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Being God, he could simply have forgiven mankind, like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son. But he continues to demand retribution. 39 Sadly, even this sacrifice fails to restore balance to the scales of heaven. That is why the Apocalypse must occur. The Bible’s ultimate inability to come to terms with a complex universe is not just a problem for believers. IN THE BEGINNING OF HISTORY 29 It might also be the single greatest tragedy of our species’ time on this planet. UNVEILING DESTRUCTION For better or for worse, destruction as a part of God’s activity reverberates throughout the New Testament right to its close with the Book of Revelation.

He felt sure that history must follow natural laws no different from the laws of physics or chemistry. And in a series of highly technical works—with daunting titles like The Phenomenology of Spirit—Hegel claimed to have found those very laws. Even though Hegel had turned his back on the piety of his Lutheran childhood, his new system owed almost everything to the paradigm of the 40 B U D D H A AT T H E A P O C A LY P S E Apocalypse. He came to view all of history as a series of revelations like those in the Bible.

Emerging from the Great Depression, the United States had started to believe again in the promise of the City upon a Hill. At the moment when Hitler readied German troops for the war with England and France, more than thirty million Americans were mak- WO R L D D E S P I S I N G 43 ing a pilgrimage to Flushing Meadows, New York. There they had a chance to see with marveling eyes the white and glowing World of Tomorrow. What they beheld was beautiful and astonishing: the human spirit set free in architecture, technology, and industrial design.

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