The Bible contains God's promise of a brighter future than mankind's advances alone can ever provide.
A few years ago, futurist Dr. Michio Kaku predicted that, over a period of ten years, the world would transition “from an Internet to a brain-net, in which thoughts, emotions, feelings, and memories might be transmitted instantly across the planet.” Like many futurists, Dr. Kaku painted a rosy picture.
He explained to Jacqueline Howard of Huffington Post, “Teenagers will go crazy on social media, sending memories and sensations from their senior prom, their first date, etc.” He continued, “Historians and writers will be able to record events not just digitally, but also emotionally as well.” And most encouraging of all, “Perhaps even tensions between people will diminish, as people begin to feel and experience the pain of others” (“7 Top Futurists Make Some Pretty Surprising Predictions About What The Next Decade Will Bring,” May 26, 2015).
Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? But we are now six years into his ten-year forecast and have long since learned that the future of technology has a dark side. Some of the biggest names in the Internet revolution, the technologists and entrepreneurs who built social media, have become disillusioned with the monster they helped build and are now sounding a warning—even sheltering their own children from it (see our March-April 2018 cover article “Tame the Social Media Monster!” at TomorrowsWorld.org).
Since Dr. Kaku’s 2015 predictions, we’ve seen the world become more divided than ever. It is difficult to comprehend the rapidity at which our world is changing, and one could hardly say that it’s changing for the better. The more that people are relying on the Internet for human interaction, the more depressed they are becoming. This trend was noted even before COVID-19, and has only increased. Meanwhile, online pundits engage in an ongoing battle between ideals of fostering “free” speech and of censoring “hate” speech.
If teens today feel that they are missing out on perceived fairytale lifestyles portrayed by their peers on social media, how much more hurt will be felt by the 16-year-old girl who was not asked to the prom? Will she feel compelled to join the bandwagon of girls trying to become boys in an attempt to mend her emotional emptiness? Bullying has always been a problem for boys and girls alike, and social media has provided another powerful way to bully one’s enemies, rivals, or the weak, for sadistic pleasure. Do we really want social media on emotional steroids to enter the picture? No, thank you!
Futurists often portray technology as the solution to our intractable human problems, but is this realistic? When and where has technology or science solved the problem of human nature? Certainly, these have made some aspects of life easier and more comfortable—but as for curing the destructive forces of self-will, greed, pride, prejudice, and hatred? No way!
This is not meant to condemn Dr. Kaku or the numerous other futurists and think tanks that peer into the path ahead for mankind. The future of science and technology—of artificial intelligence and medical advances—is yet to be fully seen. Remarkable advances are clearly on the horizon, such as driverless cars and trucks, along with drones delivering your latest online purchases. Even human travel to Mars is no longer out of the question.
But will any of this bring peace to our troubled planet? Will it prevent divorce and the heartache of children caught in the middle, wondering what to do? Will technology solve the problem of corrupt government leaders who exploit their citizens? Will it stop gang warfare and violence between competing cartels? Sadly, history does not show us much encouragement.
We at Tomorrow’s World do not have the technical intelligence that Professor Kaku and his current colleagues possess. And we tip our hats to his brilliant predecessors, including Leonardo da Vinci, Jules Verne, and George Orwell. There are many others, yet none previewed the future from the greatest source of all—a source virtually ignored by this world’s futurists. That source is the Bible. Before you check out, consider the following.
Somewhere between a quarter and a third of the Bible is prophetic. Much of that is prophecy concerning “the last days” or “the end of the age”—the years just ahead. Many are surprised to find that the Bible foretold technological and scientific advances thousands of years in advance, which is a far greater feat than one might imagine.
It is difficult to conceive how static our world has been throughout most of human history until the time we now call the Industrial Revolution, which lasted from about 1760 to 1840. While the world began “the process of change from an agrarian and handicraft economy to one dominated by industry and machine manufacturing” (“Industrial Revolution,” Britannica.com), most of the world continued moving about by foot, wind power, or literal “horse power.” Yet, today, we can travel around the world in commercial jets in less time than it took 200 years ago to travel the 140 miles (225 km) from Washington, DC to Philadelphia. At the beginning of the 1800s, there were no superhighways and no automobiles in which to travel them. Travel as we know it today had to wait another century and a half.
Amazingly, it is evident that the Bible predicted such technological advances. Daniel 12:4 describes “the time of the end” as marked by a transportation and knowledge explosion. Revelation 9 speaks of futuristic weapons very similar to helicopter gunships, along with chemical or biological munitions that torture—but do not kill—on a grand scale not yet seen. Revelation 11 tells us that two prophets of God will be killed in Jerusalem and that the whole world will see their dead bodies over a period of three-and-a-half days—indicating a visual communication network not in place until very recent decades.
Even more importantly, the Bible tells us about the state of mankind’s moral degradation at the end of this age. The time of Christ’s return was foreshadowed by two catastrophic conditions. Scripture foretells that the immoral and violent behavior preceding the days of Noah and Lot will also precede the return of Christ (Luke 17:26–30). During the days of Noah, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and… every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually,” and the end result was that the “earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:5, 11). The days leading up to the destruction of Sodom witnessed great sexual perversions (Genesis 19).
The prophet Isaiah tells us that moral standards before Christ’s return will be turned upside down. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20). He further describes our age, saying, “Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey” (Isaiah 59:14–15).
The Bible also warns us that a powerful, charismatic leader will arise in Europe, along with a miracle-working religious leader. These two may bring temporary stability to the world, but their rule will be disastrous. Conditions will become so awful that we will only avoid total destruction and the end of mankind by intervention from above (Matthew 24:21–22).
Tomorrow’s World predicts these developments—not based on great intellect, but rather on faith in the truth of the Bible. A rosy picture of mankind’s future does not come from technology helping us “feel and experience the pain of others,” but from the Spirit of God dwelling in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. For greater insight into that future, order our free study guide The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like?