The amount of resources of any kind is limited. For a growing civilization, this can lead to a crisis. But being creative, a civilization is able to open up new resources. Examples from history include the invention of clothes, fire and housing enabling humans to settle in colder areas, the invention of bow and arrow, enabling the hunting of more game, the invention of agriculture, enabling humans to get more food from the same area, the inventions of weapons of war, enabling one civilization to use another one as a resource, the invention of coal-fired steam engines, the invention of artificial fertilizer, and so on.
Faster growing civilizations outcompeted or integrated more slowly growing ones. Within a civilization, faster growing subsystems (e.g. companies) would outgrow the more slowly growing ones. So creativity is leading to knowledge that allows tapping into new resources, enabling some civilizations or their subsystems to outgrow other ones. Values, attitudes, social institutions and structures and technological knowhow that lead to faster growth will be amplified by making the civilization carrying them grow faster. This process can be compared to biological evolution.
As a result, civilizations have a general trend not only to grow but to increase the speed of their growth and thus the speed of using up their resource base.
Growth is a form of instability, so civilizations are inherently unstable.
The problem with this is that a planet has only a limited amount of resources. There is an upper limit of growth. We are currently approaching that limit with our global civilization. What is going to happen?
(The picture is from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:StatfjordA(Jarvin1982).jpg)