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The Late Great Planet Earth

Late Great Planet Earth

I grew up under the haunts of songs and stories that anticipated the immediate destruction of the earth. Instead of visions of sugar plums dancing in my head, I slept with visions of Armageddon. While I disagree on all the particulars, I think folks like Hal Lindsey intuitively realized we were standing at the end of the world. Or to be exact, we were standing in the remains of a world that already ended.

The other day when writing Why Don’t We Want to Go to Church, I suggested that judgment came on the West in World War 1. I might go even farther by suggesting that World War 1 and World War 2 mark the end of the world. Most of us grew up in a world that had already come to an end.

I’ll clarify by suggesting what I mean by world. On a personal level, all of us have experienced the end of one world and the beginning of another world. We are already comfortable with language that suggests worlds end. Thus the common phrase, “His whole world fell apart.”

A world is the time and space where I live. Whether conscious or not, I express that world through symbols of language, clothing, hairstyle, relationships and more. A child uses a specific language. It may be English but it will include words and sentence constructions that reflect the age of that child. As a child moves from into adulthood clothes change, language changes, currency changes (real money replaces tokens or toy money), relationships and more. The child leaves one world and enters another.

This is not limited to a personal level. The world of city can come to an end. We speak of the end of an era, which indicates time, but the end of an era will also impact space, so a city may pass from one world to another. A large company may employ a high percentage of people within a city. Other businesses spring up to support the workers. One generation passes through the city in this world. So the next generation only knows the city with the businesses and culture and particularities that have sprung up around that city.

If the large company leaves the city or goes out of business, the world of that city comes to an end. Businesses close. People move away. The few who remain live in a vastly different landscape and may even speak of the city as a “ghost town.” A world that has died but has not yet been born again.

I would suggest that the Western world died in the early part of the twentieth century, and it has yet to be born again. But a new world is coming. In case this doesn’t make sense yet, I’ll follow-up with a second post exploring how the medieval world came to an end, and how the new world emerged slowly (over the course of at least a hundred years).

And eventually I’ll connect all this back to the 10 commandments.

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