The foreboding notion of Doomsday, of a world at its end, a dark prediction of impending calamity has long been conjured up by man throughout the ages.  This, sometimes overwhelming, fear of the final hour for life on Earth is not unwarranted, after all it has happened at least once before. If you believe that dinosaurs once roamed our fragile planet, and it’s kinda hard to ignore the ginormous evidence that they did, then you know that the end times are forever only as far away as the nearest rogue space rock. The continuation of life as we know it depends on the delicate balance of not only the cosmos, but also the preservation of our fragile Eco-system, the forces of nature, and the actions an inaction of every human on the planet. If any of these should tip the scale just a little too much it will spell the end of the line for most, if not all, species in this green and blue wonderland.

Predictions of the apocalypse taking place in some form has been big business for religious groups, people, and leaders as well as mystics, astrologists, mathematicians, and scientists since 66 CE, and as they say, business is good.  

Saint Beatus of Liebana prophesied the second coming of Christ on April 6 793 believing his return would cause the end of the world in front of a large crowd of people.

Many Europeans saw the black plague of 1346-1353 as a sign of the end of the world.

Astrologers in London predicted that the world would end on February 1 1524 due to a great flood that would start in London. In response, 20,000 Londoners fled the city for higher ground.

Christopher Columbus predicted that the end times would come about in both 1656 and 1658. He made these predictions between 1501 and 1502.

Mathematician John Napier believed the world would end in 1688 based on calculations made from the Book of Revelation. He later revised this date to 1700.

From 1853-1856 many believed the Crimean war was the Battle of Armageddon.

People’s Temple founder, Jim Jones said he had visions of a nuclear holocaust taking place in 1967.

Nostradamus (apothecary/seer), The Amazing Criswell (psychic), Phillip Berg (dean of the worldwide Kabbalah Centre), Charles Berlitz (linguist), Hon-Ming Chen (leader of the cult Chen Tao),  James Gordon Lindsay (preacher), Timothy Dwight IV (president of Yale University),  and Nazim Al-Haqqani (Muslim spiritual leader) all prophesied that the world would end in 1999.

There were many end times predictions made about the year 2000, including the second coming of Christ,  the Antichrist being revealed and coming to power, and the Y2K scare which caused many people to believe that computers would crash worldwide on January 1st leading to global economic and social chaos.

Since 1947, members of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists have maintained the Doomsday Clock. This clock was designed to be a symbol representing the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe. A group of international researchers called the Chicago Atomic Scientists invented the Doomsday Clock following their participation in the Manhattan Project and the subsequent bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.  The clock is “intended to reflect basic changes in the level of continuous danger in which mankind lives in the nuclear age..” with midnight representing hypothetical global disaster.

Originally, the Doomsday Clock was set to seven minutes until midnight and has since been set forward and backward 22 times in response to global events. The closest setting to midnight came in 1953 when the United States and the Soviet Union began testing hydrogen bombs resulting in the clock being set to 2 minutes until midnight. The Science and Security board meets twice a year to discuss global changes and review the clock’s setting.  Since 2007 the clocks setting has also taken into consideration the effects of climate change as well as the consequences of developments in science and technology which could result in irrevocable harm to humanity.

Currently the Doomsday Clock is set to 2 and a half minutes until midnight due to the rise of Nationalism, President Trump’s comments about North Korea, Russia, and nuclear weapons, and the Trump Administration’s expressed disbelief in the scientific consensus over climate change.  This marks the first time a fraction has been used in the setting of the clock and the closest time until midnight the clock has been set at since 1953.

Despite all the predictions, the hypothetical clocks, and the modern weapons known as “Doomsday Devices”, the concept of the ultimate demise of life is far from a new one. In fact, people have believed in, fantasized, prophesied, and written stories about an apocalypse since the dawn of man. Norse mythology describes Doomsday as ‘Ragnarok’ whereby a series of future events result in a great battle in which all of creation is burnt down and most life seizes to exist. The ancient Egyptians, despite being most concerned with immortality, believed the entire universe would come to an end in the future as it had been created from the waters of chaos and thus would eventually subside under these waters.  An ancient tablet believed to be from an early, powerful Mesopotamian culture, carved sometime between 2500 and 2800 BC bears the first known prophecy of the end of days.  The inscription on the tablet claims that the world is in its final days and is gradually deteriorating into a corrupt society which will end in destruction.

Whatever you believe about Doomsday, one thing is for sure, we should all be grateful for what we have and strive to leave the world in a better state than we found it. For now, we know of a fully equipped survival bunker you could hang out in… just make sure you lock the door behind you, unless you feel like testing your luck once the owners return…

Leave a comment