posted on Jun, 4 2013 @ 09:49 PM
What would a loving God want us to know or contemplate about the end of time and the universe anyway? Such questions may not be for mankind to ponder
at all. World without end, the earth endureth forever, the Bible reassures us. Or, if the world is destroyed by apocalypse, God has the power to make
it whole and to comfort his people with a new and fresher one, less dusty with the cast off leavings of industrialized society:
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth:
For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;
And there was no more sea.
And I John saw the new city, new Jerusalem,
Coming down from God out of heaven,
Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
(Revelation Chapter 21, verses 1 and 2)
Surely this is reassuring when contemplating all this destruction! I do know a little of my science and as has been mentioned before my brother Tyler
is a grad student in biology. It’s hard to see how we could live on the earth without the sea, though we are doing a pretty good job of trying to
make it devoid of life already. I guess if God can make a new earth he could make us able to live without it-but I will miss my fish and chips,
We are mortal creatures, mere microcosms within the universe as a whole. We often have trouble thinking beyond our own fates. We hope that death is
not the end but a new beginning of something much better, or perhaps worse in the case of child murderers and rapists. Perhaps there is a purgatory of
sorts, in which God or his helpers give us a chance to go back and live our lives in reverse time, letting us work out all those little mistakes and
foibles that have kept us from being truly fulfilled as human beings before we are ready to move on to higher levels. Maybe the universe is like this
as a whole, and goes in a repeating cycle, a single repeating equation, until it is perfect enough in God’s eyes to be allowed to continue on its
own at this higher level of perfection. Certainly our own deaths, and the deaths of those we love, are enough for us to contemplate given our limited
lifespans and ignorance of the eternal. We can only enjoy our lives and try to make things better for everyone around us and in the world as a
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a
child, I spake as a child. I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through
a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these
three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians, verses 9-13)
The possible cyclical nature of the universe is a very old idea. It is present in the Hindu Vedas in which space, time, and the multiverses are
cyclical and constantly in flux. The concept is also accepted by Buddhist Dharma. Certain Christian thinkers such as Origen Adamantius (c. 185-254)
looked into the idea as well. History tells us he was an Egyptian teaching at Alexandria. He was expelled for being ordained without the patriarch’s
permission. He moved to Caesarea Maritima and died there by torture during a persecution. He was one of the first important Christian intellectuals.
He followed Plato in his ideas about the perfection and immortality of souls and in the hints at a cyclical nature of the universe. The “fabulous
preexistence of souls” which are imprisoned within the mortal body and then purified by fire and reunited with God in a later cycle (“the
monstrous restoration which follows”) also remind us of Plato, and Origen’s views were declared anathema by the church in the sixth century.
Certain physicists are resurrecting the idea of the cyclical universe even now. Paul Steinhardt of Princeton and Neil Turok of Cambridge have recently
put forth the concept that there was a time before the big bang. In an article in Science they argue that the universe may be at least a trillion
years old. It may well be eternal, and as we have seen the Bible will agree in many respects with that point. When an equilibrium is reached between
the expansion of matter and “vacuum energy,” the end of a cycle of growth and collapse is reached and after a trillion years or so the universe
What is the religious person of the twenty-first century, not to mention the scientist, to think of this? Certainly we can agree with Origen, Plato,
Steinhardt and Turok on one thing: even with our limited understandings of “time, times, and halves of times,” we can more easily accept a
cyclical nature to life and to the universe than a finite one. People live and die, but the notion of a universe which simply ends is really hard for
anyone, even for God himself, to grasp.