The Last Frontier

It would be a truism to suggest that many things of striking nature have happened during the past year (and years). It is a fact, however; and it ought to be observed carefully by the child of God. The striking events remind the Christian of the nearness of the end of this age. 

We have, in this rubric, pointed out in the past how that “natural” disasters have not only fallen upon mankind, but that also these disasters have been increasing in intensity. It is not uncommon to read: “The worst storm of the century.” It reminds one of the testimony of Scripture that as the end of this age approaches, the “natural” disasters in the world will increase. The book of Revelation points out that in the opening of the seven seals, there are revealed the normal number of disasters. But when the trumpets blow the number and terribleness of disasters increase. It can only remind us that Christ is coming again — soon. The worldly man, however, shrugs off these facts — even though he does observe them. So one finds in a review of 1973 in Time the following:

The year 1973 probably cost Americans more in terms of their self-image than any year in recent memory. The effect was dismaying as Watergate, prolonged economic malaise, sudden energy shortages and a general crisis of authority and trust lodged deeply within the national psyche. In an odd and unwelcome tattoo of accompaniment, nature also wreaked a special havoc on the country for the second year running. Total damage for natural disasters in 1973 exceeded $1.2 billion. Federal funds expended to assist local governments and citizens in the 31 states plagued with natural disasters came to an estimated 750 million, and 75,000 families received direct relief. It was scant consolation that the year before, 48 major disasters cost $3.5 billion in damages, making disaster relief expenditures for the past two years more than the amount expended for the preceding decade. 

Flooding created most of the need for disaster relief last year, and the ominous finding is that the Mississippi River system is in worse condition now than it was a year ago. . . . Unless the rain and snow ease off in the Midwest, 1974 could bring on disasters even worse than those of 1973 and 1972.

Strikingly, the same issue of Time (Jan. 14, 1974) contains a feature article that treats the subject, “Exploring the Frontiers of the Mind.” It serves as further reminder of the development of man and its implications concerning the end of this age and the return of the Lord. 

One can read in Daniel 12:4, “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. ” The fulfillment of that Word is seen so clearly in all areas of learning, but especially in man’s study of the mind. To know and to control the mind of man would be the ultimate aim and desire of the antichrist. 

But to return to the article of Time. The article points out the wonder of the brain. (And, incidentally, one is struck by the fact that this wonderful brain of man could hardly be the product of evolution.) It points out:

The most mysterious, least-known area of man’s universe does not lie in the farthest reaches of outer space. Nor is it found in the most remote Amazonian jungle or in the inky blackness of the Mariana Trench. It is located instead inside the human skull, and consists of some 3½ pounds of pinkish-gray material with the consistency of oatmeal. It is, of course, the human brain.

. . . .The brain is the newest and perhaps the last frontier in man’s exploration of himself. Crossing that frontier could have the same impact on humanity as the discovery that the earth was round. “We are like the Europeans of the 15th century,” rhapsodizes one brain researcher. “We’re standing on the shores of Spain or Portugal, looking out over the Atlantic. We know that there is something on the other side and that our discovery of exactly what this is will mean that things in our world will never be the same again.”

….Finding the key to these mysteries (of the brain’s functions), a discovery that would suddenly explain these functions, could lead to better ways of treating the psychoses and neuroses that plague millions. It could result in identification and correction of the causes of many neurological disorders and, by revealing how the brain works, revolutionize thought, education and communication. It might even help man turn away from what some see as a headlong pursuit of self-destruction.

The article continues by describing some of the wonders of the brain. It points to the various tasks or functions of the brain. Then the article suggests several benefits which supposedly will accrue to man as a result of the control of the brain:

Doctors are still not sure how the brain perceives pain, but some neurosurgeons have found ways of relieving the chronic and acute discomfort associated with terminal cancer and other diseases. Dr. William Sweet, chief of neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, has found that by destroying small clusters of cells in different parts of the brain, either by freezing or by electric current, he can relieve pain without producing the degrading effects of the old-style pre-frontal lobotomy. 

…..Building on his earlier work, Sweet and others have also discovered that they can calm the violent outbursts of rage often associated with psychomotor epilepsy by destroying or partially removing the :amygdala, an almond-shaped body in the limbic system of the brain. ._ . .

The article concedes that there are expressed fears by many with this tinkering with the brain:

While neuroscientists look forward eagerly to the day when they will understand how the brain works, some people feel that they have already gone too far. There are those who fear that new drugs and surgical techniques could be used to impose a form of “mind control” on non-conformists, tranquilize prisoners or inmates of mental hospitals, and tame those whose behavior or ideas society finds troubling. They note that psycho-surgery is being widely used in Japan to calm down hyperactive children. . . . 

Most neuroscientists agree that their science can be abused but doubt that it will be. Schmitt, for example, feels that fear of thought control is unreasonable. “When it comes to thought control,” he says, “politicians and journalists do a better job than neuroscientists.” Instead, the brain researchers stress that the benefits resulting from their research would far outweigh the dangers. An understanding of how the brain works could lead to treatments for some forms of mental retardation. A greater knowledge of what- takes place during learning could result in improvement in teaching techniques. Even human intelligence might be increased as a result. 

A breakthrough could also lead to the kind of social evolution that might help prevent the conflicts that now set man against man and nation against nation. “Most of our evolution has been somatic,” says Schmitt. “We’ve changed our shape. But if we could really understand ourselves and by extension each other, we could evolve socially as well.” That kind of evolution, Schmitt contends, may well be necessary for the continuation of the species. “Armies aren’t the key to man’s survival,” he says. “Governments are not enough. Treaties are not enough. Only self-knowledge will help man to survive.” 

. . . .The explorers of the brain have embarked on a journey even more significant than the voyage of Columbus in 1492. Columbus discovered a new continent. The explorers of the brain may well discover a new world.

All this ought to give pause for much thought. The article certainly emphasizes the extent of the development, of man in the past century. Surely “knowledge has been increased!” The brain and mind are recognized as the “last frontier” in man’s discovery of himself. That ought to serve as reminder how near the coming again of Christ must be. There are not many areas left for the inventiveness of man to discover more. As he reaches these “last frontiers,” we are reminded of the fact that the end is at hand. 

At the same time, though scientists would allay the fears of many; the control of the mind of man surely would open the door wide for the coming of the Antichrist. The coming of the antichrist is described inRevelation 13. One can understand that chapter better in light of recent developments in man’s attempt to control the mind. Man has indeed been doing that with mass means of communication. But ho will be doing that through the use of drugs or other inventions as well. Revelation 13 describes the subservience of almost all men to the antichrist. He deceives men that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the earth. Through discoveries in connection with the control of the mind, the antichrist could well seek to establish peace and contentment among men. If he can control the mind of man, he can control the world. 

Be sure to look about you and see what is happening. Do not be lulled into sleep by man’s assurance that “fear of thought control is unreasonable.” Man never seeks to accomplish this sort of development except for the purpose of promoting a kingdom among men in subservience to satan. Yet we are assured, even as we see these things taking place about us, that the “day of the Lord is at hand.”