September 12, 2018

The Fate of Humanity (Part 1)

Humans were once concentrated enough and few enough that a handful of people could conceivably have ended the species. Fortunately, after a few more generations and migrations, and up until the 20th century, this was not the case. While there have been many natural disasters, plagues, and genocides, none have come close to wiping out all of humanity. Now we once again live in a small world where one person’s actions can affect the rest of mankind. Despite being at it’s peak in terms of population, our species is again at risk of annihilation.
Books, movies, shows, and games all depict the world after an apocalypse. While I like their optimism, I don’t believe a near extinction is really more likely than a full one.
We could kill ourselves with nuclear weapons. This is a threat we’ve long known about, but have no idea how to get rid of. We can’t turn back the clock on science, and ultimately probably don’t want to. Climate change might spiral out of control to the point that life on Earth is impossible. We don’t know for sure if that’s possible, but we seem to be on track to find out. Then there’s disease. While I find it unlikely that a disease will kill all of humanity, I don’t think it’s impossible. Anything is possible if we put our minds to it. Finally there’s AI, which really just amplifies the other threats we’ve created. And that’s not even touching on the things out of our control like meteors and super volcanoes…

I believe in a good God. An all good God in fact. But He is clearly a God that permits suffering and waste. I don’t know if all people even get the opportunity to play the role God wanted them to play, but I am certain not all who do get the opportunity succeed. God allows people to be born and live, knowing beforehand that they will fail. And I believe the same is true of humanity as a whole. We may have been made with a purpose, such as spreading across the universe and seeing all the wonders of creation, and yet still die having never left our home. As a Christian, I can take solace in the fact that whatever happens, God created the universe and us in it knowing how it would end. But that doesn’t make a violent, preventable death, at our young age, any less tragic.