The "World," then, is always the world one knows and on which one lives; it differs from one type of culture to another; hence there are a considerable number of "Worlds." But [...] despite the difference in their socioeconomic structure and the variety of their cultural contexts, the archaic people believe that the World must be annually renewed and that this renewal is brought about by following a model--a cosmogony, or an origin myth that plays the roll of a cosmogonic myth. (Eliade 42)
It's easy to see Gotham as such. Even Raz Al Ghoul sees the necessity of such a renewal. However, Bruce Wayne disagrees with the MEANS by which this renewal is to take place. What we have in Batman (at the core of the narrative) is the same conflict as we had between the Pharisees of and Jesus Christ of the Gospels, a disagreement by which the cosmogony of Gotham would be renewed: by pure Justice or by Grace, love and altruism.
The idea of the perfection of the beginnings tended to imply a complementary idea: that, for something new to begin, the vestiges and ruins of the old cycle must be completely destroyed. In other words, to obtain an absolute beginning, the end of the World must be total. Eschatology is the only prefigure toon of a cosmogony to come. But every eschatology insists on this fact: the New Creation cannot take place before the world is abolished once and for all. (Eliade 52)
We see this idea everywhere: Noah and the flood, Sodom and Gamorah, the New Testament Eschatology of Jesus and, even more so, his Christian contemporaries of the Johannine tradition, and even on into modern fundamentalism, a mountain of eschatalogical thought with the pebble of Raz Al Ghoul sitting quaintly on top, staring down at the broken, painful world yearning for renewal.
If we examine the myths that announce the impending Flood, we find that one of its chief causes is the sins of mankind together with the Decrepitude of the World. (Eliade 55)
Also, by the leaving of the Batman suit for Robin, we see that, as always, the recreative cycle will again take place, and Gotham will, again, need its "Dark Knight" to regenerate it or help it to regenerate itself, depending on your perspective.