The fate of “those who destroy the Earth”: Revelation 11:18

While I’m down here in the Dominican Republic, I’ve been reading some theology books in Spanish to improve my fluency. One of them is called La Palabra No Está Encadenada (“The word is not enchained”) by Xavier Alegre. He has a chapter on the book of Revelation that interprets it as “Christian resistance and prophetic hope.” Revelation is usually the anti-environmentalist prooftext par excellence. If God’s going to destroy the world anyway, why should we care about driving SUV’s (as Mark Driscoll jokingly tweeted)? But what the twenty four elders around the throne say to God in Revelation 11:18 ought to give the Al Gore-haters and climate change-deniers some pause:

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It’s the beginning (again), not the end!

beginning is nearWell today is the last day on the ancient Mayan calendar, so I expect there will be a lot of jokes and memes all over social media. Since the doomsday prediction is coming from a different religion, I doubt that the far-right fringe of the Christian community will embrace it. I did see a new phrase that has been coined by the Daily Beast: the Barackalypse, which refers to the way that Obama’s reelection has sealed the world’s fate. I remember when the turn of the millennium was approaching, there was a lot of excitement in the fundamentalist Christian community that some members of my family are connected to. They were stockpiling food and digging private wells, yearning so hard for Y2K to bring about a global computer crash. I’ll bet that more than half of the American middle-class secretly wants for the world to end. We have intractable social problems; we have few authentic friendships; our jobs are tedious; life feels like an exhausting treadmill. The thing is, this world which seems like an inevitable dreariness really can disappear without volcanoes and meteors and seven bowls of wrath. Jesus began a new world a long time ago; it’s just that very few of His followers actually live in the kingdom He created. Continue reading