Here’s a depiction of the end of the earth. It’s CGI (Computer Generated Information.)
Here’s another computer presentation that explains that the caldera of Yellowstone Park travels. Not very quickly, but it HAS made a path. This nice little video shows where it goes. http://www.gweaver.net/techhigh/projects/period1_2/Yellowstone/Plate%20Tectonics%20Yellowstone.html Like so many, it is leaving California in order to move to Montana.
I joke. But our natural human tendency is to anthropomorphize (see things as like people), even when it’s not a “thing” but a phenomenon that no one has ever seen -- merely evidence that it may have happened. I try to stick to sort of “semi-religious” topics on Sunday posts, so what’s religious about this? One of my on-going not-quite-serious assertions is that “geology is next to theology,” which is meant to echo “cleanliness is next to godliness” which in my experience is pretty hopeless but keeps a person busy. Geology is more fun and gets a person outdoors a lot more than theology. Some people say they are more likely to spot “God” (personified Holy or Sacred feelings) outside in the mountains or at the beach.
Look at tectonic plates (If you don’t recognize the term, use a search engine, please. Actual libraries count as search engines.) These are like the assumptions deep under theology -- the first part of the word being (theos) that there is a God (which may be why people never ask whether you have experienced something holy but rather ask whether you believe in God) and the second part being (ology) that you can know anything about God. If a God is not involved, some people will say you are doing “philosophy” and will imply that you will not be welcome in the inner circle of religious bodies which are roughly parallel to royal courts, institutions that try to control territories.
The wise men of the court make pronouncements that are often as politically informed as they are derived from God. Some of them are inflammable or even explosive. Others, trying to establish that they know better, will make even more alarming pronouncements, claiming all sorts of authorities, maybe from sources outside the courts: visions and shamans and arcane number magic. They are particularly fond of saying the world is going to end.
Of course it is. The world is always ending. Mostly it ends very slowly, at least from our point of view. But as soon as we invented writing, we had ways of noticing and remembering that were far longer than one person’s memory. We developed a group memory and put it in a thing called a “book,” although at first it was just a long sheet of papyrus or skin. It was better than the wall of a cave, more portable. The things that were important enough to put into a written account and packed around with the nomads or sealed in safe places by the people who were settled, were natural disasters: floods, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and Yellowstone Park. I joke. There were no human beings when the Yellowstone caldera formed. The purpose of jokes is to make you realize and accept things that seem ridiculous. Or not.
Basically, the stories were about the sky falling. Scientists looking at what they find written in the physical evidence, which is also a kind of writing, but the sort of writing that the earth writes about itself upon its own body, about as close as a person could get to God actually writing something if you continue to insist on personification. Scientists exist in a different sort of court, which is supposed to exclude politics. It doesn’t, of course, because politics are human, but if someone detects politics in science, they are supposed to cry FOUL ! Sometimes they do.
Most of the end-of-days and apocalypse predictions are fouls. Someone is trying to be important by claiming they have special knowledge, the map of time that shows where the caldera will go next and whom it will immolate. For the right sort of compensation, this person will save others.
The most honest part of the Old Testament is not the many many disasters which are all implied to have been caused by wickedness (not doing what I tell you to do) but the parts that say “We are as grass.”
Psalm 90:5 (Translation by Charles Spurgeon)
Thou carriest them away as with a flood. As when a torrent rushes down the river bed and bears all before it, so does the Lord bear away by death the succeeding generations of men. As the hurricane sweeps the clouds from the sky, so time removes the children of men.
They are as a sleep. Before God men must appear as unreal as the dreams of the night, the phantoms of sleep. Not only are our plans and devices like a sleep, but we ourselves are such. "We are such stuff as dreams are made of."
In the morning they are like grass which groweth up. As grass is green in the morning and hay at night, so men are changed from health to corruption in a few hours. We are not cedars, or oaks, but only poor grass, which is vigorous in the spring, but lasts not a summer through. What is there upon earth more frail than we!
Right. It’s scary. We ARE “green in the morning and hay at night.” We can feel it. Write that down. Put it in a book. Geology is no more comforting than theology, esp. a theology that says “do as I say and you will last forever.” If science said that, someone would cry FOUL.
The Taoist answer for this is to live in the moment. The Western world (Abramic) says plan for the morrow. Some say, “listen for the music and dance to it.” It’s the answer I like best at the moment (the Now) because the Yellowstone caldera moves, so why shouldn’t I? But also because what I see is that everything is movement, process, and that it’s too big to resist or survive, but not too big for my participation. I CAN participate. I can’t NOT participate. What I do (or don’t do) affects all the other dancers in the smallest of ways, but particle physics is for another day. This is plate tectonics and the plate is labeled, “What shall we do to be saved?” Which is running headlong into another plate labeled “what IS saved?”