Prophets of doom: Is the end of the world near?
Armageddon didn’t happen in 1982 as predicted by American evangelist Pat Robertson (born in 1930). Then, he prophesied again and again, and flopped again and again.
Even in predicting the end of the world, Americans and Russians were rivals. Grigori Rasputin (1869-1916), a Russian mystic who was assassinated in 1916, prophesied that fire would extinguish all human lives in 2013.
Jeane Dixon (1904-1997), an American self-proclaimed psychic, predicted that the planetary cataclysm would take place in 1962. Flopped. Thereafter, she prophesied the collapse of human civilization in 2020.
Science-based prophecies included NASA’s prediction of Earth’s destruction by the asteroid Nibiru. Early this year, the Australian climate experts calculated that the world would end somewhere in the vicinity of 2050, which is about 30 years from now, due to the “destabilizing societal and environmental factors caused by global warming.”
Global warming, according to them, will cause the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to drop dramatically, making photosynthesis in plants unattainable, triggering a mega mass destruction of the Earth’s plant life, which in turn will set off the disappearance of oxygen in the atmosphere, making animal and human lives unlivable.
With urgency, scientists are calling for a mobilization for some sort of a global climate emergency like what alliances of nations do during actual wartime.
A Catholic dogma of faith
Since the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven, apocalypticists have been coming out to publicly predict the collapse of civilization and the destruction of planet Earth one way or another.
According to some, the end of the world will happen unexpectedly: Cut-and-dry ordinary, business as usual, and people walking out of their homes in the morning rather cool and unruffled, without realizing that their lives are about to be turned upside down. Spine-chilling?
Armageddon, the end of the world, cosmological eschatology, Rapture, or Judgement Day, or Parousia (ancient Greek word for “physical arrival” or “official visit”), all connote the Second Physical Coming of Jesus, his First Physical Coming being the Incarnation, when, 2,000 years ago, “the Word was made Flesh” (John 1:14).
That Christ the King will come for the second time in glory and majesty to judge the living and the dead (Mk 8:38; Lk 9:26) is believed by Christians or about a third of the world’s population.
Such magnificent occurrence (or horrifying, well, it depends) will be the moment of truth, just picture in your mind Michelangelo’s GENERAL JUDGMENT in the Sistine Chapel, when all the dead will rise on the last day and the advent of the “new heavens and a new earth” will be upon us. The big question is: When will this happen? Will you and I be alive to witness this?
But calm down. Chill. You and I were solemnly assured of the time or date of such earth-shaking event. As the Son of the Almighty God Himself has put it: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36).
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world,” writes Richard Bach, “the Master calls a butterfly.” So, today, live like the new day as a butterfly, and enjoy your loved ones and all the miracles of life.
Jose Mario Bautista Maximiano (facebook.com/josemario.maximiano) is the author of 24 PLUS CONTEMPORARY PEOPLE: God Writing Straight with Twists and Turns (Claretian, 2019) and THE BEGINNING AND THE END: A Theology of the Human Person (Claretian, 2016), a textbook in Catholic colleges.