The End of Cosmology?

In the March '08 issue of Scientific American is an article describing the future of our universe. First click on the scanned in image.

The authors say that future scientists will have little or no evidence for big bang cosmology. As the universe expands all other galaxies will disappear from view, and we'll be left with a single super galaxy. Cosmic microwave radiation will not be strong enough to conclude that a big bang occurred. Observations of the abundance of chemical elements like deuterium and helium (elements that were made by the Big bang) will not be of much help as hydrogen clouds disappear and as stars destroy deuterium.

They write: "we are led inexorably to a very strange conclusion. The window during which intelligent observers can deduce the true nature of our expanding universe might be very short indeed."

Fascinating stuff, science is, eh? But if this is the case then I have a few questions. Christian, are these scientists just wasting their time trying to figure out the future of our universe? I mean, if Jesus is supposed to return to planet earth then why bother with any of this? And when he comes doesn't 2 Peter 3:10 say "the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up"? How can this be the case since we must still be on planet earth when he returns, and if we are, then these scientists are dead wrong about the future. Christianity seems to be opposed to science here, and you must choose between them. But let's say 2 Peter is a metaphor and the universe won't actually end that way at Jesus' return. Then after he returns and consummates creation with the final judgment will he just let the universe run its course along these lines?...that it took billions of years to get here for us, and will subsequently have billions of years to run its course, with human beings existing in it for a very tiny fraction of its whole existence?

One thing seems clear to me about this scenario, though. As long as there is intelligent life there will be religion, for religion is the attempt to explain the mysterious. As the evidence for a Big Bang disappears from the horizon scientists will not be able to effectively counter the claims that there is a God who made it.

First published April 8, 2008