Friday, May 20, 2011
The End Is Ever Near
Believers in God are always looking at the world around them and telling us that God is warning us with signs of his impending judgment. Without the least qualm or concern about appearing idiotic they confidently tell us such things as:
Thus, even at its very commencement, birth hastens to its close; thus, whatever is now born degenerates with the old age of the world itself; so that no one ought to wonder that everything begins to fail in the world, when the whole world itself is already in process of failing, and in its end.
Moreover, that wars continue frequently to prevail, that death and famine accumulate anxiety, that health is shattered by raging diseases, that the human race is wasted by the desolation of pestilence, know that this was foretold; that evils should be multiplied in the last times, and that misfortunes should be varied; and that as the day of judgment is now drawing near, the censure of an indignant God should be more and more aroused for the scourging of the human race.
No, those aren't the words of radio preacher Harold Camping warning us yet again about the arrival of Judgment Day on Saturday.
In fact, these words were written nearly eighteen hundred years ago by Cyprian, bishop of Carthage and Christian martyr (in his Treatise 5).
Yes, human nature has always sucked and the world has always been a less than totally friendly place for humans. Oh, and God evidently has always been long-sufferingly sick of us and ready to pull the plug.
The New Testament writers constantly made the claim that they were writing in the last times and last days. Maybe it is understandable that Cyprian - coming along some century and a half later - might think the end was at hand.
But what it does it say about the modern apocalypticists?
At what point will it finally be admitted that Jesus and his apostles were just wrong?
Answer: Never - so long as there is a profit to be turned in keeping these failed prophecies alive.