From the Flying Car to Secular Salvation
An old saying goes, “God has no grandchildren.” Everyone who comes to faith in Christ needs to do so by establishing a personal relationship with the Creator.
Far too many people are raised with the idea that they are followers of Jesus simply because they were raised in a Christian environment. Many people seem to think that faith can be achieved simply through osmosis.
In my early teen years, I was a living example of this truth. I was led to believe I had been saved because I had walked down an aisle and ceremonially joined a church. My understanding of the Christian faith ran into trouble as I encountered the difficulties of life.
After pretending to be a true believer, I reached a point when it became obvious to me that religion was a bunch of hogwash. The hypocritical actions of so-called Christians made it all the easier for me to come to this conclusion.
After rejecting my religious upbringing, I turned to science for answers. I remember sitting in my hometown library, looking at magazines that showed the latest innovations. I saw the new technology as proof that scientific advancements would someday be the savior of all mankind. These futuristic predictions promised that we would someday be traveling around in flying cars, working four hours a day, and living well into the triple digits.
I surmised that by the time I reached old age, science would have figured out the mysteries of the universe, and in the process, would have solved all of mankind’s ills. Of course, that would mean the Christian God would fade away to obscurity like so many other pagan deities before Him.
Most atheists see science as the only way for man to redeem his collective soul. As time passes, it’s become rather questionable, even among the true believers, whether that day of salvation will ever come.
The Futuristic World of 1976
In 1982, singer Donald Fagen released the album, “The Nightfly.” Most of the songs were about topics from the 1950s. One of the subjects he sang about was the International Geophysical Year, or IGY.
The International Council of Scientific Unions in 1952 came up with the idea for IGY. The 18-month event ran from July 1957, through December 1958, during a period of maximum sunspot activity. It was designated for cooperative study of the solar-terrestrial environment by the scientists of 67 nations.
Because IGY occurred during a period of remarkable discoveries in the fields of cosmic ray research, climatology, oceanography, and the nature of the earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, it came to symbolize what is now viewed as a scientific golden age.
Fagen’s song is interesting in that he wrote it with full knowledge that the futuristic dreams of the ’50s did not materialize. The song remained true in capturing the hope that people had for the world to come.
This dream’s in sight
You’ve got to admit it
At this point in time that it’s clear
The future looks bright
On train all graphite and glitter
Undersea by rail
Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
Well by Seventy-six we’ll be A.O.K.
By 1976, the future was not so bright. The use of trains was in sharp decline, undersea travel was still a dream, and the best speed for getting from New York to Paris was three hours. The age of “A.O.K” was marked by political scandal, war, and ecological disasters.
The shattered deadline for IGY was never updated. It just faded, or was replaced by other hopes for the future. One example that comes to mind is the peace that was supposed to follow the end of Cold War.
Why Futurists Were So Wrong About Technology
I’ve always been fascinated with predictions of what people think the future will look like. A few advancements have been accurately foreseen by futurists, but if you add up all of their predictions, you would find a very high error rate.
Their biggest mistake is the belief that everything will be replaced with some new gadget. History shows us that it is very difficult to find improvements for many of our inventions.
Last summer, I replaced a gas stove in my kitchen that had been in the house since it was built. Even though the new stove was manufactured 50 years after the old one, the technology for both stoves was nearly identical. I’m sure the original owners would have thought the stoves of the 21st century would be laser powered and would cook a pot roast in a few seconds.
Most of the items we use everyday have remained unchanged since their conception. A stapler still is a stapler. A pencil is still a pencil. A spoon has had the same design for several centuries.
Computers have made an enormous leap in processing power. Despite all the billions of bits of information they can store, computers are still nowhere close to reaching the vision of matching the mental and physical capabilities of men. There doesn’t seem to be any indication that computers will be able to talk or do common tasks like mow the lawn or walk the dog.
Moving In the Wrong Direction
Instead of getting closer to the day when science will solve all problems, we seem to be drifting in the opposite direction. After raising the average life span from a low of 40 years in the Middle Ages to the current average of 77, there are indications that poor health is now beginning to eat away at our gains.
Even with all the advances in the medical field, new drug-resistant diseases seem to be nipping at our heels. AIDS has already devastated many nations in Asia and Africa.
There doesn’t seem to be any indication that man is getting any more civilized. The 21st century is turning out to be the golden age of the suicide bomber. Terrorist groups think nothing of blowing up a bus filled with children or other types non-combatants.
Weapons of mass destruction pose a huge impairment to our desire to become a more advanced society. The brotherhood of mankind, represented by the UN and other world organizations, has been supplanted by the reality of rogue nations gaining access to nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
Even if we had the right technology to achieve certain goals, man’s evil nature would not allow us to use them. Imagine if one of these radicals got his hands on a flying car. We would see in the news a steady stream of kamikaze-type attacks.
Something Better Than A Flying Car
The Bible very clearly predicts that all of man’s utopian dreams will end in complete failure. The technology we thought would lift us to a higher plain of existence will ultimately be used for man’s destruction.
Once I realized the hopeless nature of our fallen state, I knew it was a lost cause to rely on science as any means of achieving eternal bliss. I eventually turn to an old-fashioned but highly proven means of redemption.
When believers in Christ arrive in heaven, I doubt there will be any need for flying cars. Jesus said we would be like Him, with an ability that is not subject to the physical laws here on earth. We may be able to just think of being in a distant location, and be instantly transported to that destination.
In order to be able to see the marvels of heaven, we need to have experienced the equally wondrous renewing of our spiritual conditions. Without Jesus, there is no future to anticipate.
The greatest failure of the scientific community is its unwillingness to factor God into the grand equation. You will never get a valid result from a formula if one key component is always missing or incorrect.
In closing, I would like to return to Donald Fagen’s song, “IGY.” Although science has failed to live up to the optimism of the tune’s lyrics, hope can be restored if you apply the message to a higher power.
We’ll be clean when their work is done
We’ll be eternally free yes and eternally young
What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free.