The Youth Revolution has been widely hailed as the vanguard of a new wave of humanism — called the "Greening of America" in one noted book. Another noted Book offers a "Greening of the WORLD" program being pioneered by another type of group — "the elect." Here's a comparison of these two plans.
MAMA CASSE ELLIOT sings, "A new world's coming; and it's just around the bend. There's a new world coming; this one's coming to an end." But the Apostle John went one better, predicting a "new heaven and a new earth" (Rev. 21:1). One is interpreted as "humanism"; the other, as religious obscurantism. Why? Another well-known, modern singing group tells of this new world's people: "People on their way, beginning a brand new day; All over hearing people say, 'It's a beautiful day today.' " But Isaiah previously said, over 2500 years before, that "... All sorrow and all sighing will be gone forever; only joy and gladness will be there" (Isaiah 35:10, Living Psalms and Proverbs With the Major Prophets Paraphrased version). Songs such as "The Impossible Dream" or "If I Ruled the World" tell of man's innate yearning for Utopia. Such songs bring tearful yearning to most listeners. Why then do people snort in disbelief when the Bible describes such a beautiful new world? Hosea, Daniel, Micah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, and Jesus Christ spoke of a new world coming, yet that fact is lost on most people who seek a better world.
"The Greening of America"
In the current best-selling book The Greening of America, Yale Law Professor Dr. Charles A. Reich describes his conception of the beautiful "new world coming." He sees today's Youth Revolution as the vanguard of this new era of love, concern, closeness to the earth, unity with fellowman, and peace. As his title indicates, the United States is the only "new world" he discusses, but we're sure he would also wish these blessings for the entire globe eventually. In essence, Reich divides the history of the U. S. into three "worlds," which he calls Consciousness I, II, and III. "Consciousness I is the traditional outlook of the American farmer, small businessman, and worker who is trying to get ahead [self-reliant "pure" capitalism). Consciousness II represents the values of an organizational society [the impersonal "Corporate State"). Consciousness III is the NEW GENERATION" (Charles A. Reich, The Greening of America, New York, Random House, 1970, p. 16). Is it merely a coincidence that two of the leading apostles of Christ spoke of a "chosen generation" (I Pet. 2:9) "... in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation..."? (Phil. 2:15.) When the Bible promises a world which fulfills all the collective hopes of men — be they written, sung, or merely dreamed — why do humans fight it so? Today's popular singers and writers are merely taking the very phrases out of the mouths of Jesus Christ, His apostles, and His prophets and converting them into gold records and bestsellers. But the perennial best-seller of all time, the Bible, beat them all to the punch. Compare the parallel between the best-selling "Greening of America" program of Dr. Reich, and the "Greening of the World" program promised in your Bible. And, remember, you read it first in the Bible.
Mankind Needs a "New Head"
At the outset of his book, Reich makes this specific purpose statement: "At the heart of everything is what we shall call a change of consciousness. This means a 'new head' — a new way of living, a new man" (p. 5). The Apostle Paul's fourteen letters abound with similar phrases. He describes the converted Christian as "a new creature" (Gal. 6:15), the "new man" (Eph. 2:15), and even "a new lump"! (I Cor. 5:7.) As the Living New Testament translates Paul's admonitions, "When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand-new person inside" (II Cor. 5:17); or, "You must be a new and different person, holy and good. Clothe yourself with this new nature" (Eph. 4:24). And this is not merely "nicey-nice" talk about "givin' your heart to the loarrd." What Paul meant was clearly a change in your way of life. Notice in Hebrews 10:20 where Paul says, "This is the fresh, new, life giving way..."; or, "You are living a brand new kind of life" (Col. 3:10, both verses from the Living New Testament). To the Galatians Paul wrote, "What counts is whether we really have been changed into new and different people" (Gal. 6:15). Jesus Christ taught this in His parable of new wine (new religious beliefs, based on the Bible) demanding new bottles, or wineskins (a change in the person who believes). In just two chapters the Bible refers to "that way" of life four separate times (Acts 18:25, 26; 19:9, 23). Therefore, it would have been nothing new to Bible readers if they had read this statement in The Greening of America: "What is coming is nothing less than a new way of life and a new man — a man with renewed energies and imagination. .." (p. 350). But what does he mean, "way of life"? "To describe a new way of life is to describe fully the SOCIETY that is coming. For the locus of that society is not in politics or economics, but in how and for what ends we live" (p. 357). Examine now the way of life — the society — of the "new world coming."
Society in the World Today
Nobody really loves cities, and precious few people love their city jobs. Sociologists recognize this fact. As if with one voice, they call for dismantling cities, spreading cities out, starting new "model" cities, or just going back to the farm. The "greening" of America refers in part to a literal return to the small family farm, a return to the land! "Of all the changes that have happened to man, perhaps the deepest and least understood is the loss of the land, of weather, of "growing things..." (page 173). What are the results of this dislocation of society? Dr. Reich compares it to the vitamin-C deficiency disease, scurvy: "Today we have... mental illness, psychopathic personalities, crime, — and anti-social behavior. Are they the scurvy of today, cawed by a lack of contact with the land or sky, or by lack of work for the hands, or physical exercise, or something else that our civilization has eliminated as nonessential?" (Page 168.) As a result we build mock reality into our make-believe lives. We escape to a world of make-believe and it temporarily satisfies our deep craving for the real product — God's earth. "To a young person, the Corporate State beckons with a skeleton grin: 'Step right in, you'll love it — it's almost like living'" (p. 187). Thus the "escape industry" is directly caused by the total lack of fulfillment in most urban jobs. The job has nothing to do with life, and the salary has everything to do with life. Result? Workers greedily demand more money than they're worth for doing a job that seems worthless. "The majority of adults in this country HATE THEIR WORK.... Recent strikes have repeatedly shown the depth of worker disaffection [dissatisfaction), and the fact that it goes beyond a mere question of wages" (pp. 274, 272). And what of the family's part in this work? "Technology has deprived the family of almost all of its functions. The family has no work to do together, no mutual education" (p. 182). What is the ideal work situation, — then, of the World Tomorrow? "The new way of life proposes a concept of work in which quality, dedication, and excellence are preserved, but work is nonalienated, is the free choice of each person, is integrated into a fall and satisfying life, and expresses and affirms each individual being" (p. 19). On pages 389-390 of The Greening of America is an interesting picture of what Dr. Reich foresees in tomorrow's society: "... the peaceable kingdom of those old American paintings that show all manner of beasts lying down together in harmony and love." Now, how do the elements of this program compare with the "Greening of the World" predicted in the Bible?
Society in the World Tomorrow
You'll find a full description of the kind of life, work, and family unity foreseen by Dr. Reich in this following quotation from "The Greening of the World," in the book of Isaiah: "And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and MINE ELECT SHALL LONG ENJOY THE WORK OF THEIR HANDS. They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock" (Isa. 65:21-25, The New English Bible). You've never read of a "greening" program so complete as this world system proposed in your Bible. Isaiah says further, "... the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly..." (Isa. 35:1, 2). Even the most optimistic of ecologists can't hope for such desert abundance, since they have no control over the "rain in due season" (Lev. 26:4), which God promises for the society of tomorrow, if and when man begins to obey His laws. The Prophet Micah foresaw a time when "... they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks..." (Micah 4:3). This famous prediction still represents the highest ideal of mankind, inscribed on the United Nations Building. Micah's "Greening of the World section continues with a less familiar prediction: "... They shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree..." (Micah 4:4). This means a farm-based society and economy. The Prophet Amos added these words: "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall be no more pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God" (Amos 9:13-15). Notice these are all predictions of the future — prophecies. Not one of them refers to the days of ancient Israel, but rather to "the days to come," or "in the last days," or "they shall" do thus-and-such. Ancient Israel never fulfilled these predictions.
A Time to... Live!
Midway through The Greening of America, Dr. Reich lists many dozens of mind-expanding "trips" deprived us by the inhibiting structure of today's society. Some few are contrary to God's laws of life, but most of them fulfill the fundamental needs of man, such as adventure, travel, nature, morality, bravery, worship, awe, dance, spontaneity, ceremony, creativity, alterations of time, seasons, learning, change, personal excellence, wholeness, sensuality, pain, and joy (pp. 152-155). These qualities of life are robbed from most people today. Very few are free to live life as it was deeply lived by Abraham, David, Paul, or Jesus Christ. Life has become drab, scheduled, sterile, and automated. Our robot-like "efficiency" offers no time to drink of life's deep draught. But look at the life God promises — a time to plant, pluck up, kill (animals), heal, break down, build up, weep, laugh, mourn, dance, cast away stones, gather stones together, embrace, refrain from embracing, get, lose, keep, cast away, rend, sew, keep silence, speak, love, and enjoy peace (Eccl. 3:2-8). God doesn't offer a society that attempts to be "just like living." He offers you the good life. "... I am come that they might have life," said Jesus Christ, "and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:l0). But what does today's narrow "meritocracy" (as Dr. Reich calls our competing city life) do to our personalities? Here is a sample — "... hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings..." and the many other sickening "works of the flesh" (Gal. 5:19-21). God's expansive way of life in the millennium offers instead — "... love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, [and] temperance. .." (verses 22, 23). Those are the fruits of the right way of life that will be practiced in the World Tomorrow, a "green" world.
First — Darkest Night
But will the world painlessly dissolve or evolve into such a millennium of "humanism," with no "birth pangs"? Not at all. Even Dr. Reich foresees the necessity for the new generation to "rescue us from destruction" (page 19) ... "in this moment of utmost sterility, darkest night, and extremest peril..." (page 20). Not a very bright picture! But at least he foresees a group of people who will rescue us out of destruction, then "go about the task of learning how to live in a new way" (p. 19). That's more pleasant to contemplate than cosmocide — destruction of all life on earth. But before the "greening" arrives, the world is going to see much "blackening" through war, disease, poverty, and famine. This diagnosis agrees remarkably with the future picture portrayed in your Bible: "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive — see Moffatt version]: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened" (Matt. 24:21-22). The Greening of America refers to "this moment of utmost sterility, darkest night, and extremest peril" (page 20). Jesus Christ said more than 1900 years previously, "... Night cometh, when no man can work" (John 9:4), and Paul echoed these words, saying, "The night is far spent, the day is at hand..." (Romans 13:12), In another prophecy, Paul wrote, "...When they shall say, Peace and safety; then SUDDEN DESTRUCTION cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of the light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness" (I Thes. 5:3-5). This "day-night" metaphor is not intended to make Christians feel self-satisfied, separated from this "hell-bent" world! Rather, God has chosen a "select few" for His purposes: "... a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people..." (I Peter 2:9) to TURN THIS WORLD RIGHT-SIDE UP!
The Greening of America mentions the need to "recapture life" and "recapture the truth" (pp. 228, 344). The radical nature of these phrases is clarified in this key statement: "No education short of a TOTAL OVERTURNING OF AN INDIVIDUAL'S PICTURE OF REALITY will alter his convictions" (p. 275). Paul's comparison of the "children of light," and darkness (quoted above) must have made special sense to the Thessalonians to whom he wrote. While in Thessalonica, some months earlier, Paul was accused by "certain lewd fellows of the baser sort" of being a preacher "that [had] turned the world UPSIDE DOWN" (Acts 17:5-6). Their perspective of life was the exact OPPOSITE of God's. Upside down appeared to be right-side up; night appeared to be day; black seemed white to them. In truth, the Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians how to live right-side up. THEY were already upside down, but didn't know it! Therefore, they accused Paul of being upside down. God inspired Isaiah to prophesy of today's philosophy of "turning of things upside down" (Isa. 29:16). "Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" (Isa. 5:20.) Perhaps you didn't know that your eyes automatically turn things "upside down" — your mind must reverse the visual image a second time so that you see it right-side up. A few years ago, a man experimented by putting on special glasses which turned his vision "upside down," that is, right-side up. After two weeks of dizziness, pain and confusion, he was finally able to walk, run, catch, and otherwise perform as normal with these special glasses. When he took them off and went back to "normal" (that is, switching from TRUE normal back to the upside-down images which appeared to be normal), he again became nauseous and dislocated but finally was able to adjust back to "normal." Turning the very basis of your life "right-side up" is no easier to accomplish! This turning self right-side up involves "recapturing truth and life" in Dr. Reich's phrases, or, as the Bible says, to "restore all things" (Matt. 17:11) through a "[time] of [refreshing and} restitution of all things" (Acts 3:19-21). But to the world, this way is still "upside down."
The Changing of SELF
The Greening of America rightfully states, '(Social change cannot be accomplished without the support of an appropriate consciousness in the people" (page 57). And how do PEOPLE change? "All [changes] depend upon changing consciousness. All require, as their one indispensable element, changing one's own life first.... even the most courageous battle is senseless if it mistakes the source of evil... only changing one's own life confronts the REAL ENEMY" (pp. 342, 344). Placing the guilt on the nature of individual human beings agrees with the Biblical analysis: "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9.) And the "Greening of the World," which the Bible prophesies, is near-unanimously "supported by the consciousness of the people." Notice! "In that day He who created the royal dynasty of David will be a banner of salvation to all the world. The nations will rally to Him..." (Isa.11:l0). "'Come,' everyone will say, 'Let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the Temple of the God of Israel; there He will teach us His laws, and we will obey them..." (Isa. 2:3, both from Living Psalms and Proverbs With the Major Prophets Paraphrased). The World Tomorrow is going to be unanimously supported by all the nations of the world (except a relatively few rebellious ones at the beginning and conclusion of the millennium). But make no mistake — it isn't going to come by and through the efforts of man. It will come in spite of man! Men will fight it to the very last! (Read Revelation 16 for an example of this prophesied resistance.) But the world will eventually support God's benevolent RULERSHIP which will green this earth, beginning now with a group the Bible calls the "elect." And who are they?
The Hippie Counterfeit
According to Dr. Reich — and this is the main failing of his book — the vanguard of the World Tomorrow is the present Hippie Revolution. He ascribes to them a total sincerity and love which few of them have, and a near perfect style of life, which virtually none of them has. The closing paragraph of the book summarizes his feeling of this movement. The Youth Revolution is "... like flowers pushing up through the concrete pavement. Whatever it touches it beautifies and renews: a freeway entrance is festooned with happy hitchhikers, the sidewalk is decorated with street people, the humorless steps of an official building are given warmth by a group of musicians" (p. 395). One full chapter describes the paraphernalia of the hippies, and how each relates to a "greening" process of America. The hippie clothes, for instance, are the blues, greens, and browns of nature, — whereas the "establishment" wears the grays and blacks of machinery and computers. Of course, many businessmen wear suits of "natural" colors (aren't all colors found in nature?); also, aren't hippies found in gray? And cleanliness is a "missing dimension" in hippie clothing. In fact, Dr. Reich explains their odor as being the "smell of the earth," honest dirt, whereas, the "establishment" covers its natural odors with man-made perfumes. But God says, "...Be clean, and change your garments" (Gen. 35:2). You might say the Levitical laws of God show a "fetish for cleanliness" not shared by today's Great Unwashed. The hippie music, also, is called "personal and natural," whereas the establishment's muzak is impersonal and lifeless. Of course, this indictment is true of much "establishment music," but hippie music uses the most "unnatural" combinations of all — overly amplified, distorted guitars, distorted voices, abusive noises. None of these are the least bit "natural." These points may seem "picky"; but since the book wrongly ascribes such idealistic qualities to hippie life, we feel such points must be rebutted. In doing so, we in no way defend the "establishment" or malign the sincerity of youth. The following points clarify more important failings of the hippie counterfeit.
Hippie Communes — Weak Counterfeits
The hippie communes are a weak counterfeit of "every man sitting under his own fig tree" (Micah 4:4). They are motivated by sincere desires, but look closer at these communes. They are merely a microcosm of urban social problems — immorality, drugs, competition. Most communes just grow enough food for themselves, thinking it would be "capitalism" to sell to others. Of course, they buy goods and services which others produce — capitalism. And if everyone lived on communes, no one would be around to rent them the U-Haul trailers they use, or to fill their jalopies with gas or sell them the supplies they buy. In this world, communes are a cop-out. Then there's the greatest counterfeit of all, the spiritual life. Prayer, Bible study, and meditation have been twisted all out of their Biblical meaning. The hippie "might cultivate visual sensitivity, and the ability to meditate," wrote Reich, "by staring for hours at a globe lamp" (p. 258). Attributing a greening trend to the hippies is idealistic, but it is merely an empty counterfeit of the "new generation." In fact, Dr. Reich later said, "If this isn't the way hippies are, at least this is the way they should be." Who then are the elect which will pioneer toward Tomorrow's World?
The True Elect
The theme of Ambassador College is to "recapture true values." Our campuses have extensive agricultural programs which are turning barren, sandy soil into a green paradise. In a more vital sense, the attitudes and character of hundreds of Ambassador students and thousands of you, the readers of TOMORROW'S WORLD and our co-Workers in the Adult Education Program are being literally greened. Love is being restored, families are being reunited, the "give principle" is being taught. God prophesied that this end-time, Elijah-like Work would "... turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers...,' (Mal. 4:6). Thousands of lives are being brought back to life, joy and peace — "greened" — through this worldwide Work. However, we realize the whole world isn't going to change as a result of our preaching this message. In fact, we can know by experience that very few are willing to change their lives and accept the most thoroughly enjoyable way of life possible — God's way. We realize that the full and complete greening of this earth is going to come only by God's forcing these blessings down the rebellious throats of men. But after that momentary pain is over, this is what awaits this earth....
The Greening of the World
In the millennium there will be plenty of food for all (Isa. 25:6). There will be none who shall say, "I am sick" (Isa. 33:24) — no more tens of thousands dying of starvation and diseases of malnutrition. Cities will be dismantled, becoming a "quiet habitation ... a city quiet and unmoved" (Isa. 33:20, Living Psalms and Proverbs with the Major Prophets Paraphrased). The most vital change of all is a change of attitude, which will precede all changes of society, economy, or even agriculture. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them" (Ezek. 36:26-27). And as a result of that change, look at the change that will be on the land: "... I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you. And I will multiply the fruit of the tree, and the increase of the field, that ye shall receive no more reproach of famine.... And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. And they shall say, This land that was desolate is BECOME LIKE THE GARDEN OF EDEN... (Ezek. 36:29-30, 34, 35). THAT is the kind of greening this world needs!