The Butterfly Effect
Updated: Apr 5
When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. Genesis 3:6-7
Unsure how to write what I want to say. It’s very much on the tip of my brain’s tongue but has yet to manifest itself in any real fashion. It is something akin to mankind’s timeline here on earth being wrong. Well, not so much wrong, but off, if that makes any sense. We all know that the world that was intended, ended when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and sin and death were introduced. So here we are now, some 6,000 years removed from that point, and things seem very wrong.
I feel very much like how Neo felt in the movie The Matrix. He sensed something wrong with the fictional world he portrayed living in and came to find out it was really a false digital simulation overlaying the ‘world of the real’. Most people in the world today go about their daily lives, and think, this is how life should be, or this is how life has always been. Sure, people might have their gripes and complaints if life isn’t turning out exactly how they wished it would, but, they don’t necessarily question the legitimacy of the system in and of itself. For the most part, people have come to accept that life isn’t fair. They all eventually come to accept the current state of this world as reality, as if all of this were the normal state of things. But in reality (as the late Chuck Missler used to say) we are living in an altered copy of the real, reality.
And it is almost impossible to see it now, because we are in the midst of it, like frogs in the proverbial warming pot. We are too close to the trees to see the forest. It is as if we (humanity) have spent all our time walking inside the eye of a hurricane, completely oblivious to the trail of destruction behind us, or the dangerous threat in front of us. Most people don’t care, because all they see when they look up, is blue skies. Our proximity to the direness of the situation prevents us from seeing the big picture. Besides, the human race generally resets every seventy-years or so, and thus, we are perpetually having to relearn things the hard way. At least that’s the way it feels.
I guess the point I am trying to get to is that where we are today, is not how we were intended to be. Obviously, we are here in the 21st-century and as a race and species, we have lived in a fallen state for so long that this is the way it was supposed to be. Setting the very real concept of sin as a disease aside for a moment, were we supposed to have iPhones, motor vehicles, electric Lazy-boy couches, microwave food, flat-screen televisions, an international space station, Facebook/ Instagram / Twitter, Siri, Alexis, quantum computers, life coaches, Socialism, Darwinism, Nihilism, 401K retirement plans, death taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, property taxes, Amazon Prime, goat yoga, Fashion Week, Shark Week, meaningless education, actuaries, bureaucrats, etc. etc., ad nauseam?
I don’t think so.
Life has become overly complex, and unnecessarily complicated.
Which begs the question; Are we at the pinnacle of human evolution? Clarification: not Darwinian Evolution (i.e. slime–>apes–>cavemen), but technological evolution; our march toward modernity and the human condition.
Is this as good as it gets?
Where we ever supposed to be this modernized?
I don’t think so.
Which made me think of Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect.
In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state. (1)
In other, simpler terms…
The Butterfly Effect is the scientific theory that a single occurrence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever. (2)
Think about it this way, from Adam and Eve (circa 4000BC) up until the invention of the practical steam engine in 1814, mankind was limited to the speed of horse and the speed of wind. So, if you believe in Adam and Eve, and the rest of the Biblical account of human history, then mankind was limited to the speed of horse for around 5,814 years. Looking at the macro view, the major inventions dealing with travel and information processing specifically has not been very long in the grand scheme of things. From 2019, it has only been:
569 years since the invention of the printing press
321 years since the invention of the steam engine
236 years since the invention of the hot air balloon
205 years since the invention of the first practical steam engine
159 years since the invention of the first internal combustion engine
116 years since the invention of manned flight
111 years since the world’s first affordable car was created (Model-T)
80 years since the invention of the first practical helicopter
77 years since the first nuclear chain reactor was built
62 years since the space race began
50 years since man first walked on the moon
46 years since the internet was invented
43 years since the invention of the first home computer (Apple)
3o years since the World Wide Web was invented
12 years since the invention of the world’s first smart touch screen smartphone
3 years since the world’s first nanotech-machines
2 years since Quantum computers became practical instead of just being theoretical
Needless to say, once man cracked the code on some of the more rudimentary developments (printing press, the steam engine, laws of physics, etc.), Pandora’s box had been opened and there was no turning back. Although mankind generally resets every 70-80 years (Psalm 90:9-10), we are being inescapably thrust forward without any hope of stopping. Again, this was not a surprise to God. He predicted this very thing at the tower of Babel.
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Genesis 11:5-6
Most of you know the story already. God put a kibosh on what was going on and physically and geographically separated everyone by language and presumably, genetics. So what has brought mankind back to the tower of Babel moment? Language
“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Daniel 12:4 (circa 545BC)
Without a doubt, the prophet Daniel living in the 6th-century BC, lived in what we would call, the height of the progressive stagnation of mankind. It was the ancient world. People were limited to the speed of horse, and the speed of sailboats. Mankind’s technology was progressing, but at a snail’s pace.
However, Daniel was given some of the most specific prophecies ever given regarding the future of the world. There were two different pictures of the subsequent kingdoms that would follow the Babylonians. The first was the multi-metallic statue dream that Nebuchadnezzar had (man’s perspective), and secondly, the monstrous, hybrid animals (from God’s perspective). These are found primarily in Daniel 2, 7-8. And although most of these kingdoms are in our history books, there is still one kingdom left that has yet to rise. Historically, the Persians conquered the Babylonians, the Greeks conquered the Persians, and the Romans conquered the Greeks. The last kingdom has yet to come together in its final state, but we are starting to witness it take shape today.
What’s of interest to the topic at hand, is not the rehashing of the order of the kingdoms, but what the unintended side effects were because of it.
The Medes-Persians were similar to the Babylonians, thus the transfer of language, customs, and culture was not all that dramatic. They might have changed a few of their god’s names, but, the Medes and the Persians were still physically related to their southern cousins (the Babylonians). They largely viewed ruler-ship as that divine right belonging to the king and queens of their own royalty.
But the Greeks, in particular under Alexander the Great, began the process of Hellenization of the then-known world. From Italy to Afghanistan, Greek culture, customs, and language began to spread throughout the massive kingdom. Alexander understood the power of culture, and how to rule people without always having to use the pointy end of a spear. And thus, that was the way it was for several centuries until the Romans began to rise up as the geopolitical power the second-century BC.
Although the Romans conquered the Greeks through military might (or the threat of it), the Greeks conquered the Romans through language, sports, religion, philosophy, and culture. Hellenization became the subtle coup d’é·tat that really changed Rome from the inside out.
Roman elites began studying the Greek philosophers using Koine Greek and would come to embrace the stories of Greek heroes and of their Greek Gods. Although they would eventually change the names to more Romanized ones, yet, they were essentially the same. Even our Christian New Testament was written in Koine Greek and would remain that way until Jerome translated it into Latin (the Roman native tongue) in the 4th-century AD. In a way, the Roman Empire really just became an extension of the Greek Empire for another six-centuries.
From the 4th-century through the 19th centuries, we have seen the West, morph from that of Greek dominance to that of Roman, to that of the Byzantines, to the Holy Roman Empire, to the rise and fall of numerous European superpowers (Portugal, Spain, France, England, Germany, etc.) to what we have today…a united Europe, better known as the European Union (EU).
The last two major empires the world has seen has been the British and the Americans. The British dominance lasted roughly from the 18th-20th centuries (e.g., the sun never set on their empire). American dominance has lasted from the 20th-21st centuries (our present). Essentially, the English language has dominated the planet for the last four hundred years (or so). It has become the most dominant language on the planet. You could say that the English language is the world’s reserve currency of languages.
As for our own cultural coup d’é·tat, we have seen this same scenario play out here in the 19th-21st centuries. European Ivy league schools and seminaries become secularized and largely post-Christian. The American elite became enamored by the sophisticated Europeans, and begin importing their enlightened ideas (Darwinism, Marxism, Frankfurt School, etc.) and philosophies (Existentialism, Nihilism, British and German idealism, Anti-Semitism, etc.) back here to our own American schools and seminaries. And within a century, we too, have become as they; a post-Christian nation.
Back to Daniel.
So the prophet and statesman Daniel lived between the late 600-500 BC, which was 500-years before Jesus Christ walked the earth. Another way to look at it is, during that time period man was limited to the speed of horse. In Jesus’ day (pre-resurrection), mankind was still limited to the speed of horse. The great cultures then were largely what we would call, Middle-Eastern (pre-Islam), while the rest of the world was largely divided amongst the barbarians and the far eastern kingdoms.
All Daniel knew (as a man), was what he was limited too in his own day there in the heart of the Babylonian kingdom (modern-day Iraq). He couldn’t have known that man would get smarter and be able to travel to and fro across the earth, because, well, he was limited to the knowledge of his day…just as we are.
For example, go back and find some movies or television shows from the 1980s or earlier, and see what they thought the future would look like. Listed here are a few examples of movies that got the future very wrong, by the year they were made and the year they attempted to portray:
Back to the Future II (1989/2015)
Blade Runner (1982/2019)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968/2001)
Demolition Man (1993/2029)
Granted, these are the only examples I could find without doing exhaustive research. Now, keeping in mind that these films were made for the purpose of entertainment, nevertheless, each of these films had tons of money (millions of dollars), expansive expertise, and massive resources thrown at them to make them appear plausible.
They (the writers/directors) wanted you to believe in their version of the future because that is part and parcel with selling you the entertainment. The only problem they had, was when they wrote and made these films, they were limited by the technology and information available to them of their day. The funny thing is that all these movies all get the future hilariously wrong, and that is only going back a couple of decades.
In Daniel’s day, the only educated people were wealthy. Travel rarely exceeded a 100-mile radius from where one was born. If Hollywood, with all of its wealth and resources, couldn’t get their version of the future correct, and they were only predicting it by a few decades, how could a Jewish prophet, in Babylonian captivity, 2,352 years removed from anything other than a horse or a sailboat, possibly conceive of what the end of humanity would look like? The conclusions he reported were:
Knowledge was a privileged resource, and knowledge then (at that time) was doubling only about once every 500 years, largely because the separation of Babel was still in effect. Meaning Daniel should not have known about the future, except only by God showing him
The unification of language has allowed for the proliferation of knowledge, which is why the greatest explosion of knowledge has occurred only in the last two centuries
In Daniel’s day, travel had only ever been by animal, wind, or slave-power. Thus, travel seemed a mundane topic to broach. But to say that people will travel to and fro, precludes the notion that traveling will be less about necessity and more about availability
The phrase ‘to and fro’ used throughout scripture, denotes both an erratic movement (11 times), and/or traveling over the face of the earth (10 times)
The FAA estimates that there are 5,000 planes in the sky at peak operational times almost every day. They also estimate that on any given travel day, around 2,789, 971 passengers will travel by air (3)
Now, consider some thoughts regarding Buckminster Fuller’s 1982 widely accepted treatise on how quickly knowledge is accumulating. Buckminster Fuller created the “Knowledge Doubling Curve”; he noticed that until 1900 human knowledge doubled approximately every century. By the end of World War II, knowledge was doubling every 25 years. Today things are not as simple as different types of knowledge have different rates of growth. For example, nanotechnology knowledge is doubling every two years and clinical knowledge every 18 months. But on average human knowledge is doubling every 13 months. According to IBM, the build-out of the “internet of things” will lead to the doubling of knowledge every 12 hours. (4)
While Daniel wasn’t given overly specific information regarding what kind of technology we would possess (i.e., he didn’t predict we would land on the moon or have high definition flat-screen televisions), he was given the general conditions which have been proven true. So true that many liberal critics of the Bible, have wrongly concluded that his book must have been written in the 2nd century BC. However, this is how we know that these prophecies didn’t come from just a man’s perspective…because remember, men are limited to the knowledge of their day, and mankind resets (so to speak) every 70-80 years.
IF Daniel had invented these prophecies apart from God and on his own, like Nostradamus, Helena Blavatsky, Edgar Cayce, William Branham, etc., we would know that his prophecies would be limited to the knowledge of his day.
However, given the fact that his prophecies didn’t come from his own imagination, but from the angel Gabriel, then it’s reasonable to believe why Daniel’s prophecies were so incredibly accurate. And the fact that we have two other major prophecies accompanying them, well, then it lends credence to what Daniel was shown. We live in what Daniel describes as the Last Days.
Not to make this an exhaustive list, but I will simply lay out things in line with Daniel 12:4. Consider then the most obvious signs then:
According to Scripture, Israel would come back to her land a second time in the last days. She, in fact, did come back as a sovereign nation after a 1,900-year diaspora. She is the only nation in history to have ever come back as a sovereign people group after having been removed for more than a generation (Ezekiel 37, Amos 9:14-15)
The first time Israel was removed (Israel by Assyria and Judah by the Babylonians) was their first removal. Judah came back (the first time) and lived in the land with Jerusalem as her capital until the Roman destruction in 70AD. That was the second removal. The second return was in 1948
The entire world would be against Israel, her people and her existence. Interestingly, only the US currently stands solidly with Israel, and that is true only during this current president’s administration (Zechariah 10, 14)
Knowledge and travel have dramatically increased in just the past 100 years. This then lends credence to points number 1 and 2 as being “the last days” (Daniel 12:4)
Additionally, the technology necessary for both the broadcasting of the deaths of the Two Witnesses around the world, as well as, the Mark of the Beast, already exist today (Revelation 11, 13)
The late, great Jack Kinsella once wrote something similar to what I’m attempting to back in 2014.
While in exile in Babylon, the prophet Daniel was given a vision of the future of Israel, up to the coming of the Messiah. Up to this point in the vision, those things that Daniel saw were relatively familiar, cities, events, people in a context that were not too far removed from his concept of reality. But then he was shown the things to come in the last days. The angel told him in Daniel 10:14 “Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for yet the vision is for many days.”
Daniel was so staggered by what he saw it made him faint, verse 18 records that ‘one like the appearance of a man’ touched him, and strengthened him so that he could go on. Daniel tried to describe those things he saw using terminology that made sense to him, but it comes to us as a series of baffling symbols, images, and beasts. The things he saw terrified him. Because the visions were so completely removed from his understanding of reality, he was unable to describe them in terms that even he was able to comprehend. And so it remained, for thousands of years. Great Bible commentators like Calvin and Luther did not even attempt to interpret the books of Daniel, or the Revelation, for that matter, saying they were allegorical or symbolic books.
Matthew Henry, writing in the 18th century, did not fare much better. Even commentators on these books in the early 20th century admitted they had trouble fitting the pieces together. After all, they dealt with a restored Israel, a revived Roman empire, and a one-world government. Such things were deemed to be impossible, therefore to be interpreted as allegories. The revealing angel understood what Daniel did not. He explained in Daniel Chapter 12, verse 4; “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Today, Daniel and the Revelation are the favorite books of Bible expositors. Many of the mysteries have already been unlocked and many more grow less mysterious all the time. (5)
Without a doubt, our long march to modernity is a testament to both God’s foreknowledge and our free will. God foresaw the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10), so where we are today was not a mystery to Him. He not only used the writers, prophets, and apostles to show where man came from, but where man was going with 100% accuracy.
However, where we are today, is not what was intended, yet, here we are. Not unlike the theoretical butterfly who flaps its wings in China and sets off a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, one little sin (Genesis 3:6) did trigger all of the subsequent events that have reverberated throughout the course of history. Did God mean for us to have nuclear-tipped ICBMs, drive-thru fast-food restaurants, and 5G wireless networks?
Yet, they were not a surprise to Him. Our corruption is both the outcroppings of mankind’s fallen state and our free will. God saw man’s future and the danger that it would one day come to possess, and nonetheless allowed it so that we could choose Him, over certain destruction. He has allowed our freedom to an extent, however, we are now at the end of this experiment in free will. Seeing as we have come full circle, and now nothing is being withheld from us, we have begun drifting dangerously into the realm of playing God. This was the exact same place (IMHO) where the antediluvian peoples (and Babel-builders) were just before they faced the divine judgment.
We have split the atom. We have CRISPR gene-editing technology. We are creating artificial intelligence. We are close to cracking the code on aging and immortality. We have the CERN particle collider being used to discover both the god-particle (the basic building block of the universe) and attempting to open dimensional portals. We are pushing further and further into space.
One day, Satan will use these same technological achievements to enslave the world in a global surveillance system so oppressive and vile, that there will be no escape. It will be as if the eye of the hurricane were closing and collapsing in on itself. The only escape is up. So if you are left here on the earth after the Rapture, there is no amount of prepping or survival skills that can stop Satan from completely taking over the planet (Rev. 13:1-7, 16-18). Things will become so terrible and horrifying, that should God tarry any longer than He does, no flesh would be saved to enter into the millennial kingdom.
We are not now what was intended. God had (and still has) so much better and grander plans for those who are redeemed.
Meanwhile, the world is busy patting itself on the back and admiring its own achievements, yet all these accomplishments are only drawing it ever nearer to the winepress of the fierce wrath of an almighty God.
“Let the nations be roused; let them advance into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, for there I will sit to judge all the nations on every side. Swing the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, trample the grapes, for the winepress is full and the vats overflow— so great is their wickedness!”
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.
Are you ready?
Boeing, G. (2016). “Visual Analysis of Nonlinear Dynamical Systems: Chaos, Fractals, Self-Similarity and the Limits of Prediction”. Systems. 4 (4): 37. arXiv:1608.04416. doi:10.3390/systems4040037. Archived from the original on 2016-12-03. Retrieved 2016-12-02.
Gilbert, R. (2018, July 16). The Butterfly Effect. Retrieved from http://thunderbirdleadership.com/2018/07/16/the-butterfly-effect/
Schilling, D. R. (2013, April 19). Knowledge Doubling Every 12 Months, Soon to be Every 12 Hours. Retrieved from http://www.industrytap.com/knowledge-doubling-every-12-months-soon-to-be-every-12-hours/
Reason Six – The Explosion of Knowledge. (2014, March 29). Retrieved from https://omegaletter.com/2014/03/29/reason-six-the-explosion-of-knowledge/