I can't really say just why I do the job. I describe it as; "I've got to go stand around and pretend I like people". But, however the position became (more or less) mine, it was a great choke point in the traffic flow. Some people at minimum pretended to enjoy reading Crazy Pants Essays in those days. I figured it wouldn't do them any harm at least.
So anyhow, back in those days; there were several of the papers which were titled "End Of The World!" . . . part 3 or 5 or whatever. I just choose a number. There are not 16 more of these monsters floating around somewhere! But please do not think that in these we intend to mock or minimize the importance of the eschathon. No, it is far more like a church I vaguely recall in Albuquerque years ago advertising thus: "You can hold the Scriptures in one hand, and todays' newspaper in the other; and actually see (!) prophecy being fulfilled! Come to the XYZ conference, as Pastor Bob teaches us how".
It is that sort of thing I hoped to blow out of the water with some humor on the topic.
Now, we will not overly tax your patience with some plan, or scenario about some proposed "millenium". The short version is that there are "pre" (two flavors), "a", and "post" (about nine flavors). Of the many "post-mill" spins, I (willy-nilly) toss in the "preterist" speculations, and don't get me started on that! The short version please? My take on the millenium runs; "Millenium? What millenium? Where, ever; did you get that idea?". This makes me (I think) an "a" which is pronounced "ahh", as in ah-ha!
The short and sweet a-mill position lines up with several of the Messiahs' parables, but the one I have in mind is the wheat and tares (go look it up). So, both the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of man are present on earth until a rude interruption from outside earth ends the story. As the bad are getting worse, also true the good are gaining traction, and "doing exploits". Both develop simultaneously, and are directionally opposed, got it? So this is "where" this C.P.E. is "coming from".
This essay is spawned at least in part, by my recent viewing of "The Age of Ultron", the latest installment of the Avengers series. This is not a movie review, but it did seem striking (to me at least) that some of the sub-texts of the film were near matches to the regular day dreaming that I do. Plus that, it was on the same day that I went for a ten or twelve mile walk, and concluded (prior to the viewing) that AI cannot possibly be a good cultural developement.
This Artificial Intelligence theme I was taught to lowball as a probability by my software genius friends Dave and Larry. In brief, a binary switching (on and off, one and zero) cannot ever, ever "come alive". The logic and the instructions of the program assign adding and subtracting tasks, at a high rate of speed, but under no circumstance can such ever become "aware". This would be true it appears to all binary switching. But, neither of my friends was speaking of "Quantum Computing" either.
I do not pretend to grasp the theory or practice of qc, but in brief, it breaks the rule of two. One guy descibes it as a tri-phasic process. As such, it might yield a yes, a no, and a maybe. The valuation could be one or zero, or "both or neither". This is an entirely different scheme than what we are used to. And importantly (for the purposes of this essay), such a new tech solution might (one day), prove basic to an actual functioning AI device.
Now, as an aside; I would suggest that you go read "That Hideous Strength" sometime soon. The extremely abbreviated version is that a 1950s era story features a machine with tubes (remember those?), levers, knobs and lights. That would be the quantum device in question. In the story, a decapitated head provides the mapping protocol, the directional processing occurs via established brain pathways. But, in the Lewis story, the thing cannot come to life until a "bent eldil" inhabits the contraption. Somehow, C.S. Lewis saw what I see, or vice-versa. In order for the final blasphemy to arise, a "three-ist" structure must fuse tri-disparate legs.
We get a proposed device, but that is not enough. The processing must follow routes of coherent and recognizable thinking, so a human mind becomes the template. But that is not enough, because we are still talking about a bunch of wires and circuits. For such to actually "live"; there must be a spirit, and the Father of spirits would never assign one of His own into such a monstrosity. Therefore, a kind of demonically "inspired" habitation is required.
Now, before we move on I would like to interject an idea which has arisen somewhere else amid these essays. We like to imagine ourselves as modern and sophisticated, very unlike our simple and primitive ancestors who worshipped blocks of wood or statues.
This is a highly biased premise of ours, in that what was actually going on then was a magical interface, a mediated contact. The goal of ancient priests was to "chain or bind" a spirit to a place and an object via incantation and blood sacrifice. The petitioner approached the idol and asked of it, but that thing (the idol itself) was an "inefficient telephone" to communicate with the entity which resided (was bound to) "in" it. The basic problem of the occult then, is that you do sometimes get results! So, the artifact, plus the priest plus the oppressive ancient entity operating via the array is not (definitely not!) a new idea. The main difference I discuss today is signal strength, clarity of contact and the continual rather than intermittant nature of the "animal". But, let's return to the movie for a moment eh?
The Age of Ultron (more accurately, the two and a half weeks of Ultron) touched upon some of these themes. But watching the film is akin to drinking from a firehose. Too much is happening, too many witty and zany lines are spoken. No, it's not there we look. The movie has a theme which I have been mulling over for nearly thirty years.
The only way to get warring mankind to finally or ultimately unite is by a dreadful enough common enemy. Simply said, a threat from outside the world is the only working human motive which would be powerful enough to overcome our constant sniping at, and destruction of; each other. So for a true "End of the World!" scenario to logically function, the return of the Captain at the head of His armies must be viewed as a true threat, a dire future indeed! Of course, such a ploy would never mention Him by name, (except to the inner circle) and instead a proposed "alien invasion" is my guessed-at future strategy proposed to the "masses". Frankly, I spend altogether too much time (usually around dinner time) mulling this over, so trying to see better. This threat incoming (no mention of Messiah), the movie writer got pretty much correct it seems to me. The metaphor is dual in the flick. A very heavy object crashing in from above is one angle, and also, a foreseen (privately) threat alternative to, and far worse than the big rock, is the idea in the film.
In brief, the prophecies about the un-man indicate this kind of duality. No one can (effectively) war upon him, (Ultron dressed up as the anti-christ) He is the dropper of the rock, and through dread of him earth is prepared for a much much worse danger "from above". He (Ultron) is the threat, and simultaneously ensign of a far greater danger-coming.
Interestingly, the prophet spoke also of a three, the beast, the false prophet and "the image built, which speaks". So, we derive a man like Hawking or some other genius type being the template. The false prophet (computer designer) does the mapping of the genius brain so to configure the "circuitry of the (itself) three-ist machine". The device speaks, but not of itself, for that voice is the voice of the dragon.
So, it could be, we surmise; a working possibility sometime during our "natural lifetimes" (whatever that is) that such tech could produce something along these lines? But recall that C.S. Lewis "saw" this sort of thing sixty-plus years ago. He died the same day that JFK was murdered. So, there is a "stretchy" time feature to this sort of speculation. The tech-flubs, boneheaded mistakes and the usual dead ends do not work by our schedule. It could take another century and more to build the final blasphemy, this "new creature" which the foe proposes. Or it could be here in less than twenty? I just don't know about the clock function in this type of thing.
What we do know is the theme, the narrative and the finale. In brief, it reads; "God wins . . . bigtime slamdunk!". The enemy is simply forced into an idol-strategy of some kind. Since ancient days, the interface project has been his recurring plan of operation, because it is the only route open to him.
Do you see? The genuine artice, of which that fraud the anti-christ is stupidly trying to best, that real deal is unbreakably sound! Christ is joined to mankind, that the "new man" be joined to the Almighty. The results of that astounding transformation coming in us, are not at this point imaginable, but we do have some hints. We understand in part, but then we shall fully know.
The New Man has a human body and a rational soul. As such, He is "One with God", and nothing is impossible for Him. He passes through walls like we pass through the air. He speaks, and life returns, He touches and the blind see. But He is not a one of a kind exactly, but rather; the First of many! We "are one with" Him! So, to what extent in the age to come, extraordinary powers manifest in His folk, I am in no position to guess, but I do guess, almost every night at dinner time!
The dream of transit of the heavens, flying to worlds unknown, even our hymn writers buy that much. But here is the point, the eschaton coming, is come! We have (today!) become junior partners in a never ending dance with the Bridegroom, and I guess He shall teach us some fancy steps indeed in future days. Already, we are noticing alarming differences between the two races.
The living are freed to courageously die, and the dead are terrified to get near the grave. The living sing songs of gladness in the darkness, awaiting the true light, and the dead are never truly happy. These are small but yet astonishing fruits of His already-operating in/with us.
We have been sheared off from a huge catastrophe, the certainty of Judgement! The devils? They are hammered dog-meat in that coming overthrow, and they know it. There is zero hope for them, and their rage is great because of it, their time is short. But the humans can (yet!) be turned out of that path! The link, the union He has established, is a rich and never ending source of vitality, of welcome and of understanding. It is a life fully good and grand, with no terminus!
The miserable hatchet job mockup of this, which the enemy proposes, cannot begin to equal the real deal. And this is why eschatology is really so important. That coming-age has arrived, it has commenced, and there is no authority in heaven, earth and hell combined which can reverse it! An eschatology of hope is a meaningless phrase unless we define the word "hope".
Our coming transformation is certain for the excellent reason that it has already fully occurred in our Head, and begun in our bodies! He the fully transformed, is permanently "moving in" with us! And we are being rebuilt in that image. The everlasting and infinite God, is today and evermore also a Man (or more correctly, The Man) and that (already and not-yet) one-ness with Him, is going to be a mighty and wild and good thing, Yes-Siree!
Hope has meaning because He Who Is (our hope) is alive and well, having busted out of the tomb, there is no going back to it . . . ever!
For Him, or (one day) for us! So says the plumber.