As we journey through any study of the end of civilizations, Christians must always remind themselves with the following statement of King Asa of old as he faced his enemies and the probable end of his kingdom:
“Lord, it is nothing with You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power. Help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in You and in Your name we go against this multitude, O Lord, You are our God. Let no man prevail against You” (2 Ch 14:11).
And then there were the words of the psalmist, who at the time, was evidently experiencing traumatic times in either social or national upheaval.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth is removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Ps 46:1,2).
No better words could have been spoken when God’s people stand against the onslaught of opposition that would prevail in a world of evil. It is always as Jonathan said to his armor bearer as he was about to engage the enemies of God, “… there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few” (1 Sm 14:6).
With that encouragement, we rally our thoughts around what many historians believe is the final century of Western civilization as we know it. It is not a matter of if, but when. And when we speak of the fall of civilizations, we speak of decades, if not centuries. But one truth is always axiomatic when historians contemplate the end of empires. All empires eventually reach their consummation. Only the naive assume that what they have and enjoy in the present will continue forever. In the history of civilizations, that is simply not possible.
We must sometimes live for decades before we can be aware of centennial transitions in civilizations. As Western civilization now transitions into its finality, our experience of seven decades speaks no different than those of past millennia who have experienced the fall of empires in their time. As Israel’s prophets cried out against the majority in their final years, so we would today as we experience the winding down of the great Western civilization. If one would question our concerns, we do not stand alone. A simple Google search on the Internet will reveal an overwhelming amount of books and articles on this subject. So bear with some of our own speculations, if not postulations concerning what we have gleaned from the material that has been researched and written.
Rachel Nuwer, in a featured BBC Future’s Best of 2017, was right when she wrote that the collapses of many civilizations …
“… have occurred many times in human history, and no civilization, no matter how seemingly great, is immune to the vulnerabilities that may lead a society to its end. Regardless of how well things are going in the present moment, the situation can always change. Putting aside species-ending events like an asteroid strike, nuclear winter or deadly pandemic, history tells us that it’s usually a plethora [combination] of factors that contribute to collapse. What are they, and which, if any, have already begun to surface? It should come as no surprise that humanity is currently on an unsustainable and uncertain path—but just how close are we to reaching the point of no return?” (Emphasis mine, R.E.D.).
[Lecture series continued.]