The word is synecdoche. It is a literary term meaning a part of something representing the whole. In a way we can apply it to our human tendency to generalize about something using very limited data.  If we have a bad experience with a particular person it is not uncommon for us to paint with a very broad brush all the people of that particular person’s group.  With very limited exposure to something we often speak about it with great authority.  It is equally easy to make assumptions about the world we live in by hearing or watching a few news stories. We don’t think about the fact that news organizations pick the most radical, most gruesome events to talk about so as to attract us to watch their network.  It is easy then to think the whole world or our entire country is like those stories.  Politicians don’t help because they want us to think things are bad so we will elect them so they can fix the horror they have made up.

We are so anxious for Jesus to come we often exaggerate (not consciously) how bad the world has become.  But if we only stop to remember our history lessons or the history of only the 20th century we cannot think we are now worse off.  World War I and World War II killed scores of millions of people.  Polio and other diseases were rampant.  Crime is not worse now than it has been in the past.  History reveals the world has always been a mess.  Furthermore, surely the second coming of Jesus is not dependent upon the amount of evil in the world.  Perhaps it is just the opposite.  Perhaps God is waiting for a people to have grown so much like Him He just has to come to take them home.  Isn’t that what happened to Enoch?

Written by Roger Bothwell on April 14, 2016

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