God Has A "Reset" Button

A Solar Storm Emitting A Solar Flare
Photo by NASA
Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm a science geek.  That's probably because I was raised by a man who's career was in designing and manufacturing flight recorders for the space shuttle.  One of his job perks was to have luncheons with astronauts.  One of the flight recorders he helped design and build acquired the critical data needed to solve the mystery of the Challenger accident back in 1986.  It was data he helped retrieve from a badly damaged tape. I remember him staying up late many nights working on it, writing figures on graph paper I could never begin to decipher.  I remember him talking about something to do with keeping the tape submerged in a trough and designing a special player that could retrieve the data underwater.  Anyway, you can imagine what my childhood was like.  Though I was never the mathematician he was, I could easily grasp spacial concepts in a visual way.  He and I would casually talk about astrophysics and theories related to black holes, galactic planes, space warping and light bending. This was typical father-son talk at the Schaetzel house back in the 1980s.

So naturally, whenever NASA comes up with a new discovery in space, he and I are some of the first people to look up to the heavens in awe.  We have a true appreciation for the incredible magnitude of power that drives this universe.  To think however, of the ONE who designed it, created it, and holds it in the palm of his hand.  The mind melts at the mere thought of it.  This brings me to a topic that is a little different from my usual blogging chatter.  I have received a lot of messages lately, both on Facebook and through email, related to the state of things in the Western world, particularly as they relate to the Church and society.  The theme of these messages has a common thread.  "How long can this last?" and "Sooner or later, something has gotta give."  The premise here being that God can't put up with the way things are much longer.  The moral decay of Western civilisation is reaching a breaking point.

Well, first things first, we have to remember that God is God.  He can do whatever he wants.  If he wants to let this wicked civilisation we've created continue to grow and infect the entire human race, then that is his prerogative.  It's his show, and he can let it go on as long as he likes.  Secondly however, I think the general concern is probably valid.  It does seem that things are reaching a crescendo when it comes to the general state of moral and social decay in the Western world -- let alone economic stagnation compounded by global unrest.  Of particular concern to many is recent attempts by modern science to control DNA and create new breeds of plants and animals.  Indeed, it would seem that mankind (or at least Western mankind) has no limit to the depths of which it can sink when we consider such intrinsic evils as abortion on demand, euthanasia, combined with the inherently disordered practices of homosexual "marriage."

So the purpose of this article is just to introduce a very sobering reality.  It's not to cause a panic, or make people go out and start hoarding food.  It's simply to remind us of some very real facts of life.  So here is fact of life number one.  Continental storms are real.  I live in the Ozarks Mountains of the Southern Midwest region of the United States.  Two years ago we had an F-5 tornado touchdown about 75 miles away in the City of Joplin.  It's unusual for such strong storms to make it that far into the Ozark Mountains, but it did, and the devastation it created was unreal.  It's been over two years now since that storm hit, and Joplin is still trying to recover.  Fact of life number two is that oceanic storms are real, and they're worse than continental storms.  You see when a continental storm produces an F-5 tornado, the most destructive force it can muster, it still pales in comparison to the maximum power of an oceanic storm -- a category 5 hurricane!  Take that mile-wide destruction caused by the Joplin F-5 tornado and multiply it by 50 miles in width.  That's a category 5 hurricane.  The F-5 tornado wiped out a small section of the City of Joplin.  A category 5 hurricane would have simply wiped out the entire city, and surrounding cities, towns and farmland.  By now you're probably wondering where I'm going with all this, and here it is.  Fact of life number three; just as continental storms are real, and oceanic storms are real, there is also something else that is real.  It's called a solar storm.  A solar storm is just what it sounds like.  It's a storm on the surface of the sun.  The smallest solar storm is millions of time more powerful than a category 5 hurricane.  Even the smallest solar storm would dwarf the size of the earth!  Thankfully, the sun is 93 million miles away, so storms way out there don't have a direct effect on us here.  However, they do have an indirect effect, in that these storms release plasma from the sun in the form of large solar flares called Coronal Mass Ejections, or CME's for short.  Every ten years the earth is bombarded with them.  Fortunately for us, the earth is surrounded by a magnetic field that helps to shield life here from all sorts of harmful solar radiation.  When these plasma ejections (solar flares) hit our region of space, the worst we've dealt with so far are communication problems with satellites.   Biological life on earth is completely unharmed by these plasma ejections, but they do however produce beautiful aurora borealis which are often seen at the planetary poles as the "Northern Lights" and "Southern Lights."  When these plasma ejections are large and strong they can even be seen in areas closer to the equator of the earth.  In the northern hemisphere, that might include places like the Ozarks in Missouri.  My sister had the pleasure of witnessing a redish-colour aurora borealis a few years back while driving north at night from Springfield toward Bolivar.

It's not always about pretty lights though.  Solar storms do have their dark side.  While this kind of solar plasma has no effect on biological life, thanks to the earth's magnetic field, it can wreak havoc on electrical grids if the plasma discharge is strong enough.  Recent studies have shown that the sun erupts in massive storms about once every 50 years and a super-massive storm about once every 150 to 200 years.  These massive storms every 50 years have caused electrical grids in Canada to overload and burn out.  The same thing happened in the United States about 154 years ago, when a super-massive solar storm wiped out most of America's telegraph lines.  Many astronomers say we are about due now for the next super-massive solar storm.  Today however, the world is considerably different than 154 years ago.  Back then nobody relied on electricity.  Aside from the telegraph, nobody used electric communication.  There were no automobiles or gas stations.  Most people used horses to get around, and the trains were powered by coal and steam.  So the simple reality is this.  There wasn't much to be affected by the super-massive solar storm 154 years ago.  The only people who saw the most damage were the executives in the telegraph companies who had to fork out the money for repairs on their telegraph lines all over the country.  Aside from that minor inconvenience, most people living back then didn't even notice it.  Many of them were more concerned about another event that would take place just 2 years later -- The Civil War.  Now about 150 years prior to that (in around 1700) nobody noticed anything, except for some pretty lights in the skies.  That's because electricity hadn't even been discovered yet.  Today however, stop and think about it.  How much do we rely on electricity today?  In the course of the last 154 years, since the last super-massive solar storm, we have built up an electric infrastructure in the Western world that is so massive, and so overwhelmingly comprehensive, that literally every last detail of our modern lives are ruled by it.  From the lights that illuminate our homes, to the gas that is pumped into our cars, to the cell phones we must charge regularly to communicate.  In just one and a half century, we have become almost 100% dependant on the very thing that can (and will) eventually be wiped out within a matter of hours, and there will be nothing anyone can do to stop it from happening.  Yes my friends, God has a "reset" button, and when (not "if" but "when") he decides to push it, our entire Western civilisation will be thrown back 150 years overnight, to a time when there were no cell phones, no computers, no television, no radio, no automobiles and no electricity.  It's shocking to consider but the year 2014 (as a hypothetical example) could potentially have more in common with 1814, than with our current year of 2013.

Did I just blow your mind?  I hope so.  It's a humbling thought isn't it?  To think that God could reduce us to such a state, in such a short amount of time, using nothing but a completely natural process that already happens in a normally cyclic pattern, and has happened many times already since the world began.  Yes my friends, it is all together possible that our children may grow up in a world where they will need to ride horses to get around and cell phones will become a thing of the past.  The most reliable forms of communication will once again become the word of mouth and the pony express. Now initially, this kind of cosmic event would have some very serious consequences.  Our Western world is not prepared to handle life without electricity.  Our homes will still be standing, thank God, but we will have nothing to light them with, and many will be without heating and air conditioning.  Distribution systems will be stopped cold, and it won't be but a few days before hunger starts to set in.  Water treatment will be down, so people will have to boil their water for safety, that is, if they have the means to do so without electricity.  Can you imagine the short-term calamity? There will be no noticeable physical destruction.  Everything will still be standing.  The streets will be clean.  Even cars will continue to run for a while (before they run out of gas), but the street lamps will no longer come on at night, the televisions will be silent and everyone's lights will be out.  Within a year, tens of millions will be dead, guaranteed.  That's how dependent we are on electricity.  Ironically, the most prepared people in America will likely be the Amish!!!  It is very probable that they will be the people to lead Westerners out of this mess, by reintroducing them to living off the land and without luxury.  I should point out here that the Amish are not "preppers" who are hunkered down on a ranch preparing for the apocalypse.  No, they are a community and they work together in a micro-society.  That is how people recover from such a catastrophe.  "Prepping" will only get you so far.  Sooner or later, even the "preppers" will have to come out of their holes and rejoin civilisation, even if civilisation is now 1800s style, and they're behind the times, because they were too busy hunkering down in a hole somewhere waiting out the "apocalypse."  The best thing anyone can do to "prepare" for any calamity is network with neighbours, friends and churches.  Start growing your own gardens in your back yards again.  Learn a trade that you can do without electricity.  This is how our world will be rebuilt when the time comes.  It will be regular people, doing regular things (1800s style), and trading with each other in a regular way.  That is the way out of any crisis, not hoarding food and ammunition.  Talk to survivors of a natural disaster, such as a tornado or hurricane, and they'll tell you the same thing.  The biggest help came from their friends, neighbours, and churches.  God and social networks are what pull us out of disasters, not food rations and shotguns.

Of course, the world is not going to stay an a retro-period indefinitely.  Even after a super-massive solar storm, the electric company will eventually get the lights back on again, but it may take years before it happens.  So after surviving the initial humanitarian catastrophe, and then learning how to live like the Amish in the months and years that follow, the question is, will people ever trust technology again?  I suspect not, at least, not in the way they previously trusted it in our era.  I suspect the use of electricity will be limited and guarded after such an experience.  The fear of becoming dependent on it again, only to have it taken away, will be too great.  For the most part, people will naturally gravitate toward a simpler and humbler lifestyle, because you see, that will be perceived as "safe."

Yes, God does have a "reset" button, and based on the timing, his finger is probably resting on it now.  When the day comes for the "push," our world will change dramatically.  God could wipe out a whole lot of evil in the modernised world within a very short time.  To do so, however, will require a tremendous cost, and that may be why he hasn't allowed it to happen yet.  By his grace, he's giving us more time to repent of our wicked ways.  Our Evangelical Protestant friends look at the evil of this world and surmise that God is preparing a final apocalypse to consummate our age.  Maybe he is, but he doesn't need the end-times apocalypse to effect the same outcome of purifying the world.  He could do it with a simple natural occurrence, overnight and without warning.  He could very quickly bring the haughty spirit of our modern age down to desperate humility.  It really is no problem.  It's as natural as the cycles of the sun.  Here in the Bible Belt, a whole lot of Evangelical Christians are absolutely convinced these are the "last days" and can't imagine how they couldn't be with everything that is happening in the world today.  However, it's like I told my father just a few weeks ago.  This may not be the "last days" of the "end times," because there is no reason to believe this is not a "dress rehearsal" of what the "last days" will eventually be like.  Maybe we're just getting a taste of it, in advance, to remind us before God pushes that "reset" button and gives humanity several more centuries of time here in earth.

I didn't write this to scare anyone.  I wrote it to remind people of the reality we face, (solar storms are real, just like tornadoes and hurricanes), and to reflect on the providence of God, being thankful for everything he has given us.  I also wrote this to remind us just how fragile everything is, and how we really do depend on God every minute of every day for our very survival.  I also wrote this to urge people to get back to the land and learn how to survive without electricity.  We don't need a super-massive solar storm for something like that to happen.  Anyone who has lived through a tornado or hurricane can tell you all about it.  Finally, I wrote this as a warning, to my fellow man.  God is God.  He will not be mocked.  Modern man would like to pretend that he is God, deciding right and wrong for himself, calling evil "good" and good "evil."  It's a losing game, and one that will probably end very quickly.  The only way to win that game is not to play.  Return to the Lord of life (Jesus Christ) and whatever happens, at least you know you have God's favour.

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Highly recommended by priests and catechists, "Catholicism for Protestants" is a Biblical explanation of the Roman Catholic faith as told by Shane Schaetzel -- an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism.  The book is approximately 100 print pages, and formatted in an easy-to-read Question & Answer catechism style.  It addresses many of the common questions Evangelical Protestants have about Catholicism. It is ideal for Protestants seeking more knowledge about the Catholic Church, and for Catholics seeking a quick refresher course on fundamental Catholic teaching. It's an excellent book for Catholics and Protestants alike!  Order Your Copy Today

Comments

Claudio said…
Here is an article that gets more into science of what you are talking about:
http://science.howstuffworks.com/solar-flare-electronics.htm

Note that smaller electronics (i.e. cell phones) are less impacted than the larger systems like our power grid. Also note that we can improve our electronics to withstand a CME. Finally I disagree about people willing to live a more simpler life if a super CME were to greatly impact our civilization. Just as New York City put all their electrical lines underground after the Blizzard of 1888, we would simply rebuild our electronic infrastructure to withstand the next major CME. I will grant you that the time between the next major CME to hit us and the rebuilding of our electronic infrastructure to withstand the next one will be rough.
Shane Schaetzel said…
In order to work, cell phones must make a connection to a tower, which is dependent on electricity of course, and then cell phones must be charged when the batteries run down, which again requires electricity.
Dreamer said…
Interesting theory, it is definately possible. My suggestion for you, grab a goat next time you're out my way! ;)
Shane Schaetzel said…
Naaaahhh... If it happens in our lifetime, I'll just come live at your place sis. ;-)
The immediate aftermath of a CME will not be peaceful, and it would drastically alter a state's warmaking abilities. It would make tanks, drones, and warplanes last only as long as the fuel in their tanks. We would still see guns for a time, but since most weapons plants are electric-powered now, and would be knocked out by a CME, guns would become useless once their irreplaceable bullets run out. With no means of resupplying ammo, it would be impossible to equip an army with them for a campaign.

Yes sir, we will be seeing a return to medieval war not long after a CME. As a believer in the Minor Chastisement prophecies, I am firmly convinced that a CME will figure prominently in the Chastisement. Saints like Francis of Paola prophesy about the Catholic Great Monarch leading his men on horseback, as well as the foundation of the last Holy Order of, quite literally, "mounted knights".
Paul said…
Shane, when you talk about altering plant DNA are you referring to GMO'd foods?
My wife and our family went on a diet 2 years ago that is GMO free and all organic. It has been a bit expensive but we have not been to the doctor ONCE since we were three months into the diet! We used to be in at least once every month. I recommend the diet but beware of places like Whole Foods that are not really reliably all natural but still very expensive.

p.s. thanks to everyone who prayed for an end to the Black Forest fire in Colorado. We were evacuated last Monday and are finally back tonight -a miracle that most all of us here attribute to prayer. It's not over yet (and how sad for the almost 500 totally destroyed houses) but they think there will be 100% containment by Thursday.
by the way: we don't have one of those 5000-7000sf houses you probably saw in the news -the only houses the media seemed to show. Most of the houses here are in the 2-3 thousand sf range and most of us are just people who want to live a simpler older-fashioned life with some chickens and home grown vegetables while still being able to work in Colorado Springs. Pretty much like Shane is suggesting. Thanks again for the prayers, we will be grateful for the rest of our lives.
ek said…
The feminist, contraception, abortion and homosexual agendas will continue aggressively to take over society. The damage they have done already is irreparable. Only God can stop this immorality now. May the Lord protect us when the time comes for His Justice to "reset" the world. Very interesting and sobering piece. Thanks much!