Newtown and the Mayans
My local paper expresses the same intrigue that seems to possess the nation: Mass murders and apocalyptic Mayan speculations. Page 4 of the [Wilmington News] Journal on the eve of destruction (20 December) features an AP article, “Newtown demands we change,” which, as one might expect, calls for a crack-down on access to weapons. Another article on the same page is written by sociology professor Neil Snarr who belittles prognostications on the end of the world. Such prophesying belongs not to religious gurus, he assures us, but to modern science.
Modern massacres and Mayan prophesies bring together two themes: human corruption and the final Judgment. The first is a matter which ought to be clear but is sometimes clouded (or corrupted) by the notion that man’s apparent sinfulness does not proceed from within but is the result of “environment.” It is his environment or the way he is “nurtured” that affects him so that he does “evil.” If, to reference a glaring example of our penal system, we can just put those offending citizens in “correctional institutions” we can limit the “infractions” that so evidently beset the nation. “Offenders,” corrupted by their environment can be fixed by the right therapy. There is no internal sin that besets the human spirit. Indeed “sinner” is a synonym too offensive for the modern ear. Away with that old-time religion with its reprehensible twin doctrines of sin and judgment!
And yet, there is that nagging sense of doom which readily comes to the minds of those living in a world in which real evil is readily apparent – real holocausts, real atrocity visited by humans upon other humans: “man’s inhumanity to man.” Indeed, the accurate evaluation is simple – Man is a sinner.
Repulsive as the doctrine is to the modernist, evidence for the principle is apparent to all but the hard-core humanist who cannot brook such a pessimistic view of his race – or of himself. And the therapy of repentance from evil and submission to the living Lord and Savior is the answer for both personal and cultural wellness. When personal morality is engendered by the Spirit as He applies His therapy to the soul of the sinner and when the Law of God is upheld as the standard for society, a cultural transformation can ensue. And when God’s high view of Human life, above all other animal life, even “created in His image” is embraced, the old Christian ethic – the foundation of true humanism and charity – will be restored.
The Mayans, along with the Zoroastrians, the Jews, and the Christians have expected that “this world,” commensurate with divine judgment, will come to an end. Knowledge of the time of the end is beyond the ken of the scientist who deals only in the realm of that which he can feel, see, taste, and smell. It is, rather, the same Spirit who created the world ex nihilo who will also accomplish its conclusion. It is that Spirit who will act upon the world in judgment. The scientist cannot probe into the Spirit with his tools. Rather, he is in need of revelation. And the revelation he can trust is the one attested to by the very One who rose from the dead. The Scriptures are accredited by a reliable authority, indeed.