Messiah - My Testimony to Rev. Sun Myung Moon Volume II - Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 22 - A New Start Toward the Twenty-first Century and a New Millennium of Blessing [Part 2 of 6]
6. The Century of Environmental Destruction and the Hegemony of Science
Another distinguishing characteristic of the twentieth century was the brilliant development of science. At the same time, an important feature of this science was that it was inherently defective; twentieth-century science contains a serious and fundamental flaw. Looking at how today's civilization has ended up in a dead-end alley, I have to raise this important point: by and large the responsibility lies in the way this dysfunctional twentieth-century science has developed. Of course, if any worshiper of modern science heard this, he might be inclined to get upset. Perhaps his response would he, "What a lot of rubbish!"
The purpose of science lies in making life more convenient for people and pursuing human happiness. From that perspective, twentieth-century science has made some notable strides.
During the last hundred years, humankind has ventured into space and even landed on the moon. Transpacific air flights, unthinkable one hundred years before, have become commonplace, and we now cross that broad and fearsome ocean in less than ten hours. Almost the entire planet has become accessible in a single day. We can watch news breaking in any part of the world live and in color via the televisions in our living rooms. Time differences are now almost non-existent.
In the United States, we have moved from an era where each family had two cars into an era where each member of the family has an automobile. We can talk to someone on the other side of the world as if they were standing next to us. Handheld mobile phones enable us to do this wherever we are. Heating and cooling technologies have virtually conquered the four seasons. The situation is such that if you go to a hotel or restaurant during mid-summer, you have to take a woolen scarf with you.
The science that makes all this possible is continuing to develop. Where exactly twenty-first-century science will take us no one knows for sure, and few can imagine. It is understandable, then, why communists once alleged that only science could bring salvation to humanity. They thought that science was God. Even now, many think like this. "Something wrong with twentieth-century science? What a lot of nonsense!" This would probably be the normal response.
I do not write these things unaware of that. The very basis of today's civilization is science. When we say twentieth-century society, we inherently mean the science civilization.
But whichever way you look at it, spiritually or physically, this civilization has run up against a stone wall. We thought science had built a civilization of the highest and most amazing dimensions, but the same civilization has also brought us to a nightmare, a crisis for the very existence of humanity. It has left us disillusioned. flow did this come about?
Under the justification of bringing about a more comfortable life for human beings, twentieth-century science waged war against planet earth. Am I mistaken? Personally, I think that is what is happening: humankind is waging war upon the earth. The earth itself is an organism, and currently it is seriously ill. Moreover, our indiscriminate attacks are intensifying day by day.
Large-scale consumption of fossil fuels has become a major problem. Such consumption increases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and may he a cause of global warming. Some scientists predict that if this trend continues at the current rate, the planet will warm significantly. According to these predictions, the ice at the North and South Poles will begin to melt, bringing a rise in the sea level. When that happens, coastal cities will eventually be flooded and submerged.
Carbon dioxide is not the only gas causing atmospheric pollution on a global level. Fluorocarbons and nitrous oxide products are destroying the ozone layer. Ultraviolet light, which is harmful to living beings, is absorbed by the ozone layer. Destruction of this ozone layer results in more ultraviolet light reaching the earth's surface. Doctors believe this is contributing to an increase in the incidence of skin cancer.
On top of this, acid rain and deforestation are resulting in the desertification of wide areas around the globe. The increasing desertification is affecting the earth's ability to regulate its climate. As a result, strange temperature patterns are beginning to occur. While some regions experience unseasonably cold summers, other regions face intense heat waves that result in human death. Some places also experience extremes between abnormally warm winters and severe cold winters.
Such abnormal temperatures are believed to be caused by the destruction and pollution of the environment. It is predicted that this situation will only worsen in the future, and there seems little room for improvement.
Up until the present, humanity has chiefly used fossil fuels as its source of energy, sometimes relying on atomic power to make up for a lack in these. Fossil fuels, however, are limited, and while we need to find an alternative source of energy, indiscriminate and poorly planned development of atomic energy will result in nuclear waste handling becoming a big problem for the whole world.
While twentieth-century science has often been hailed as the savior of humanity, it is becoming clear that in fact it is strangling humankind and threatening our continued existence. If I say that humankind is slowly committing suicide, am I going too far?
The abuse wrought by modern science does not stop with environmental destruction and atmospheric pollution. There is an even greater evil stemming from modern science.
The root cause of the flaws in modern science can be discovered by examining the age in which modern science was born. To jump directly to the conclusion, modern science was developed based on a particular paradigm, and if we trace the fundamental flaw of twentieth-century science, that is where it will lead us.
The man who defined the underlying principles of modern science was Rene Descartes (1596-1650), both a scientist himself and also the founder of rationalism. Descartes is especially famous for a single, simple statement: "I think. Therefore I am."
Descartes accurately divided the cosmos into the world of consciousness (spirit) and the world of matter. Up to that point, there was no problem. But he then defined science as a field of study limited to research of matter and established that as the paradigm upon which science should be based.
Descartes thought that the universe was comprised of two worlds, the material world and the world of consciousness, and that God existed in the world of consciousness. He also believed that God created and governed both worlds.
Although he had accurately perceived the structure of the universe, in the end, by limiting scientific research to the world of matter, God's existence and the world of consciousness were forgotten by science and exiled to the field of religion. Science has unfortunately come to think that the material world is all there is to the universe.
This may not have been Descartes' original intention. But the fact remains that after Descartes, science operated on the premise that "if we are talking about God, or the Creator, or anything like that, let religion handle it. As far as science is concerned, the universe is made of nothing but matter." Thus, from the moment it set sail, modern science had already deviated from a holistic or comprehensive perspective on the nature of the universe. This, then, is the source of the flaw, the blind spot, which exists in modern science.
There is another, related flaw in science. Even when science has sought to research the essential aspect of the universe (namely the world of consciousness, the invisible world), the methods employed have been too vague and obscure. Contemporary science does not have a viable methodology for verifying the invisible world of consciousness. There has simply been no way it could be detected (hence its existence could not be verified) using any measuring instrument available to contemporary science. This is another, secondary reason that modern science became devoted to material science alone.
In conclusion, modern science has put aside the essential world and carried out its research on the world of phenomena alone. Where once it simply forgot the causal world, it came to consider that the essential world does not exist. The damage this has caused to human culture is almost immeasurable.
Modern civilization developed by the power of modern science. Modern science's denial of the existence of God and the world of consciousness (spirit) translated into atheism, with most serious and devastating effects; because of its fundamental stance, science has fostered the rise and growth of the secular humanist and materialistic trends now prevalent in the world.
Let me summarize this point in the following way: Twentieth-century science sought to solve the problems of our earthly life and became instrumental in the development of the false value system employed by modern man. That value system measures the success of life only in terms of material and economic success. This is, in fact, the greatest harm perpetrated by the flawed science of the twentieth century.
7. A Century That Saw the Retreat of Ethics and Moral Virtue, and the Destruction of the Family
Another defining characteristic of the twentieth century is the severe confusion that existed in value systems. During this century, humanity by and large deserted God, selfishness grew, and social trends slipped into full-scale materialism and pleasure-seeking hedonism. The standard of good and evil disappeared, with no measuring stick or education being provided to distinguish between right and wrong. Inevitably, this led to the retreat of ethical and moral virtues from society, and in the aftermath, we find family breakdown and serious decadence among the world's youth.
What this all indicates is an absence of morals, an absence of virtue, and an absence of education in mind-centered (or soul-centered) values. To put it a bit more dramatically, today's global society is gradually becoming a society characterized by an absence of morals, an absence of sensitivity, and an absence of conscience. It is a society that increasingly resembles animal society, where the rule of the jungle is prevalent.
For people to clearly recognize and understand good and evil, they must first have a clear and unequivocal standard. Moreover, that standard needs to be unchanging, unwavering, and eternal. Logically, that standard of good and evil must also be the same standard held by the absolute being (God). But in today's environment, where atheistic humanism is rampant, such a standard of good and evil -- one grounded in an absolute value system embodying the Creator's absolute standard -- cannot be found anywhere. Naturally, in the absence of an unambiguous standard of good and evil, there is no real measure in our society for determining right and wrong.
This is the natural consequence of a materialistic value system; this is the fundamental, underlying cause of all the decadent social phenomena appearing at the close of the twentieth century.
Another related problem is the spiritual and mental health of our young people.
The first human ancestors, Adam and Eve, fell in the Garden of Eden when they were in their teenage years, around the age of sixteen. The one who caused this corruption was the evil power Satan. At the current time, when Heaven is unfolding its final program for restoring the ideal of creation in Eden, the evil power is attacking teenagers in one final expression of evil and anger. This is another phenomenon of the last days of fallen history. The weapon used by evil now is the same one used to corrupt Adam and Eve in the Garden: immoral, corrupt love.
Young people in our society today languish in the midst of immoral and carnal temptations. God's principle of love is that love preserves sexual purity, chastity, and faithfulness. The youth culture in the so-called developed nations is far removed from this way of love. In the midst of this kind of degraded, free sex climate, the greatest threat to our human society is the breakdown and destruction of the family.
The family is a unique and sacred institution created by God. The "four position foundation" centered on God is a fundamental structure and unit. By four position foundation I mean the family structure that puts God in the central position, with a husband, wife, and children all in unity with God. The family is also the fundamental cell in the formation of the Kingdom of Heaven. Extended out, the family becomes the clan or tribe, the ethnic group or race, the nation, and the world; these are all extensions of the family. Each family is a single brick in the construction of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is also the only means by which society can be transformed into heaven. When those bricks are destroyed one by one, there is no way for the building as a whole to stand. At the moment, family breakdown is spreading around the world.
Without rebuilding the family -- without the resurrection of true families -- the construction of an ideal society in the twenty-first century is nothing more than a pipe dream. The essential role of the family is another reason why our society must pass through judgment. Only after that can we experience the glory and blessings of the coming Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
To summarize, I have discussed and analyzed the seven defining characteristics of the twentieth century. It was:
A century that saw the utmost development in material civilization.
The century most filled with war.
The century of the rise and fall of the USSR, a time that saw an offering made in blood.
The century that forsook God.
The century in which money and material things reigned supreme.
The century of environmental destruction and the mistaken hegemony of science.
A century that saw the retreat of ethics and moral virtue, and the destruction of the family.
When one lists all these features in this way, it becomes clear that the twentieth century was not exactly the kind of century that God would want.
Then how can we make the twenty-first century the kind of century God would want? Before discussing that question, let us take a look at how the Bible, the textbook of God's instruction to humanity through history, describes the Last Days. Let us also look at what the more prominent prophets of the past have predicted for this time.
Predictions about the Last Days in the Book of' Revelations
The last book of the Bible is called the Revelation. It records certain prophecies about what will occur when Jesus returns. Let its take a brief look at chapter 21.
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea." (Rev. 21:1)
I think it is quite clear that the "new heaven and a new earth" refers to the new cosmos, in other words, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, which will be erected by the returning Messiah. The passing away of "the first heaven and the first earth" means that the world of evil (the present, fallen world) comes to an end. "There was no longer any sea" means that fear and darkness no longer exist. In ancient times, the sea was a symbol of those things.
"I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, `Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will he no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' (Rev. 21:2 - 4)
Without a doubt, this is a description of the world in which God's ideal of creation has been perfected. The passage talks about how the "old order of things," namely all corrupted, sinful things in fallen history, are brought to an end. It tells about how God will reside with humanity, and about the beginning of a new heaven and earth in which suffering, sadness, and death have no part.
Here, "no more death" does not mean that there will be no more physical death. The original principle of God's creation stipulates that the physical body lives its allotted span on earth (in the physical world), and that after that the spirit self lives on in the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven. That transition is not really death. From God's perspective, true death, if anything, is the spiritual death brought about committing sin. Spiritual death means one leaves God. The passage above is saying that in the ideal world, such spiritual death will no longer exist.
The "dwelling of God" is inside people. Human beings were originally created as God's temples. The Fall of Humankind meant that human beings became temples of Satan. When people are liberated from sin by the Lord of the Second Advent, they will finally become temples of God. In that case, the human mind will, in fact, be God's mind. This passage is declaring that the ideal of unity between God and humankind will be accomplished. God and humanity become one flesh, one body.
The return of Jesus is the time when all these prophecies in the Book of Revelation will be fulfilled. The work of Jesus' Second Advent is currently in progress. It is being accomplished right now. The turn of the century is the starting point for this new heaven and earth. It is the beginning of the Lord's millennial kingdom.
But there is one big problem that must be resolved. This hope-filled time, the millennial kingdom of the ideal will not arrive simply with the passing of time; we cannot just sit down and wait for it to happen. This is the essence of the problem, and is also the reason why humanity must undergo a great spiritual awakening.
So while the Book of Revelation prophesizes a hopeful and brilliant future, it also prophesizes a "great judgment" that will take place before these blessings can be received. In other words, the qualification to enter heaven is not simply obtained unconditionally. Only those who can pass through the judgment will be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
"But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -- their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Rev. 21:8)
Thus, the Book of Revelation clearly prophesizes the last judgment. The "second death" refers to those who will fall into eternal hell with the judgment brought by the Lord of the Second Advent. (Humanity experienced the "first death" with the Fall of Adam and Eve.)
The Book of Revelation also prophesizes Armageddon, the final war in human history. (Rev. 16:16) In another part of the New Testament, the Bible also says "But in those days, following that distress, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken." (Mark 13:24 - 25) "That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat." (2 Pet. 3:12) Thus, there are more than just a few passages in the Bible that deal with prophecies of natural calamities and other upheavals.
At this point, however, one thing is very clear. Before entering or experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven promised by God, humankind will have to face and overcome a great crisis of some sort. In biblical terms, we call this great crisis the last judgment. In secular terms, this crisis is the "great cataclysm" that is predicted to spread across the earth. All of humanity is destined to pass through this before experiencing the coming of the ideal.
The Last Days will be a time of great emergency, an unprecedented time of crisis. There is one question facing all of us today: how can humankind safely pass through this final judgment, this time of great cataclysm? Moreover, in the Last Days, does humanity have the foresight and wisdom necessary to traverse the time of cataclysm wisely? Let us examine this question.