ABSTRACT

Hutton's chronology was almost universally resisted, both for its departure from established geological science and chronology, and for its theological implications. In promoting the idea of divine Providence as leading history towards the restoration of Paradise on Earth, Christian eschatology underwrote belief in discoverable scientific laws of a mechanistic universe, and in the human capacity to use scientific knowledge to sustain agricultural, economic and technological progress. Environmental apocalyptic takes up the literary imaginary and rhetorical timbre of Jewish and Christian apocalyptic in secular mode. Eco-modernists and libertarians argue that if the Anthropocene is indeed a new geological epoch, then it is merely the extension of the powers over life on Earth which the stable and relatively warm climate of the Holocene gave to humans in the development of agriculture, and its influence over animals, plants and soils. For Schellnhuber, the passing of Earth from the Holocene to the Anthropocene represents a second Copernican revolution.