25 January 2023
Lots of people have said that civilization was God's idea. This is part of the crowd that insists Western Civilization must be saved at all costs. Of course, most of those people will argue endlessly about what is or isn't Western Civilization, typically in terms of what should be included in things to save.
The idea that God has granted civilization as a gift to humans should come with a caveat: It's not that civilization is such a wonderful idea, but that it is a necessity for the mass of humanity that will never notice any of His covenants. I've written here about how the Code of Noah is the generic expression of what God demands so as to tolerate the human race as a whole. The Code isn't precisely the same thing as the Covenant. It's only a small part of the Covenant. The Covenant includes a whole range of personal responsibility that isn't mentioned in the Code.
Thus, the Code functions as a foundation for civilizing the mass of fallen humanity who can't be bothered with the Covenant. Take a look at Genesis 9. It's rather cryptic; you really must read it from a Hebrew frame of reference. The story is roughly 6000 years old, and who can say how many versions and languages it went through before Moses received it? My point here is that the Code portion applies to every descendant of Noah, including every living thing, if you take seriously what God says in Genesis 6:7.
The fundamental meaning of the world "civilization" means all of the rules and customs necessary for people to live in close quarters without killing each other -- i.e., cities. The written Code of seven laws that we get from Hebrew traditions sounds a lot like Acts 15, given that the Apostles left out things already covered under common civil law. In other words, the Code of Noah had been duly absorbed by human rulers and society just enough that certain things were taken for granted. The Apostles added back the laws that most governments had forgotten.
However, the portion of the Code that shows up in Genesis 9 is the absolute minimum standard for human government: Governments must hold physical violence over citizens' heads as leverage to keep some kind of order. Very specifically, the Lord forbade murder -- you can't just kill everyone who annoys you just because you are able to do so. There has to be a justification that satisfies the needs of civilization. Otherwise, you will also be killed.
We can't pretend to know all of God's thoughts on such things. God has been careful to warn us that all we can know of such things is what He decides to tell us. What He told us in the Noah narrative is that He requires that humans at large organize under governments that bear the sword. There must be at a minimum someone with the authority and will to keep murder in check. If people can't/don't understand this, then they are not civilized.
With a much longer view of history, you realize that God is not pleased with how things have turned out. Humans might be at least capable of civilization, but they have steadfastly rejected the included expectations not stated for historical and cultural reasons. Thus, my warning in the summary of the Code that just the code itself is not enough; you have to also have the presumed prerequisites that were part of the culture in which the Code is originally declared.
You would expect smart-aleck children and Gamma boys (essentially the same thing) to look for any excuse to evade moral responsibilities to God by stoutly insisting that, if those a priori requirements aren't stated, then they aren't binding. These are the kind of folks who have truly absorbed the Garden temptation to "become like God, judging good and evil". They are their own deity, so they need not listen to what some Creator says in the rest of His Word about loving Him with all your heart, and your covenant brothers/sisters as yourself, never mind what a covenant is in the first place.
We can see in His Word that God is slow to wrath. Nothing surprises Him about fallen human nature. His wisdom is lauded as beyond our knowing, and His plans would not make sense to us. He is extravagant, whereas we have this obsession with efficiency. His children do not need civilization; it's all the folks who reject His Lordship who need it in order for things to turn out as He wishes.
In His planning and execution of things, He has built into our fallen existence on Earth a regular cycle of near-extermination events. The last one was in Noah's day. It's coming around again. If nothing else, the very obvious movement of the magnetic poles and the weakening of our magnetic shield shows something truly devastating is about to hit this planet. This time we don't get one family in a floating ark. We get a science and technology sufficient to save a larger number, but still a tiny portion of humanity, even if everyone alive took seriously the warnings. The safe places simply will not be that many, and cannot accommodate more than a tiny few. Generous estimates suggest it would max out at 10 million people.
Further, those who emerge alive from the shelters after the wrath of God has passed will struggle to keep living on such a hideously ruined landscape. It will take years for natural processes to restore life-sustaining natural conditions. This is part of why I don't plan to survive; without some kind of miraculous deliverance from God, I could never afford the necessary resources. You'll need to be at high elevation with sufficient water and land space for agricultural use. Your shelter must be made of natural materials. The presence of refined metals is a serious threat to survival. Then again, your shelter must be strong enough to protect from massive electrical arcs, a magnetic flux that can drive you mad, and impacting materials from space.
It's possible you could get by in another ark like Noah had, if you happen to get divine guidance on where to place it.
Notice what I'm saying here: Civilization can't be saved. Civilization will carry you through those long periods in between the global catastrophes if you have nothing else, but it's a poor substitute for peace with God. God allowed civilization to develop as His mercy on those whom He knew would reject His Word. He has set limits (as with the Tower of Babel), but He knew how it would turn out. He already had plans to reset things periodically, and the next reset is upon us. If you calculate a curve based on the movement of Earth's magnetic poles so far, and the loss of strength in our magnetic shield against routine CMEs, we have about twenty years left. Meanwhile, those routine CMEs against our currently weakened shield could destroy the earth's power grid right now.
Do you reckon that would come close to ending civilization? Would the loss of electricity transmission systems be enough to make people so desperate that they would forget the lessons of civilization? And then where would all those plans and preparations for the greater catastrophe be?
I can't say definitively that this isn't the End of All Things, but my convictions tell me it isn't. I believe we'll have another round until humans come up with even worse sins. I doubt it will take another 6000 years; I suspect the End of All Things will come with some other kind of event, and that it may not be very long. Humans who survive this coming catastrophe are going to remember how technology works, and will strive to recover everything they lost, and more. I'm guessing it won't take all that long, maybe a few generations to retrace the path that brought us where we are now. And with it will come an even more serious and thorough rejection of God's Word.
Most of us will be watching from Eternity.
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