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Both the Bible, the Holy Scriptures of Christianity, as well as scientists from across the world have made predictions about the end of the world. Although very different, both scenarios are quite disturbing. The religious version introduces the idea of human redemption and the start of a new world, while the scientific one suggests a tragic end for planet Earth and all its inhabitants.
We will analyze both points of view, although it would be safe to say that none of us will live long enough to hear the last ticking down of the doomsday clock.
The book of Apocalypse is an encrypted piece of code that to this day has clergymen divided as to how to interpret it. Consensus, however, was reached when it came to The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse that symbolized Conquest, War, Famine, and Death that would represent signs of an imminent Apocalypse.
The number seven is also charged with apocalyptic nuances - the announcement of the end of the world is preceded by seven seals, seven trumpets and seven bowls and are three series of end-times judgments from God.
According to the Holy Scripture, God carried a parchment with seven seals on it. The first four seals correspond to The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse that ride on horsebacks, galloping through the world, hurling their curses at humanity. When the world is engulfed by chaos, the saints will be martyred (the fifth seal) but God brings about the Last Judgement to save the righteous. The sixth seal causes a terrible earthquake and natural catastrophes.
The seventh seal introduces the seven trumpet judgments. The first trumpet brings hail and fire mixed with blood that destroys much of the plant life, while the second trumpet brings a meteor that crashes in the sea. The third trumpet brings another meteor in a river; the fourth announces the darkening of the Sun and Moon; the fifth trumpet announces a plague of “demonic locusts” that torture the unsaved while the sixth trumpet marks the march of a demonic army that kills a third of humanity.
The seventh trumpet calls forth seven angels who carry the seven bowls of God’s wrath. Following the order of appearance, the bowls bring painful sores afflicting humanity, the death of every living thing in the sea, the turning of rivers to blood, an intensifying of the sun’s heat, great darkness and an intensification of the sores from the first bowl. The sixth bowl prepares the advance the Antichrist’s armies at Armageddon and the seventh marks a devastating earthquake followed by giant hailstones
Symbols aside, there is a series of more possible signs that according to the Bible announce the end of the world:
The end of the world has been announced with the prophecy of Palestinians returning to Israel. After Israel declared its independence in 1948, many saw it as the beginning of the end.
The Holy Scriptures describe an Ice Age taking place before the end of the world. The fourth trumpet announces the dimming of the Sun and the Moon which corroborates with the scientific theory of global warming that will bring about a period of significantly cooler temperatures.
The prophet Ezekiel spoke of wars as the leading cause of the end of the world, and many have interpreted this prophecy as an attack by Muslim armies (associated with the Antichrist) lead by Russia against the Israeli people.
The Scripture references various plagues and famines, and some regard the development of chemical weapons and chemical terrorism as the cause for the end of the world as foreseen in the Bible.
There are at least two mentions of meteorites showers in the Bible which have perpetuated man's biggest fear of an asteroid impact with Earth that eradicates all life forms. This idea has inspired many novels and Science Fiction movies across the world.
Eschatology mentions a death star that will cause many problems. Scientists are discussing the idea of Nemesis, a hypothetical star, that orbits the Sun and could influence other planets by creating eclipses and natural catastrophes.
Science does not offer prophecies about the end of the world but does mention a series of threats to life on Earth, the majority of which have been caused by humans themselves. There are a few worrying scenarios among them, as we will discover in the following lines.
It is surprising how the development of atomic technology suggests a threat for our species when in theory we should have used these advancements to keep ourselves safe. The reality is that humans have devised a deadly weapon, capable of infinite destruction, and many people are interested in using it against others.
After the Cold War, people started worrying less about a nuclear desaster, but in reality, new nuclear technologies are being perfected by countries such as Iran or North Korea. Diplomacy is the only way forward.
The problem lies in food production and the exponential increase of the population. 7 billion people are living in the world, and by 2050 we will reach 9 billion people. This suggests an increase in the population of 34% that would require 70% more food. How will we do it? What role with tehcnology play in this new scenario? The floor is open to debate.
Artificial Intelligence takeover is a worrying prospect for many scientists if we consider that robots represent the future of the military industry. We are not talking about the development of emotional intelligence that will get out of hand (like in the novels of Isaac Asimov) but about a military superpower with legions of robots at its disposal.
The abuse of antibiotics has given way to the development of hyper-resistant bacterias that conventional treatments cannot cure. The pharmaceutical industry cannot keep up the production of drugs and falls under the grasp of new threats such as the risk of a pandemic.
The mere fact that we're still alive is a miracle. An asteroid ended the dinosaur's lives, and similarly, another one could end our lives, which is why we'll always be interested in monitoring the sky. Astronomers are mindful of his threat and have been gathering information about the celestial bodies that could cross paths with Earth.
In the case of an asteroid impact, scientists suggest the following three solutions: gravitational interaction between the asteroid and a spaceship, a direct impact on the asteroid's surface that would change its trajectory, or surface explosion intended to have the same effect. Success will not be guaranteed, regardless of which option we choose.
The last threat that could bring about the end of the world is climate chance. Despite the many scientific reports about this issue and the numerous initiatives of international communities to mitigate the effects of industrialization, global warming seems to be an irreparable problem.
A few of the consequences of this would be droughts, changes in sea levels, changes in flora and fauna and possible diseases around the world. Will this be the cause for the end of the world?