The possibility of human extinction prior to the universal eschaton?

As above, what do you all think about the possibility of humanity becoming completely extinct - like so many others before us - prior to the Return of Christ and the creation of a New Heaven and a New Earth? Of the events of Revelation playing out before a species entirely different from humanity?

I personally feel there is nothing in the scriptures that outright FORBIDS the notion - even if we take the tale of Noah’s Ark at face value, the promise there is only to not destroy all life through a flood. Matthew 3:9 could even be taken to indicate that God isn’t entirely against the concept of fulfilling Biblical prophecy through organisms from an entirely different tree of life than humans:

“And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”

Which, of course, you could also take as Scriptural allowance for the concept of abiogenisis and even an outright second genesis.

What do you all think? Are there any Scriptures that you think forbid the concept of human extinction? My thanks in advance for any answer.


I do believe that it could happen, and thinking that it couldn’t happen is dangerous. It’s more likely that climate change and/or nuclear war partially wipe out our species, changing life as we know it. The stuff of movies!


True - though I was more thinking in the long term, as it is the inevitable fate of every species to either go extinct or change into something else. My thanks for the answer.

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No doubt we will continue to evolve, as we always have.


I mean it’s not a driving or primary fear but I realize that this could potentially happen. Could be man made, a even worse virus, or even some asteroid breaks off and hits another asteroid that sets up earth for a strike. It’s a sort of cosmic fear mostly for me but I find the probability seems to be low.

I view the end times very different from you and so I don’t have the same kind of theological conflict.


Are you asking: “What’s Jesus going to do if He comes back and nobody’s here?”


No - Jesus will do whatever He pleases in any circumstance. Just asking if you think that human extinction prior to that point is a scripturally acceptable outcome. Not saying that’s what I think is going to happen, just raising it as a thought experiment - “is this Scripturally possible?”

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Personally, I think it’s possible. Even saw a Prime Video movie with a Christian viewpoint (I think, since I didn’t watch more than a little bit of its beginning.)

The possibility of extinction might worry me, if I had kids. Being child-free and in my early 70s, I figure odds are I’ll be out of here before push comes to shove. I’ve got younger kin though, and I would be surprised if the possibility didn’t weigh on their mind just a little bit. I’m sure the possibility takes the shine off of marrying and breeding among some folks.

As for whether or not extinction is “scripturally possible”; I confess to not knowing whether it is or isn’t. Maybe it’s time to explore the issue. I’ll get back to you if I find anything one way or another.


One thing seems relevant and important, IMO.
What impact or implication would the possibility of imminent extinction have on the “divine right of headship” in the Church? If we’re all on the same train out of here, just how important would it be to maintain Christian male headship and female submission roles? Even the effort to increase the number of females in leadership roles seem trivial if the Church–from the pulpit to the pew–ceases to exist on the earth, no?


Billions of people dying would be unprecedented and unfathomable, but that is not yet extinction. Extinction is the entire globe coming down to one last person, who then up and dies. There is always somebody somewhere who escapes the ravages of war, is resistant to disease, is situated in the right place, or is a prepper whose day has come - who’s laughing now?. It is unlikely that the usual harbingers of doom, disease, famine, war, natural disaster, nuclear fallout, or climate change can be so pervasive and devastating as to bring about the literal extinction of human kind. The big exception, bad news from the cosmos. For the next event, asteroid, rogue black hole or doomsday planet, living in burrows may not be enough.

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Interesting question. You could apply “Are there any Scriptures that forbid _____ happening/existing?” to a lot of concepts or scenerios. Like heliocentrism, evolution, non-binary genders, a really old Earth, animal death before the Fall, whatever view on Israel one disagrees with, presense/absense/validity of “headship”, etc, and be very surprised at the difference between what can be read into the text, and what actually comes or has come or will come to fruition.
You may recognize that I have strong reservations about Scripture dictating or indicating to us how human history will be allowed to unfold. We can mine for verses, but in the end we find out what is real by what happens.

Becoming a young adult toward the end of the Cold War, when we didn’t realize what was going to happen in 1989, my underlying assumption was that Mutually Assured Destruction was a real possibility. I”ve never had a reason to disbelieve it possible.

I don’t see any verses that guarantee the surival of humanity in a way that could be called iron clad. If we choose to use whatever means we have to destroy ourselves and/or our planet/home, I expect the Lord to let us do it.


I question the framing of the question of course. I no longer see Revelation as anything but apocalyptic in the literary sense. Extinction is part of life on the largest scale. Our species will have ceased to exist at least ten thousand times earlier than the inevitable explosion of the Sun.

If there is transcendence, it will be ongoing throughout this and all other evanescent universes.

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You could insert anything in this sentence in place of “divine right of headship” in the church" and the answer would always be “it doesn’t matter anymore”. Probably the reason why timing of second coming is not revealed, we need to assume continuity of life on Earth in order to function. If not then "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

As long as the last person alive turns off all the lights, I’m cool with it :wink:


I could, but I’m not a fan of the “divine right of headship” in the Church or the family, so I don’t need motivation to give it up.


At least we have eyes on the sky looking for killer asteroids, and we’re testing a means of deflecting them.

I wouldn’t bother, and perhaps all those billions undoubtedly spent on that could have been put to better use, like plastic alternatives and renewable energy

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It’s funny how anthropogenic we are, me included. I was accused of such when I suggested that we were the focus of God’s intent at the creation of life. But to your point, a casual review of extinction events in Earth’s history shows that what you say is true, but does not relate to “humanity” of course, since humanity exists only in the past .005% of life’s existence:
The Great Oxidation Event 2.45 Bya was the first. Most anaerobic organisms became extinct as cyanobacteria produced oxygen, enabling multicellular life forms to evolve. But even then there was not a 100% loss of life.
Then, flash forward about 2 B years to the Ordovician-Silurian event 450 Mya which killed 85% of all species.
Then the Late Devonian extinction, 360 Mya killed 70% of all species.
The End Permian event, earth’s largest event, 252 Mya killed 96% of all species and has been called the “Great Dying” allowing dinosaur evolutions. But still not 100%.
And finally the Cretaceous-Paleogene 66 Mya due to THE asteroid. Finally us mammals could evolve, but in only the last .005% of the existence of life on Earth do we show up.

Best science estimates are that since the beginnings of life, only 1 of every 1,000 species live today. 99.9% are already extinct. And we are only 1 of the extant ~9,000,000,000 species living on earth today. Extincting (creating a new present participle verb-form?) us could be the easiest of all 9B it seems.

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If an asteroid is big enough to be an ELEE or just end civilization, there is nothing we can do about it. Ever. Otherwise it’s a cost benefit analysis. How much would NATO spend to save 10, 100, 1000, … 1,000,000 people in the next 10, 100, 1000, … 1,000,000 years (as a matrix); the probability being less than one person killed per century, ten killed in a ten thousand year and more event, 100 in 100,000,000 - we’ll be long extinct by then any way - and so on.

This just prompted a thought which I think is somewhat true. I wonder if you would agree?

Perhaps we are image bearers in relation to the face God turns toward our species. I suspect every creature is good in God’s eyes and that he doesn’t judge any creature by the standard of any other. We think of the standards of our perspective as universal but I think God is what moves everything toward its best state. So figuratively at least He turns an inspiring face toward us all, from stars to living things. I suspect it is probably also true that God turns the face most needed to every human being.

I wonder how that concept might be either formative for, or the result of breaking origins down into early or late? By early, perhaps the revelation to eukaryote cells of mitochondria and a thousands-fold increase in energy capability. And by late I mean the traditional small-step mutations entering into natural selection. My prejudice has been that the early part demands God “moving things forward, toward its’ best state”. The complexities of RNA synthase seem to require it. But then the later evolutions do not require that. I absolutely understand that many/most Christians think there must be continued intervention…I get that. I’m just saying that evolution as we know it today may not require it. It WAS required (to my mind) as eukaryotes evolved.

A nice thought and compatible with my thinking about our continued evolution on planet Earth. We are out-voted 8,999,999,999 to 1 by the creatures of creation, but perhaps God does not allow for voter registration for the majority?

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