At the beginning of the year we always like to look at what the new year will bring. We make plans, hope and are excited about what’s to come.
A good time to take a look at the topic “future”…
Looking to the future
Since time immemorial, man has wanted to look into the future and know his destiny. It is always fascinating to know what can come. For this purpose he has developed various techniques: Observed the flight of swallows, consulted animal memories and, above all, it was the stars that were observed to catch clues about what was coming. Today one can smile about it, but if one considers how many people read horoscopes and that there are television stations, which live only from such a thing, one notices, how many people take it seriously.
Nowadays, there is sophisticated software that calculates the future weather. Every major company writes about the future development in its business reports – based on market observation, estimations, political development, figures from the past, and so on. A bet on the victory of a race horse or a soccer team is actually something similar.
There are forecasts for population development or motor vehicle traffic. Scientists can calculate how long our sun will continue to shine and when it will expand into a red giant. The IFO business climate index predicts economic development. People simulate for all they’re worth, because computers are getting faster and faster and simulation models are getting better and better, it’s cheaper than doing thousands of experiments, or some things simply can’t be done in real life.
We make provisions for tomorrow and accumulate stocks and money, save for retirement or invest in the education of our children – the generation of tomorrow.
Imagining the future – films and literature
Writers have been describing visions of the future for a long time: From Utopia with an ideal society to Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Moon,” to the “Back to the Future” movies. Even with Star Trek, an entire future universe has been created. Peter F. Hamilton created the Void Trilogy, in which humanity exists in a completely mechanized future, in which the human body is pimped with binonics and in which basically everything is technically possible.
Aldous Huxley wrote “Brave New World” and George Orwell’s “1984” is very well known, in which mankind lives in a dictatorial, totally monitored world. There are good and bad visions of the future. Some of them have come true today – at least partially. Some may yet come true… The imagination knows no bounds.
Today’s ideas of the future
There are also ideas about the future beyond films and literature. Greta Thunberg campaigns for the climate at the “Fridays for Future“. Yuval Noah Harari describes the challenges of the third millennium and the path to transhumanism in “Homo Deus – A History of Tomorrow“. Elon Musk dreams of being able to connect human brains to machines with Neuralink and wants to launch almost 12,000 satellites into space for global communication via Starlink by the end of 2027. In China, attempts are being made to create a new society by means of social credit systems. Technology takes over many tasks, of humans and can always more. Artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and Industry 4.0, autonomous driving are “future terms” that everyone has certainly heard and that we encounter more and more in everyday life.
Governments worry about pollution, climate change, overpopulation, surveillance of people, epidemics and diseases, land consumption, clean drinking water, work in the future, upgraded soldiers or the use of drones, … Some authors see population reduction as the only means to cope with the problems of humanity.
What is good or bad, true or untrue, useful or useless about this is for everyone to judge for themselves. Also whether he/she stands behind it and can support such developments.
But what many of the designs have in common is that the future of mankind does not necessarily look rosy…
Ideas about the future in the Bible
Yes, they exist. The most famous book in this regard is the Revelation of John, also called the Apocalypse. John wrote down there what God had revealed to him about the end of times. Whereby that would be now too detailed to describe and some things are not really clear what they mean.
Jesus Himself spoke prophetically. Of His death on the cross and His resurrection. He predicted the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD. He also speaks about the end of the world.
The prophets in the Old Testament warned the people of Israel against turning away from God and predicted punishments that came to pass, e.g. the Babylonian captivity and the return or a judgment on Egypt. God told them that the Messiah would come. That he would come from Bethlehem. And so on. Many of the promises have already come to pass. Others are yet to come. There are countless such biblical passages.
What I am saying is that the Bible is a good source of information about the future. It has a clue. It is professional in it! No wonder, because God is eternal and He knows past, present and future. God is Alpha and Omega, beginning and end.
Jesus Christ is and remains the same, yesterday, today and forever.Hebrews 13:8
Fears about the future
Many scenarios that people are imagining are catastrophic. We are also living in a crazy time right now, where humanity has problems that seem to be getting on top of it. Both on a small scale, everyone is struggling with their problems and worries about the future, and on a large scale, for example, when you look at the progressive destruction of the environment. The Bible also paints a not so rosy picture of the future.
At that time, strange phenomena will be seen in the sun, moon and stars. The peoples of the earth are afraid and do not know what to do, because the sea rages and storm tides break over them. The people are full of paralyzing fear and uncertainty about what will still happen to the world; because even the forces of the universe will become confused.Luke 21:25-26
This world is finite. One would like to despair, but Jesus gives his disciples – and us – courage in such times:
And then all will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. Therefore, when all these things begin to come to pass, be confident – with your eyes fixed and your heads held high! For your salvation is at hand.Luke 21:27-28
Someday Jesus will come back and then it will be over. That gives hope. The best provision for the future there is is to trust in God. Because no matter what comes, He takes care of His own. God is there, no matter what. We Christians can hope for a happy ending! That is good!
A mighty voice I heard shouting from the throne: “Here God will be in the midst of men! He will dwell with them, and they will be his people. Yes, from now on God himself will live in their midst. He will wipe away all their tears. There will be no more death, no more sorrow, no more lamentation, no more pain; for what once was is past forever.” He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new!” And to me he challenged, “Write down what I tell you, all is reliable and true.”Revelation 21:3-5