The attention that Harold Camping, a California-based Bible teacher, and his predictions of the end of the world have received proves that mankind is curious to know in advance God's plans for the end times.
Even though the end of the world did not occur on Oct. 21, the final (thus far) date prophesied by Camping, there are several more prophecies out there that have been attracting the public's attention already.
The most popular of these predictions claims that the world will end in December 2012. Websites concerned with the topic abound. The website Rapture Ready, for example, has a whole arsenal of apocalypse-related data, including "rapture ready news." Another popular website is December212012.com. The page features a doomsday countdown and an online store which lets visitors purchase "survival supplies."
The 2012 theory has been so popular that NASA published a special chapter on its website, in which the agency tries to prove that the world will not end next year. The cosmic developer and research body compared the 2012 craze to the uneasiness preceding the first day of the year 2000. The doomsday predictions have been, according to NASA, analyzed and the science of the end of Earth thoroughly studied.
"Nothing bad will happen to the Earth in 2012," an article on the space agency's website reads. "Our planet has been getting along just fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012."
In 2008, a story of a man who had quit his job already in 2006, because he believed the world would end come 2012, was reported by ABC. The man reportedly formed a "survival group" and started collecting various gear that was to help him survive the apocalypse. He based his belief on the prophecy originating from the Mayan calendar, which reportedly claims 2012 is to be the final year.
Another theory which received some public attention comes from biblical scholar Ian Gurney, who reportedly wrote in 1999 that the world would end in 2023, supporting his interpretations with the book of Revelation and the words of the prophet Daniel in particular. In 2009, a retired IT specialist, Robert Singer, wrote an article based on that theory for Canada Free Press.
In 1960, Time magazine published an article titled "Science: Doomsday in 2026 A.D." The Time article describes a theory that only a finite number of humans will ever live and that the Earth's population is nearing that number, Business Insider reports.
According to The Economist, the world's population has been rising faster than ever in the recent century. It took 250,000 years to reach 1 billion people on Earth, which occurred in around 1800; over a century, it reached 2 billion (in 1927); and 32 years more to reach 3 billion. But to rise from 5 billion (in 1987) to 6 billion took only 12 years; and now, another 12 years later, it is at 7 billion, the magazine reports. However, that rate is diminishing; the growth in the world's population is actually slowing, with the peak of the population's growth passing in the late 1960s, the magazine reports.
There are several scientific theories as to how our planet might meet its doom. One of the most prominent theories claims that the earth will be destroyed by the sun.
One theory claims that there is a small risk of Earth being burned in a solar storm in 2013.
But most scientists claim we have much more time, give or take, some 7.5 billion years before oceans evaporate and our planet will be destroyed completely.
Evangelical Christians, on the other hand, say the exact time of Christ's return to Earth cannot be predicted and that any attempt to pinpoint a date, as Camping has done, is futile in light of Jesus' words in Matthew 24:36. In verse 42 of that same chapter, Jesus admonishes his curious disciples: "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come."