The Big Crunch and the Bible

by Max Andrews

The universe was created 13.73 billion years ago.  At about 10-44 seconds after the big bang inflation kicked in and underwent a period of rapid inflation (expansion, this inflation force is thought to be dark energy depicted in Einstein’s lambda term (the cosmological constant) in the right hand side of his field equation describing the energy momentum of the universe.) The cosmological constant is a characteristic of the spacetime fabric of the universe related to its stretching energy (space energy density—commonly referred to as dark energy).  The more the universe expends, the greater this stretching energy becomes.[1]  When the spacetime fabric stretches, the bodies of masses, such as galaxies, move farther apart by the stretching of space.  The cosmological constant is in effect a pulling property that works against gravity.  Since creation, the cosmological constant’s effect has been increasing.  Initial expectations were for the expansion to slow down and for the universe to collapse back in on itself.  For instance, when a ball is tossed in the air its speed slows down and the ball falls to the ground.  If the cosmological constant were applicable on the scale of tossing a ball in the air the ball would not slow down and return to the ground, it would actually increase in speed and move farther away from where it was tossed.  This immediately leads to questions concerning the end of the universe.  Either way, gravity contracts back in on itself or dark energy expands the universe to equilibrium (due to the cosmological constant’s effect), the universe is condemned to eventual futility.  The advent of relativity theory and its application to cosmology altered the shape of the eschatological scenario on the basis of the second law of thermodynamics.  It seemed as though cosmology had a similar prediction as the Bible’s prophecy concerning the end of the universe.  According to the New Testament, this universe will end in a roar and the elements will be destroyed in intense heat (2 Pt. 3:10) and according to the Old Testament prophet Isaiah, the cosmos will be rolled up like a scroll (Is. 34:4).  If the value of the cosmological constant’s value is less than 1 then the universe may collapse back in on itself in a heat death.  If the constant is greater than 1 it may expand without end.[2]  If the constant is fitting with the description of a heat death scenario then the physical sciences and biblical prophecy have congruent predictions for the future of the universe.  If the universe is going to expand forever, which seems to be the general position of contemporary cosmologists, then this makes for an interesting task for the scientific theologians.  In essence, after the big crunch the universe is still something, it doesn’t go out of existence. There are two versions of the ekpyrotic model (oscillating model), the isotropic and anisotropic models. The isotropic has a universe out of control, seemingly, and the anisotropic is very uniform in behavior. What seems to occur after the crunch is that the antigravity, cosmological constant, inverts the universe, ever so briefly, prior to re-expansion. Just like the energy of a rubber band increases when stretched out with the tendency to snap back in on itself so does the antigravity function this way.

[1] To give an illustration, the more a rubber band stretches the more the rubber band wants to snap back to release the tension.

[2] If the value is less than 1 the geometry of the universe is hyperbolic (saddle-shaped).  If the value is precisely 1 then the universe is flat.  With a value greater than 1 the universe is spherical.

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