“Yahoo! Answers” has posted their year end best questions list. Stephen Hawking took first place with his meta-anthropological/eschatological question “How can the human race survive the next 100 years?” Many of you know that Dr. Hawking has served his life as a prolific theoretical physicist, contributing much to the realm of cosmology. Hawking’s is by no means a believer in Christ or religion and could be labeled an antagonist to the same. It is interesting that he should pose such a profound question that comes face to face with the bleak condition of man. It is interesting that many of Hawking’s like-minded thinkers, along with Hawking himself, would chastise any Christian who posed this question, believing them to be motivated by a naive dooms-day view of man held by what they believe to be a sensational interpretation of a mythological book. But by offering this question, Hawking demonstrates that non-religious thinkers have a dooms-day scenario of their own. The question itself begs the question of the atheistic eschatological worldview that naturally arises even without the Scripture. Technological advances, depraved dictators, and terror mungers put this question at the forefront of everyones mind, making it the most popular question of 2006.

The “best answer,” voted on by Yahoo! subscribers was given by a man who attempted to hold out hope for mankind, speaking of ”our species’” resilience and adaptability to every situation. Whether it is a global catastrophe caused by a tear in the ozone or a evil dictator who pushes the proverbial button, our species has ingenuity and will survive. He goes on about his “faith” in humanity:

Why do I place this faith in humanity? Because I must. Without the belief that we will continue to grow and overcome the pains of social chaos as we mature as a species, we might as well not have any faith at all. I’m not talking religion (although that may or may not be a part in its current forms), but simply the same belief that we will survive just as much as the sun will rise the next day.

Man without God still must have faith. Faith is an inescapable norm that is dealt upon our conscious because of our desire to be introspective and know. If we ask such a question, we had better be ready for the answer to involve faith. “Why do I believe man will survive? Because I have faith in . . .” and everyone must fill in the blank. Is the faith that this man finds footing on a blind faith? No. It is a faith based upon his view of history. Man has always survived, and he supposes it always will.

Interestingly, when Christians offer their hope in the future (or lack thereof), the “faith” that they have is seen as an ignorant bliss, serving to keep them from going insane if they knew the truth. Why is this? Of course you know where this is going. It is because the Christian’s faith is seen as that of the religious nature. And this kind of faith by definition must be blind, naive, and ignorant. It creates a bliss that has only one benefit–keeping its subscribers from suicide.

Ultimately, man only has only two choices. We can place our hope in our “species,” man himself, believing that in his finitude somehow their will emerge some kind of collective progression that will be good simply by virtue that it is progression. Or, we can place our hope in God, believing that He represents the best and only answer to questions such as posed by Hawking.

How can the human race survive the next 100 years? From the Christian worldview, we can’t. We have no choice. As Bill Cosby used to say to his children, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.” God brought us into the world. There was no genesis of surviving and, therefore, there is no real continuation of it. Sure we can fool ourselves into thinking we have more control than we do and hence ask the question to ourselves “how can we survive?” believing that we have the power to do so. We do this with our own lives, fooling ourselves into thinking that we have many days yet to survive. But ultimately, the one who brought us into the world can take us out or allow us to remain.

This question and its answers can very well be thought of as a modern version of the parable of the rich farmer.

Luke 12:16-21 16 And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17 “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.”‘ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?’ 21 “So is the man who stores up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

We do what we can. But we don’t ask such foolish questions expecting profound answers that will solve that plight in which our “species” finds itself. God willing, we will wait on God and see what the next 100 years has in store for his glory, whether by our life or His judgment.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

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