Twelve ways the world will not end

FT Magazine chose to shake up the good feelings of Valentine’s Day with a sober story about “Twelve ways the world could end.” Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute and the Global Challenges Foundation has assessed (or guessed?) risks from human, natural, and extraterrestrial catastrophes.

Among the risks are supervolcanoes, asteroids, and artificial intelligence. Most of the factors are 0.0x or 0.00x percent. Contingencies to really be worried about.

One wonders why they didn’t assign a percentage to the divine plan to transition mankind off the dying planet to an eternal realm of existence with two separate ecosystems.

Of course, the foundation’s purpose was to goad governments into considering global risks with infinite impact. As if something could be done about them. But it would be another powerful motive for world leaders to acquire yet more power under their belts. So an almighty snap of the fingers by the Creator and Ultimate Destroyer isn’t an interesting proposition for anybody concerned with policy, monies, and international power structures.

Man harms, but can’t annihilate

Man can do plenty of damage to his environment and wreak havoc on his fellows. Hitler and Stalin are only two of the more recent monsters of hate. More will follow in their steps.

Millions of abortions in places like Russia and the US place egotism at the top of the horrors scale.

Political philosophies, social experiments, and militaristic tyrants have done no little harm to economies, families, and individuals.

Even in the turbulent 1960s Louis Armstrong could sing “What a Wonderful World,” and he was right to a great degree, but last month a band released an album, “What a Terrible World, What a Wonderful World.” That it is. And a world waiting for its end as well.

God reserves the cosmos for destruction

For all his evil, man won’t destroy his world. God won’t permit it. Nor will some solar eruption or volcanic explosion or global warming (or is it cooling now? I can’t keep up) put a period to human existence on earth. God is reserving it all for his action.

But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, by being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
2 Peter 3.7 NET

The “present heavens and earth” are the universe as we know it, the same created by God in Genesis 1.1. No doubt, Peter is referring to that verse, thinking of its beginning and now its end. Peter uses the passive voice, perhaps a divine passive, where God is the subject behind the action, that being reserving or keeping the universe ready for judgment.

The word “reserved” sometimes referred to keeping a treasure. It’s where we get our modern word “thesaurus” from — a treasury of words. If God reserves the world for destruction, nobody will wrest it from his grasp.

The second part of the verse makes clear that, while the cosmos will get cooked to a crisp, Peter’s main concern is “the ultimate judgment and punishment of the ungodly” (Kraftchick 159). Here, he describes “the catastrophe in store for those who refuse to heed God’s action and will” (ibid.). Like those Oxford brains who made up the list of twelve possible end-time scenarios.

Get ready

Peter mentions the divine conflagration to urge his readers to prepare for the end. Yes, that ridiculed sign-bearer on the street holds up his placard announcing that the end is near.

Nero fiddled while Rome burned. Man tinkers with toys and fiddles with figures of doomsday scenarios while the day of judgment rushes toward us. Laugh if you will, O world! Your time is coming, and if it has not yet arrived, the Almighty is showing us all patience that we might repent, for he has no desire to see anyone perish, 2 Peter 3.9.

Rather than give policy wonks fodder for government action, God’s servants continue to call the unprepared and unmotivated to quick and decisive change, so that all might be prepared to step into eternity.

Saturdays and Sundays

Saturdays are slow news days, so FT Magazine went for an apocalyptic theme with wild speculation in scientific-assessment guise. Sundays, however, are an excellent day to seek out a body of God’s people and consider, in the midst of the saints of God, the finality of divine decision to quash all evil and enter the final phase of the salvation of those who await the coming of the Promised One.

That percentage is 100%.


Kraftchick, Steven J. 2002 Jude, 2 Peter. Abingdon NT Commentaries. Nashville: Abingdon.

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