The concept of a world cycle is familiar from both Indian and Greek mythology with the former positing a descent from the Satya Yuga down through the Treta, Dwapara and Kali Yugas, and the latter a similar progression from Gold to Silver, Bronze and Iron Ages (not to be confused with the periods when those last two metals began to be in general use). This is regarded as a descent because in earlier times humanity lived in close contact with the spiritual realm but as time passes and one age moves into another, that contact becomes fainter, no longer direct so that religions spring up to compensate for its loss. The material world assumes great prominence, physical matter itself becomes denser, weightier, more impenetrable. But there are compensations and these are mostly to do with the development of mind and the sense of self which come about as the feeling of separation increases. Nevertheless, later ages are always envisaged in terms of a loss, of spiritual awareness, of proximity to truth and of virtue. Eventually mankind lives for itself and denies God who is seen as an illusion of the past.
Creation might be said to come about when the two basic forces of spirit and matter are actively expressed in a relationship of polarity. God speaks the Word which brings form to matter, making order out of chaos. We can see this process as subject or consciousness and object or material appearance and the relation between them. The ideal is to hold these in balance though with spirit as the dominating principle. But spirit needs matter to express itself and to grow through that self-expression. Can God grow? Can the infinite and eternal source of all being become more than it already is? In one sense, no for it is and 'is-ness' does not grow. But in another, yes, it can grow through its self-expression because God may be the infinite and eternal but when he creates he is expressing himself in form and so development and change become possible. God plus one human being or even one blade of grass is more than God alone even though God is the all. And God delights to reveal himself through creation.
In earlier ages humanity still breathes the air of its origins in spirit. But as time passes the veil descends and matter becomes more opaque until finally substance, the objective world, obscures the direct perception of essence, the subjective reality. Consciousness is still there, of course, but it is contracted and regarded as the secondary principle, an outcome of material processes. And everything associated with matter assumes greater significance. Believe it or not, this fact is behind such modern day phenomena as socialism, egalitarianism and feminism, matter being the feminine polarity of being and also that which reduces all things to the horizontal axis with spirit being the vertical hierarchical principle. It is the Logos that gives quality to existence while matter is the principle behind quantity.
When matter has reached its furthest extremity from spirit it is a sure sign that the cycle is nearing its conclusion. That time (can it be doubted?) is now. We cannot know how much further this process has to go but we are surely in a late phase given the complete loss of spiritual awareness. This has created a reaction of sorts but most of the time this reaction takes place within a materialistic framework, witness the many distortions of spirituality we see today.
It might be asked what the point of all this is, why do we have to lose our spiritual awareness and 'descend' into materialism? The answer has to do with the evolution of consciousness and the conversion of spiritual babies into fully aware spiritual adults. In earlier times we may have been immersed in the wholeness of life, one with our environment and not conscious of ourselves as separate individuals with the many complications that entails. But all this was passive. We were not free. The hardening of the cosmos (figuratively speaking) enables the development of the self and gives the opportunity for the self to return to God but this time in full consciousness, as a positive act in freedom and love, two conditions that were unknown in earlier times. However, this is not a foregone conclusion and depends on the individual soul being able to rise above its environment and the degenerative cosmic influences that are responsible for the descent into materialism.
We are living at the end of our world. Not the end of planet earth but the conclusion of a great cycle of thousands of years. This is a time of testing but also of opportunity. Those, sometimes called a remnant, who remain faithful to spiritual truths will move onwards to greater things, a life "which God has prepared for those that love him". Those who fail to do this will experience the consequences of that decision. Not all seeds that are sown sprout.