The End is Near? (Or is it?)
Why do you suppose we are so fascinated with the end of the world? Why do I bring it up, and how do I know that this fascination exists?
First of all, my son and I just watched the new Avengers: Infinity War movie this past weekend. There are many themes that come up in the movie, but I wanted to write about this one theme in particular because the main character in the movie (the villain really becomes the main character of this movie in my opinion), Thanos, has that one line that is almost overplayed in the trailers, "The end, is near."
Now if you haven't seen the movie yet, fear not; I will not spoil the movie here. The trailers make it obvious enough, and familiarity with the comic story lines themselves, make it obvious that Thanos is bad news and wants to end the current state of things.
But why this fascination? You see prophecy forecast it all the time - Y2K, 2012 (The supposed Mayan apocalypse), each world war, doomsday prophecies predicted by radical preachers in the 1600s, 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s... all sorts of hype based on the idea that our world is soon coming to an end. And that hype gets supporters and followers every-single-time!
Is it because we were created in God's image? Do we have it programmed in our DNA, somehow, to just know that we have a limited amount of time here on Earth? I mean what made anyone ever want to start prophesying and warning people of the end, if they weren't convinced that God wanted us to know about it?
Is it because we've had astrologists and sooth-sayers, or Nostradamus warn us of doom and gloom for centuries?
Is it because astronomers are convinced that it's not a matter of 'if', but 'when' we could possibly get zapped by a gamma ray burst - or struck by some random meteor the size of Manhattan?
Whatever the reason for the fascination - the fact is the hype around such forecasting always generates a crowd. And we see fantasy and action movies, books, and graphic novels - all showing dire circumstances that could bring these end times about. From martial law, to apocalyptic wars, to disease and famine, to anarchy, to aliens - the end being near seems to be an always hot topic.
But is the end really near?
Being a Christian, I believe only God knows; and of course I don't believe there really is an end. An end to all things on Earth, as we know it? Sure - but I believe all of us are spending eternity somewhere. The Bible makes it pretty clear how you determine in which world you will spend forever. My firmly grounded faith gives me a secure sense of my destiny. But what if you do not have that faith?
What is it like just accepting the fact that on some unknown date, at some unknown time, all life will be annihilated? What about any notion of life after death? Are we all just supposed to be giant cosmic accidents, who are here one day, pieces of decaying matter the next? What kind of mindset does it take to even want to persist through life with such lack of hope for a future? What purpose or meaning do any of us have if we just vanish in dust at the snap of cosmic fingers?
As a Christian, I do believe God has given us signs that the end of this material world is approaching. But could I give you a number of years? No.
What do some of you think out there? Are we getting closer? Even though the movie is fiction, there are some pretty large-scale things that could happen to the planet Earth that would make Thanos himself tremble if he knew it were about to happen here. I'm not convinced...
But I confess I am just as fascinated, if not more than, the rest of you :)