Will Civilization Collapse—Again?

Will Civilization Collapse—Again?
A new scientific study predicts the collapse of global civilization. Does the Bible support its findings? What does it say about the future—and what we should do?

The rise and fall of civilizations is nothing new, but is the world as a whole headed toward a universal collapse? A new study partially funded by NASA and led by natural and social scientists says it may be nearly unavoidable.

The study, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharrei of the University of Maryland, investigates the factors that have historically contributed to the fall of some of the world’s greatest civilizations: “The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent” (Safa Motesharrei, Jorge Rivas and Eugenia Kalnay, “Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY): Modeling Inequality and Use of Resources in the Collapse or Sustainability of Societies,” 2014, p. 3).

As the saying goes, history repeats itself—only, it might be worse this time around …

One scenario

According to Motesharrei and his colleagues, civilization’s end may not be due to some natural disaster or cosmic disturbance. Their analysis produces a model wherein “the Elites eventually consume too much, resulting in a famine among Commoners that eventually causes the collapse of society,” the end coming from a “loss of workers, rather than a collapse of Nature” (ibid., p. 20).

God explains clearly that humanity’s selfish nature is the cause of its own demise; and speaking of the coming global collapse, Christ emphasizes, “Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” By this scenario (the study provides a range of possible avenues of collapse), the unfair treatment of the poor of the world will contribute heavily to civilization’s collapse. What’s more, the researchers foresee the elites in favor of the status quo defeating any movement for change. “Under such conditions,” Motesharrei writes, “we find that collapse is difficult to avoid” (ibid.).

Are these predictions likely? What about the many other scenarios scientists have proposed that could wipe out civilization—or humanity itself? Where can we turn to find out what really will happen? What hope can we have in the face of such predictions, and what can we do about it?

The Bible is way ahead of us

As it turns out, God inspired His servants to write about similar topics thousands of years ago.

Here’s a comparison of some parts of Motesharrei’s scenario with the Bible:

  • Motesharrei (et al.): “The process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history” (ibid., p. 2).

Bible: Daniel 7 predicted the rise and fall of the Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires (as well as the last’s historical revivals) far in advance. (For more, read “Daniel 7: Four Beasts and a Little Horn.”)

  • Motesharrei (et al.): The convergence of various critical factors forms two social features: the “stretching” of limited resources, and “the economic stratification of society into Elites and Masses” (ibid., p. 4).

Bible: Proverbs speaks repeatedly about the consequences of oppression: “He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty” (Proverbs 22:16; compare 21:13; 28:27; Ecclesiastes 5:8).

  • Motesharrei (et al.): “While some members of society might raise the alarm … [the] Elites and their supporters, who opposed making these changes, could point to the long sustainable trajectory ‘so far’ in support of doing nothing” (ibid., p. 20).

Bible: The Bible prophesies a similar attitude in the face of the many dangers facing humanity: “Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation’” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

What can you do?

Motesharrei’s study insists that the only solution to prevent global fall is to reduce inequality and curb population growth. But the Bible lists even more important causes of humanity’s troubles, as well as a specific scenario for catastrophe—and rescue!—that is sure to happen.

God explains clearly that humanity’s selfish nature is the cause of its own demise; and speaking of the coming global collapse, Christ emphasizes, “Unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” (Matthew 24:22).

Humanity ultimately can’t save itself. It needs help.

Fortunately, the rest of the passage reveals that “for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.”

Who are the elect? The Bible shows that they are “those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Revelation 14:12). God will directly intervene just before the end by sending His Son to restore His Kingdom on earth (Acts 3:20-21).

This is the good news—the only real solution to the world’s inevitable collapse—and God is offering you the means to be a part of it. For more on how to answer this call, read “Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God.”

About the Author

Life, Hope & Truth Contributor


Discern is published every two months and is available in digital and print versions. Choose your preferred format to start your subscription.

Print subscriptions available in U.S., Canada and Europe


Please choose your region:


Discern Article Series

Christ Versus Christianity
Walk as He Walked
Christianity in Progress
Wonders of God's Creation
Ask a Question