Tuesday, October 25, 2011

W is for World’s End

On Saturday, May 21st, 2011 the End of the World was supposed to begin at precisely 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. It is now May 22nd, so I write with absolute certainty that this prediction was inaccurate. It seems that a well-known Christian Biblical expert calculated that it was precisely 7000 years to the day and hour since the Great Flood—the one that only Noah and company survived—so we due to get zapped again. The first time it happened God was fed up with the sinfulness of mankind and decided to start over again with the Noah family. God, despite a perfect knowledge of genetics long before humans even knew such a subject existed, obviously picked the wrong guy because human beings seem to have been every bit as sinful since the Great Flood as they were before.

Nor did the arrival of Jesus of Nazareth among for a few years make much of difference. I remember asking in Sunday School why Jesus came to earth when he did and not sooner or later. It was a childish question put to a Catholic nun, but I have not forgotten her answer. It was along the lines of sinfulness. The Roman empire had become so sinful that God decided a personal visit was necessary to straighten out the human race. At the time I, then a pious ten-year-old, accepted this answer. But later, when I learned a lot more about history, I found it very weak. If there is such a thing as “sinfulness” it is very hard to measure. Judging from what we know of the Roman world, things were going fairly well during the long and peaceful rule (27 BCE - 14 CE) of the Emperor Augustus.

And, we are told, The Second Coming of Jesus was supposed to occur at the same moment as the Ending of the World yesterday. How was He to make his Divine Presence among us known? Was he going to commandeer all the TV stations in the world for one Great Final Simulcast? What language would He speak to us in? Aramaic again? And what about all the people without TVs and the countless millions in Europe and elsewhere who just happened to be asleep at that moment? (Interesting that God would schedule things in accordance with American time. North and South America were a heathen wilderness last time He dropped in.)

According to Christian theology, Jesus and God are co-extensive with the Holy Spirit and this Gang of Three, if you will, have been Together-As-One from the Beginning of Time. So Jesus was “in on” (to use a popular colloquialism) the decision to drown everyone the first time around precisely 7000 years ago. How does that square with His reputation for mercy and forgiveness? And what about yesterday when the Blessed Trinity were about to destroy the entire world killing several billion people for the crime of Not Being Christians (NBC) and hundreds of millions of pseudo-Christians for the equally serious crime Not Being Christian Enough (NBCE). And yet many Christians willingly join in regular, frequent and pious denunciations of the “Godless Trinity of Demons” Hitler, Stalin and Mao for merely killing tens of millions of innocents.

When it comes to really big crimes that are not really crimes, you definitely need God.

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