Growing Dominion, Part 9
Dominion will never be understood through worry. The natural tendency of those who are able to identify trajectories is to assume that what they currently see will go on forever and ever. Herman Melville thought that civilization would end as soon as we ran out of whale oil. After a week of rain, farmers think that they will be ruined if the rain keeps up. After a week of sun, they start worrying about drought. A generation ago, everyone panicked about the population bomb, and so the western world threw itself into the gospel of birth control. But now we see the trajectory going the other way. It is a bomb all right, but it is the imploding kind.
A kind of uniformitarianism plagues our thinking, and interferes with genuine wisdom. We are like someone who is driving to a distant city, and who assumes that he must drive north by north east the entire time. But this leaves out a multitude of curves and bends in the road, and forgets his duty to follow the road. Cultural trends, projections, and trajectories are never absolute. Rather, they are just one leg of the road. Christians believe that human history is going somewhere; it has an intelligible destination. And, to return to the image of driving used earlier, we believe that God is the driver of the car. All the pundits, historians, social critics, art historians, et al. are nothing more than glorified back seat drivers. We don’t really know where we are going-and so we need to be more humble about the observations that are coming forth from the back of the car.
We walk by faith, and not by sight.