs, stopped paying bills and even sold their homes. It's silly because nobody can know when, how or if the world will end.
However, contemplating the end of the world is a human fascination. Biblical writers portrayed the world's end using apocalyptic poetry. To take these visions and images literally is to be guilty of a "misplaced literalism." When we try to describe the indescribable we are forced to use the symbolic language of metaphor. And, metaphors are open to a variety of interpretations.
Even though I believe that speculation about when or how the world will end is an exercise in futility, there is value in reflecting on the future. We all live toward some vision of the future. Is our vision one of hope or doom? How we view the future can make a great deal of difference in the present as it gives the present urgency and direction.
When it comes to the future, it's important to know what we can and can't control. We can control our own actions and how we take care of the earth we have been entrusted to care for as God's stewards. However, there is so much we can't control (i.e. the weather, natural disasters, astrological catastrophes).
I believe that Christianity presents a hopeful vision of the future. The world doesn't end in darkness and destruction, but is transformed into light and new life. Easter tells us that death is not the final word about us, but that resurrection and new life transform death.