The End of the World ISN’T Nigh…

Before getting back to the programme, please can I just set all your minds at rest. The world isn’t going to end this week. It really isn’t. I hereby give you my cast-iron guaranteed on-my-honour promise of that, and you can sue me in the afterlife if I’m wrong.

It isn’t going to end on Friday 21 December or any other date predicted by the ancient Mayans, Nostradamus, Harold Camping, Tim LaHaye, or any of the other myriad soothsayers of the apocalypse over the centuries.

Look, even Jesus himself apparently isn’t too sure when it’s going to happen, or at least wasn’t when he was available for anyone to ask. Confident predictions of his return started about 5 minutes after he left the first time, and for nearly 2000 years have all been wrong. There’s no reason to think he’s going to turn up now just because the Mayans ran out of calendar. And even if God does decide that it’s time for Christ to return, it will be to reign not to end the world.

Our Sun can keep itself going for a few billion more years, and our planet has a fair few ages left to run as well, assuming we don’t somehow blow it up or make it uninhabitable first. It’s certainly possible that our native human stupidity will bring about our collective demise at some point in the next few hundred or few thousand years, but it’s very unlikely we’ll do the job properly and there are almost bound to be survivors, if only by accident.

Yes, there may one day be a giant asteroid strike, or a super-volcano, or a mega-bug pandemic – but none of these things are likely to wipe out the whole world or everyone and everything in it. And the ideas that we’ll all be consumed by nanotechnological grey goo or taken over by AI machines are entertaining but frankly laughable.

Apocalyptic thinking is, in my view, dangerous and futile. If an apocalypse really is coming we won’t be able to avoid it, and I’m not all that sure why we’d want to survive it as some seem determined to. The best we can do is to live as well as we can now, treating each other and the planet in ways that make it more likely there actually will be a tomorrow.

I can’t of course guarantee that terrible and tragic things won’t happen around the world and in the lives of individuals, as they sadly do every day on this messed-up world. I can’t promise how long your own life will last. I can’t promise that we won’t soon precipitate global calamities by our cavalier treatment of the planet and its finite resources, or by our strange propensity to destroy each other with ever more sophisticated weaponry. And I certainly can’t say when Jesus will return.

But I really do promise you that the world won’t end on Friday 21 December. I’m afraid you can’t get out of Christmas that easily. Nor out of my Christmas blog posts, due to resume tomorrow, whatever the Mayans think.


About TheEvangelicalLiberal

Aka Harvey Edser. I'm a web editor, worship leader, wannabe writer, very amateur composer and highly unqualified armchair theologian. My heroes include C.S. Lewis and Homer Simpson.
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9 Responses to The End of the World ISN’T Nigh…

  1. Terry says:

    It must be the old dispensationalist in me, but whenever someone predicts the end of the world on a particular date, I still wonder if it will…

    If there’s a sure sign that the world will end on the 21st, it’s because that day is also Rendle’s birthday.


    • It’s also apparently the birthday of Thomas a Becket, Jane Fonda, Frank Zappa and the notorious pirate Calico Jack Rackham.

      The real reason I know the world isn’t ending tomorrow is that I have prior divine assurance that it will be ending on 23 April next year, at 15.37 GMT precisely. You heard it here first.


  2. Terry says:

    What, on St George’s Day? How terribly English.


  3. dsholland says:

    Only the theology is English 😉

    I have to agree with Terry -Sayin’ it won’t is as risky as sayin’ it will. As the church secretary said,
    “The world ends for someone every day.”


    • Well, I did make that point – I can’t guarantee when your life will end, or that bad things won’t happen to you. If you die, the world will of course end for you – though a new one will then start. All I’m saying is that I’m pretty sure the whole world won’t end for everyone tomorrow, and that it’s silly and counter-productive to set store by end-of-the-world prophecies.

      Also, on the basis of statistics alone I’d challenge your statement that “sayin’ it won’t is as risky as sayin’ it will”. I accept a mild risk that I’ll be proved wrong, though if I am we’ll all be beyond arguing about it. But the world is no more likely to end tomorrow than it has been on any other day in history, so by any straightforward actuarial reckoning there has to be a vanishingly low probability of it happening on any chosen date. Whereas by saying that it will end on a particular date, you have a 99.99999999999% probability of being proved wrong.

      And we can see on Saturday which one of us was right 😉


  4. johnm55 says:

    Well as the 21st is our wedding anniversary and I have forgotten to get Grace a present, for me it could happen..


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