Apocalypse in an Age of Science

Speaker: Categories: Aug 09, 1997


[1hr, 19min, 50sec / 36min, 8sec]


"Apocalypse,"according to theThe Random House Dictionary, is a"prophetic revelation, especially concerning a cataclysm [i.e., any violent upheaval] in which good wins over evil."Webster's New World Dictionarydefines this same term as"any revelation of a violent struggle in which evil will be destroyed."Both sources specifically cite theBook of Revelationas a primary example ofapocalypse. The term draws particular attention to theforetellingof this end-all struggle in which evil is overcome by good.

Sound like an announcement for an SDA evangelistic series? Can you envision the advertising flyer? Does such an association withapocalypsetoday bring to mind a shocking title for an about-to-be-released dramatic production in surround sound and living color to be shown at your local theater?

Does the human mind find a fascination in speculating about conceivable, no matter how far out, end-time scenarios? Do such proposed scenarios make indelible impressions?

How many titles of films, books, or TV series can you recite?

Dr. Rennie Schoepflin notes,"Confronted with social and political distress and oppression, an apocalypticist holds onto a belief in an imminent, cosmic cataclysm in which God destroys the ruling powers of evil and lifts up the righteous to a life in the messianic kingdom.”

Does that sound familiar? Have you read any articles or books lately, originating from SDA publishing houses, which would fit into such a description? Might you have read any such materials, dating back some years, in which specific events were cited as providingabsoluteevidenceof theimminent cataclysm?

Our August speaker notes that, in contrast,"Similarly confronted with [social and political distress and oppression], a scientist exercises his [or her] belief in the power of human intelligence to uncover the natural causes of the distress, to understand the natural processes in operation, and to look to human creativity to devise means to surmount the situation and progress toward a better world."

Dr. Schoepflin promises his August 9 Forum presentation"will explore some of the historical and contemporary dimensions of these apparently divergent ways in which humans deal with an evil world. We will consider the extent to which an apocalyptic vision can not only survive but thrive in a scientific age. And we will discuss whether or not a belief in an apocalyptic Advent has credibility in [today's] world."

One might ponder just how long, over what span of time, predictions about end-time cataclysms have captured the attention of humankind? Has the stress onimminence, repeated generation after generation, lost some meaning? Do sensational headlines in Adventist publications pique your interest as much today as they might have ten, twenty, thirty, forty, even fifty (for some readers) years ago? If so, why? If not, why not?


Rennie B. Schoepflin received his Ph.D. degree in the History of Science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is currently Associate Professor of History at La Sierra University where he also chairs the Department of History and Political Science.

He has authored numerous articles and reviews on Christian Science and the history of American science, medicine, and religion as well asLives on Trial: Christian Science Healers in America, (Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming).Shaking Foundations: Earthquakes and Theodicy in American History, is his most recent, in-progress book manuscript.

Donate to SDAF


San Diego Adventist Forum
PO Box 421320
San Diego, CA 92142

We invite and appreciate your feedback regarding any of our programs or services.

Shopping cart

There are no products in your shopping cart.

0 Items $0.00