In his 600 plus page exposition of post-millennialism (He Shall Have Dominion) and opposition to it largely from pre-millemnialists Kenneth Gentry points out one objection such that post-millennialism is too much like evolution theory and/or that post-millennialism isn’t doom oriented sufficiently in the short-term. Nothing apocalyptic and exciting like a rapture or 7 year tribulation is going to happen (it happened in the 7th decade of the first century).
Pre-millennialism is comparable to stock market forecasters predicting a vast stock market crash followed by a 7-year tribulation where the anti-Christ rules or maybe his beast. Then the world as we know it ends with the Second Coming of Christ who sorts things out positively. Though the 2008 Wall Street meltdown is a loose scaled-down model of some aspects of pre-mill visions history provided innumerable other examples of boom and bust socio-economic cycles with corrupt leaders and corrupt morals. Post-millennialists are somewhat more optimistic.
Post-millennialists (remaining in the stock market metaphor) are like investors who believe the market’s long term trend is upward though there may be occasional crashes. All of the worst doom of tribulation occurred in the 1929 crash and the stage was set for-long term increase. When the market has fulfilled its role serving humanity the Lord will appear to take things farther (and reward the lost with their abode in hell and outer darkness maybe gnashing teeth).
The market trend metaphor for long-term increase of people being saved and a Christian social environment prevailing could be fulfilled on or off world. Perhaps for a time amoral evolutionism woos those desiring change to such an extent that a reprobate planetary environment becomes normal. Maybe networks of plutocrats will crush free expression and wars and rumors of wars will become televised or live entertainment on the Internet or smart phones however in the long-term Christianity will increase and at the real end time the tares of anti-Christian sewn in the midst of the temporal association of the kingdom of God will be gathered and burned. For post-millennialists Jesus will return physically at the end of days yet he is already here living spiritually in the hearts and souls of those that have been born again in the spirit.
Apparently the idea of progress of the Universe through evolution or change (change to American Democrats seems to mean ‘gay’) is associated with all things secular and materialist rather than spiritual; so in some way an interpretive paradigm of the Revelation and Christian eschatology that is comparatively optimistic is by pre-mil default regarded as in the Darwinian condo.
One readily discerns that issues of evolution and eschatology are not simply of ecclesiastical or academic interest. The Presbyterian Church USA’s June 2014 vote to doctrinally approve homosexual marriage demonstrates slippage into apostasy that can occur with socially natural causality. Corrupting politicians and persons may reduce social morals to a compote useful for scientific manipulation by elites bereft of moral concerns.
I should say that I view the 2nd law of thermodynamics and various interpretive time literals for the physical cosmos as packed with subjectivism and preponderantly de trop for finding the truth about a schedule of eschatological events that aren’t as knowable prima facie as the date of the 2030 Super Bowl.
Space-time and Einstein’s General and Special theory parameters cohere within a theistic absolute space that is timeless yet there may be contingent meta-time structures or even contingent dimensional space-times within which a given Universe may exist. Finding which one is most suitable for associating with a given interpretation of a correct version of Genesis to discover or infer facts about physical cosmology seems a poetic endeavor yet a journey fun enough to make. Rosenberg’s view of Genesis and it’s construction and meaning differs from others. I would think that most pre-mill believers do not regard Genesis as arising from a prevalent residual pre-history of the Persian Gulf region’s catastrophic flood of a proto-civilization that was also told in the tale of Gilgamesh and perhaps elsewhere. Naive secularists with Biblical replacement therapy policy tend to assume the Bible implicitly has pre-mill and Usherian construction.
Eschatology to many means a prophetic vision of the end times of either the world or its people. Alternatively it may refer to the end of a civilization or even the Universe. Traditionally eschatology has been regarded as something more of a religious field -although in the early times of mankind before vast right-wing polysyllabic words arose that could describe with a sociological objectivity human areas of belief such as might be regarded as religious end times eschatology could also be said to have included a unified field of primitive religio-philosophic-physical speculations about the nature of the experienced world-environment. Thus Ragnarök and Brahma along with the plain of Tilmun were out there with Janus the Door goddess and the vast turtle of labor carrying the world upon its back. At least like Aristarchus the idea of a rotation of the Earth or land was a primary element of the explanation.
The 2nd law of thermo dynamics has a highly order initial configuration of the Universe perhaps at a singularity expanding-releasing its initial endowment of energy and order in a dispersion that produced particles, stars, molecules and eventually life and even sentient life. If one thinks about that somewhat philosophically it seems easy to realize that it would be easier to configure living beings in an environment whereat there is a fixed initial endowment of energy that disperses yet may cluster and cohere to build more complex and temporally stable physical structures. If the opposite environment prevailed where new energy was flowing into a Universe continually from one or all possible locations that energy might tend to break-up or radiate out existing forms making life and coherent structure more unlikely. God might choose to configure a given environment with a particular quantitative endowment and let it proceed. Of course the nature of mass and energy perhaps is ultimately spiritual so in some senses there is a continuing presence of God through the history of the Universe though the Universe has a given material pattern. There are limits to what a human can know directly or even through inference of the Universe.
Humanity never developed a comprehensive explanation for the reason that the Universe exist nor did it find an exhaustive, unimpeachable description of the physical boundaries. Instead it learned that time is an implicit characteristic of matter that is itself convertible to energy explaining rather nicely I suppose that energy can present a time aspect when it becomes matter and loses it inversely as it converts to energy. Cosmologists can speculate perhaps if time was included in finite quantity at an initial singularity with alpha and omega being equal or if energy existed at singularity or mass and if it was a finite quantity and is so, why? Why did an initial denouement of energy or mass filling the singularity cut off at a particular place without having exhausted the initial supply?
Gentry wrote on page 440 of ‘He Shall Have Dominion’-“Historically, this alleged association of evolutionary thought with post-millennial theology has ignored the fact that both a developed post-millennialism (e.g., the Puritans), as well as nascent post-millennialism (e.g., Athanasius), arose well before scientific evolutionism, which is generally dated from the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859). Historically, it may more forcibly be argued that the evolutionist stole from the
post-millennial idea of progress rather than vice versa.”
Christian eschatology has three fundamental fields on the reformed side of things. One is a premillennialist belief that John’s Book of Revelation described future events that mostly haven’t yet happened. That viewpoint has some logical difficulties. One is that for the saved Jesus lives in a real sense in their spirit in some mysterious way. That indwelling spirit is the being born again belief and is the first resurrection post-mills believe. Logically it might be absent from the pre-millennialist paradigm wherein Jesus won’t appear until the end time. There is something of a different criteria for the kingdom of God existing in part right now on Earth too.
Post-millennialists believe along the lines wherein Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is within you,that the kingdom of God is drawing in new believers and that the world will gradually increase the number of Christians until the real end times that could be soon or way down the road even unto the distant future (when the time of the gentiles is fulfilled). Christians in the post-mill scenario are a dampening of the doom that results from a pagan or atheistic world that is always seeking to increase its power. Christians should eventually become a majoritarian polity though evil still does exist in-the-world.
One might regard the fact that it requires just a small minority of Bolsheviks or terrorists to throw a wrench into social stability or establishment even when the establishment is a corrupt or oppressive minority itself; evil minorities are historically not uncommon ruling political powers seeking to expropriate the private property and economic independence empirically in order to establish networking collectives dominated by oligarchy, plutonomy, aristocracy or dictatorship. Annihilating marriage designed to protect the poor and middle-class interests in order to theoretically reconfigure society to a spineless white meat boneless product increasing profits for the rich is a usual method for turning the clock back to the year zero socially speaking so that the timer may begin all over again to the drummer bought and paid for by the sponsors. When these sorts of things happen believers may look for one coming in the clouds to change the changlings back to a less politically antipathetic form.
End times paradigms exist thus in many contexts. Some require active human participation, others have a deterministic fatalism such that it is all pre-determined clockwork ticking along like a wave of bombs biding there time until explosion. Some are of a Universal and physical kind-a third kind one might say, without a plain end-somewhat silly for an end-times theory I will note.
Cosmologist with humble and uncertain origins of the singularity that started the big band or inflaton or collision of symbolic membranes such as occurs in the 1812 Overture may consider the end of the Universe as a very distant future event that would be the conclusion of the highly organized energy at the start of the Universe that expanded losing its organizational coherence in the time-process and ran down to a cold and low energy state with matter perhaps as energy dispersed in powerless isolation as basic elements. Whatever it is that make up quarks-perhaps one-dimension brains-would be equally spaced away from each other perhaps a few trillion miles and that could be said to be an uncertain yet probable end time.
Except that evolution as a process of degradation of organization materially speaking could evolve not more complex forms on the way to the cold dead end, it could evolve non-existence at any time too. There is no guarantee that evolution could not move molecules or quarks to some mysterious presently yet pre-determined configuration that poofs mass and energy into coherence again with a return to the One singularity. Coherence is sort of an odd word as physicists use it for cosmology and quantum affairs. They regard mass as a kind of entanglement of energy quanta in a field that decohered from the field to take the form of mass (matter) as if it were a sacrificial lamb found by Abraham in a bush to take the place of a son for a sacrifice, or better-a cosmology theory to sacrifice.
I am not very comfortable with the idea of energy quanta existing decohered from a meta-Higgs field yet still going through the hoops of a singularity and expansion as degrading organization with some life formation from complex, expensive molecule on the way-it seems a little like having two different theories in one that makes one or the other so contingent that it is hard to be fashionably cool. If one knows that a particular cosmology theory is something of a joke-or at least a little Buddhist illusion resembling yet still real, it is challenging to take it as seriously as if it were a ninja turtle carrying the world on its back.
Energetic particles of quanta have existing forces such as the strong force that keeps quarks together. It is hard to imagine how they would break down. In a Higgs and meta-Higgs field however all things are possible for the imagination at least.
In the end of the universe isolated quanta would still exist in a meta-field and might be regarded as the final phase of decoherence before returning unto the one true field of fields. Maybe only only in complete end times isolation could an energetic quanta be so relativistically dissociated from other particles that it could be considered to be matter-as-energy for-itself. Energy however seems like an event instead of a thing. Energy must be some sort of intrusion through micro-entanglement into the space of nothingness that humans regard as the Universe. So when it is really run down that field fluctuation return generally produces nothing for observers entangled in the field to observe nor any observers either. It makes philosophical writers wonder what is happening on the other side of the field that yielded the entangled state of energy that seems to be the matter of this Universe,-or perhaps, what is happening all the time ‘up there’ in the heaven beyond the quanta entangled in a steady state form that seems to be this Universe?
The answer to what a sponsoring field is like isn’t that of a myriad Universes. A myriad Universes could be produced simultaneously or in an order and progressive profusion however that would be beside the point in question such that one wonders if the field progenitor of Universes with an abundance of energy sufficient to light up a infinite number of Universe into being has much of a concern about how much time it takes (just kidding).
There are some controversies about all of the various forms and potentials for end times scenarios synthetic and given by Revelation. There are those who trust a particular theory and desire the extinction of any sort of rival theory of course however with the all things must pass thought in mind the astute interpreter of end times theories may find that though some seem to have more merit than others none are entirely comprehensive nor even necessarily mutually exclusive and exhaustive as the very interpretive terms and literal values of rival theories may be in error or inaccurately understood. That amazes one considering how God could keep track of all of the various theories of end-times for-Himself.
Jesus Christ as the way to renormalize the spirit unto a form acceptable with God transcends the time whorls and relativistic networks of space-time and potential space-time that are circumstantial formations of the physical cosmos. Reason overcomes evolution in a sense always transcending and surpassing its deterministic parameters in some senses yet remains within it as a product or quality of the field-entanglement itself. Quantum uncertainty within the field and within the mind of an individual may be enabling conditions that let the soul or living identity of an individual in-the-field become within the transcending kingdom-of-God even while remaining within the steady state decoherence of the Universe-field quanta. When the worldly existence of an individual or of the species will end is difficult to know exactly yet be assured that there are a number of elements working to bring that situation to exist if unintentionally through economically fueled mass extinctions and global warming gas emissions. One never knows though perhaps ‘we shall overcome’.
Exploring Consequences of Eschatological Point of View to Global Warming Response
Three basic paradigms for interpreting end times an apocalypse for world civilization exist in protestant Christian eschatology. I wonder how each might interact with the best present empirical end-times inducer: Global Warming? Not only must scientists and the shade tree mech. measure the parts per million of greenhouse gases and oceanographers the temperature of the oceans; social scientists and theologians, philosophers and politicians must consider how to measure the body politics’s attitudes toward global warming, its relationship to economics, theology and their willingness to change or even to understand the public domain issues and ways the end of days* could effect them.
Those Christians-largely evangelicals that believe the apocalypse is yet ahead and will occur when and anti-Christ appears and a great tribulation occurs at the start of which Christians will be raptured into the sky and away from the world’s doom like kids in a movie theater transported to the snack bar during the scary scene perhaps have a fatalist vision of greenhouse gas emission comparable to that of people that log old growth forest and destroy ecosystems; indifference because the world is doomed anyway and God will make a new world later anyway.
Amillenialists tend to view some of the events of the Revelation prophecy as having already happened yet not entirely. Generally amillennialists are opposed to post-millennialists who have the view that the events of the first century during the reign of Nero unto the destruction of the Temple in a.d. 70 largely yet nit entirely fulfilled the prophecy. Post-millennialists believe the world should now be in an indeterminate time of Christian evangelization, peace, harmony and working together to make the world a better place. Amillennialists generally dissent with that and are somewhat more of a recurrent doom point of view with perennial struggle for Christians against forces of evil.
Because amillennialists have something of a culture-kampf perspective they are perhaps too concerned with a dualistic viewpoint of good and evil to take a side on something like global warming that is largely a secular issue. Amillennialists like pre-millenialists tend to discredit empirical reality in a Buddhist like manner-it is contingent being and not too worthy of regard. One might expect millennialism however to combat evil more so than the rather defeatist premillennialist camp. The trouble with amillenialists is that there view of evil is perhaps largely based upon issues coinciding with social politics and matters of how one treats Christian amillennialists financially. Fortune 500 descendants of Presbyterians may treat the amillenialists rather well while Godless evolutionists of the left don’t. The left has adroitly expropriated the anti-global warming issue for themselves from the corporate producers that manufactured it and have thus a solid political advantage regarding populist support. This latter fact isn’t good for Christian evangelization.
I believe that part of the difficulty amillennialists have with the post-millennialism viewpoint is based on over-reliance upon tradition as well as misunderstanding of tradition and the history of Christian thought in the church throughout history. Amillennialists tend to use false alternative or straw man arguments about post-millennialist beliefs in order to change meanings and to create logical inconsistencies. Perhaps 90% of the prophecies of John were fulfilled in the first century A.D. largely by 70 a.d., yet there will be a second coming of the Lord down the road someday, and there will be a decisive removal of anti-Christian elements from the world. It doesn’t mean though that the period before the end times must either be entirely Utopian with a Christian accent or that Christians won’t have any struggles or persecutions-for assuredly we do (meaning us Christians inclusive of the persecuted Chinese Church if Christ).
Post-millennialist eschatological viewpoint’s may be somewhat more adaptable to modern times and yet also more accurate in analysis of the Revelation and additional eschatological references such as those found in Matthew. They may also be consistent with the viewpoints of reformers such as John Calvin generally, though none should rely upon non—Biblical sources as infallibly correct. The reformed faith is about discovering truth rather than obfuscating it. Martin Luther said that the Revelation had a lot of straw; that expresses his feeling that his understanding f it wasn’t right or that it differed from other New Testament books in percent of amorphous content. Of course it did. The Revelation referred largely to first century events that were fulfilled and largely forgotten after the 2nd century a.d. It is remarkable that the common sense interpretation of the Revelation was lost to history as first century historical viewpoints were lost to history.
In northwest Alaska on the Chukchi Sea Arctic coast a little village that formerly was protected by fall storm wave surges by virtue of that fact that the sea water was frozen now suffers the storm ravages because the sea doesn’t freeze over until much later in the season. One might take the little village of Kivalina as a global warming index; If the premillennialists are right, even as an end-times index for predicting when the Lord will return (as the sea level rises and temperate regions become deserts wars and social catastrophes will ensue and things on the radical left side of the doom index will flourish hastening the Lord’s rescue and wrap it up mission).
Of the fifteen hottest years of global average temperatures fourteen have occurred since the year 2000. The world is getting hotter though there are local variations. The world oceans are warming too. Cristian post-millennialists can take an active role in working to moderate or halt global warming as good neighborliness and common sense while premillennialists can only wring there hands and look to the sky in hope that there deliverer draweth nie. Amillennialists might think its a temporal recurrence of the doom of immoral humanity and that a closer relation to corporatism would end the problem if one exists outside the minds of the leftist global conspiracy.
At Kivalina the first people’s descendants -who were actually the last to arrive in America from Sibir and raced across the continent in record time with dogs and dog-sleds -must cross their lagoon to escape the warm-water storms. They want a road built to a mine 60 miles away for safety instead of relocating the village beyond the Lagoon with the seacoast frontage becoming something like Cape Hatteras resort village for subsistence people. Yet putting more global warming gases from SUVs at high latitudes is a way to enhance global warming. Building one crisis highway becomes a herring bone of new sprout roads with roadhouses, trucks and accelerated global warming contribution.
Post-millennialists might search to find a way to solve the storm and housing security issues of Kivalina yet probably not pre-mills or amills. So one can make something of a global warming index and measuring device from the seashore village of Kivalina politically and empirically perhaps. The human solutions to repairing damage they have caused themselves is to make more damage. Even the churches that have sanctified gay marriages have repeated the lie that the Apostle Paul mentioned in reproof in the book of Romans. Jesus was the founder and sponsor of the Christian efforts to make the social environment a better and Godly place. It is true that humanity cannot do that without the Lord, yet it does seem that some of the saved cannot work toward that purpose even with.
Continue reading Evolution and Post-Millennialism Part 2