Eschatology literally means the study of the eschaton, the times of the end, 'last things', or 'end times.' In Zoroastrianism, Christianity and in Norse pagan theology, eschatology refers to a theology concerning the end of the world, as predicted in the prophecies of these faiths, and as recorded in their sacred texts. Eschatology also refers to the study of general afterlife concepts of other religions, especially the western monotheistic faiths. In this broader sense, eschatology can refer to the messiah, a messianic era, the afterlife, and the soul in religions which have such beliefs.
As far as we know, Zoroastrianism had a fully developed concept of the end of the world as being devoured by fire already in 500 B.C. and is thus the oldest eschatology we know of.
Eschatologies of particular religions:
Ancient religions (no longer widely practised)
Modern day religions
- Ancient Aztec eschatology
- Ancient Egyptian eschatology
- Ancient Greek eschatology
- Ancient Roman eschatology
- Ancient Norse eschatology
(still widely practised)
Science has developed its own eschatologies, based on observation and rational speculation rather than traditional inspiration.
- cosmology deals with theories about the possible origins and the ultimate fate of the Universe.
- The multiverse idea might contradict the idea of a definitive end to existence itself, and the scientific study of time calls into question the very meaning of concepts like "beginning" and "end".
- The technological singularity would be an incomprehensible transformation of society by technological means. If it goes as expected it would be the end of human society as such.
Some have compared the Marxist belief in World communism
as a form of eschatology