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Today’s question: From the perspective of atoms, what is the end of the universe?
Very interesting question. Atom is a wonder of creation. One of the most fascinating things in our nature is the existence of a highly organized atom. Our universe is made up of atoms. Our bodies are made up of atoms. Every physical object around is made up of atoms. Greek philosophers such as Democritus and Leucippus speculated about the existence of atoms. But for millennia, atoms remained mysterious and enigmatic.
But in the modern age, scientists have proved the existence of atoms. Today using STM – Scanning Tunneling Microscopes – you can see individual atoms. I think that is amazing. We understood the structure of atoms. We realized the power of atoms. New elements were discovered. Periodic table was constructed. New materials were created – from chocolates and ice creams to super planes, supercomputers and spacecraft. If we look at a chemical reaction, we should see the stunning precision of atoms as they interact with each other. Atomic clocks were built to measure time with amazing accuracy. Global wireless networks like 5G became possible because of the revolutions in atomic science and thermodynamics. Atomic energy now supplies electricity to millions of homes. Nuclear submarines depend exclusively on the power from atoms. Computer chips and transistors are built on atoms. Quantum entanglement and quantum computers are being developed based on atomic functions.
Atomic technology also revolutionized healthcare. I order MRI scan for my patients. One day I went to see the machine. It uses powerful magnets to produce a strong magnetic field that forces protons in the body to align with that field. It takes beautiful images of our organs using this atomic technology. Based on the atomic reactions inside living cells, new medications are being created and new vaccines are being created. On the other hand, atoms also scare us. Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl, Fukushima, Three Mile Island – those names remind us of the destructive power of atoms.
At the conclusion of the Second World War, nuclear weapons were dropped over Japanese cities – Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thousands of people were incinerated into smoke within a few minutes. Millions more were affected by the radioactive debris in their neighborhoods. Just a few days ago, China tested a hypersonic nuclear missile that can travel at five times the speed of sound. These nuclear missiles can enter into outer space and then can attack any destination on the earth. They are thousands of times more powerful than the ones dropped on Japan.
We are seeing a new cold war between the United States and China. Both countries will sharpen their nuclear weapons in the coming years. Whoever can control the atom will control the future of the world. God gave mind-blowing capacity to human beings to understand the structure of atoms and put its energy for their uses. But man has failed in doing God’s will on this earth, and God is going to act. First, let us look at the fascinating journey of great scientists in their understanding of atoms and their structure.
We should start with Sir Isaac Newton. He realized the power of mathematics in understanding our world. He invented calculus. From a mathematical viewpoint, Newton predicted the existence of atoms. He became the professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, England. He wanted to thoroughly examine the relationship between physics and mathematics. His greatest work was titled the Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. In this masterpiece, he laid out the mathematical foundation of the natural world. Then comes Joseph Priestly (1733 – 1804). Like Newton, Priestly believed that God created our observed world and by examining it and studying it rationally we can understand the nature of reality.
He was a minister and a scientist. Who said science and religion are enemies? While studying the Bible on one hand, Priestly discovered oxygen on the other hand. His laborious experiments led to the discovery of oxygen.His discovery of oxygen unleashed a chemical revolution in science which facilitated the discovery of atoms.
Then comes John Dalton(1766 – 1844), an English chemist. Born into a Quaker family, he was also a dissenter like Priestley. He noticed some mathematical regularities in how chemical compounds are formed. He formulated the law of multiple proportions based on his observations. Let me give you an example.
-100 grams of tin combined with 13.5 grams of oxygen formed tin oxide
-100 grams of tin combined with 27 grams of oxygen formed tin dioxide
13.5/27, that is the ratio of one to two.
Oxygen as it bonds with tin is following a fixed ratio. There must be discrete units of oxygen to make this possible. Nature is using simple ratios of counting numbers. Dalton thought, maybe elements are made up of countable bits. He formulated his atomic theory of matter based on this thinking. Remember how it all started: observing mathematical regularities in chemical reactions.
Then comes Robert Brown (1773 – 1858). He was a Scottish botanist. He was spending a lot of time around his microscope, studying plants, flowers and their tiny parts. In 1827, he found something interesting while looking through his microscope. Minute particles from the grains of pollen of a plant were making jittery motion in water. It is called Brownian motion. It was observed also in gases like motes in sunlight. For the next 78 years, nobody was able to explain this curious, seemingly erratic motion of tiny particles suspended in a fluid or in a gas. It fell on Einstein to explain the Brownian motion.
Before we talk about Einstein, we should look at another grear scientist named James Clerk Maxwell (1831 – 1879). His mathematics not only took us in the direction of the reality of atoms but also helped us know what is inside the atom. Maxwell was born in Edinburgh on the 13th of June 1831. His mother encouraged him to “look up through Nature to Nature’s God”. She advised him to memorize the Bible. From his childhood, he knew the Bible by heart. At eight years of age, Maxwell could repeat the whole of the 119th Psalm. Imagine that folks. At eight years of age, he memorized the longest chapter of the Bible.
I thought Maxwell was another run of the mill physicist. But when I went over some of the books on the history of science, I realized the scientific revolution he brought up in our world. In the 1860s, Maxwell had a series of papers designed to show that matter consisted of what he called molecules. His equations led to the discovery of radio waves. They predicted the speed of light.
Historian Basil Mahon explains the importance of James Clerk Maxwell in his book, The Man Who Changed Everything,
“The influence of James Clerk Maxwell runs all through our daily lives. His electromagnetic waves bring us radio and television and provide the radar that makes safe air travel possible. Colour television works on the three-colour principle that he demonstrated. Pilots fly aircraft by control systems which derive from his work. Many of our bridges and other structures were designed using his reciprocal diagrams and photoelastic techniques.
Even more significant is his influence on the whole development of physical science. He started a revolution in the way physicists look at the world. It was he who began to think that the objects and forces that we see and feel may be merely our limited perception of an underlying reality which is inaccessible to our senses but may be described mathematically.
He was the first to use field equations to represent physical processes; they are now the standard form used by physicists to model what goes on in the vastness of space and inside atoms. He was also the first to use statistical methods to describe processes involving many particles, another technique which is now standard. He predicted, correctly, that light was a wholly electromagnetic phenomenon and that its speed was simply the ratio between the electromagnetic and electrostatic units of charge. His equations of the electromagnetic field were the chief inspiration for Einstein’s special theory of relativity and, along with his kinetic theory of gases, played a part in Planck’s discovery of the quantum of energy.”
So, you can see the tremendous influence of Maxwell on our world. If the 18th century belongs to Newton and the 20th century belongs to Einstein, the 19th century must belong to Maxwell. Maxwell would unleash a world led by triumph of abstract mathematics. His mathematics not only took us closer to the reality of the atoms, but also made more delightful endeavors become possible. You can peer inside the atoms.
Then comes Albert Einstein. Einstein admired Maxwell so much that he placed a photograph of Maxwell on his study wall. Robert Brown and James Maxwell – the fruits of their work had come to ripen in the hands of Einstein. In 1905 he published a paper in which he showed that Brownian motion was caused by the minute particles being hit by water molecules.
Note the year: 1905. It is called Einstein’s Miraculous Year, because that year he published five great papers that changed the face of physics. Explaining the Brownian motion, Einstein convinced many physicists of the existence of atoms. In 1913, French physicist Jean Perrin did experiments and proved the accuracy of Einstein’s predictions. He won a Nobel Prize for proving the existence of atoms.
The 20th century witnessed more stunning developments in our journey to understand the atom: the discovery of electrons, of protons, of neutrons, even subatomic particles like quarks, leptons and muons. Scientists like J.J.Thompson, Ernest Rutherford, Niels Bohr, Paul Dirac, Werner Heisenberg, Erwin Schrodinger changed the face of atomic theory of matter. Quantum theory successfully predicted the properties of atoms, subatomic particles and their forces. Now we are talking about what is inside protons and neutrons. In 1989, scientists at IBM took individual xenon atoms and arranged them to spell out the company’s name. Looking through a microscope, now you can see the beauty of an individual atom that evaded human curiosity for millennia.
Mathematics of atoms also paved the way to understand the universe at large. When you look at a galaxy, you will see millions of stars. Their gravitational interactions can be mind boggling. A mathematical analysis of those interactions led to the prediction of dark matter. Once again, we will see the amazing power of Maxwell’s equations. We came to know more shocking facts about nature: Atoms make up only about 5% of the cosmos. The remainder is made up of dark matter and dark energy.
This fascinating journey to understand the structure of atom reveals the beauty of God’s creation even in the minutest things of nature. What is the future of atoms? How will this universe end? Secular scientists say that ultimately the universe will die in coldness as entropy increases under the second law of thermodynamics. But the Bible says otherwise. It is going to be an atomic explosion this universe has never experienced before. Let us read a few verses from 2 Peter chapter 3.
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness
2 Peter 3
What a sobering announcement! Every one should stop and think about these words. This is about the end of this universe. End of human history. End of everything.
Time, Space, and Atoms (Matter)
God brought all three into existence as we read in Genesis chapter 1. God integrated all three into the fabric of our universe. And one day in the future, God will destroy all of them together.
First, time. See verse 8. one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
For God, one day is like a thousand years. Thousand years are like one day. God looks at time differently than us. In God’s eye, thousand years are like one day.
Adam lived 6 days ago.
Abraham lived 4 days ago.
David lived 3 days ago.
Lord Jesus Christ lived 2 days ago
Martin Luther lived just a few hours ago.
Charles Spurgeon lived just a few minutes ago.
God looks at time differently than us. It is hard for me not to think about
Einstein when I read these Bible verses. Einstein was Jewish. He knew the Old Testament. Professor Steven Gimbel wrote an excellent book on Einstein titled Einstein’s Jewish Science. He describes the influence of Judaism on Einstein. Jews always believed that time is not absolute. It is relative. They got it from Psalm 90.
For a thousand years in thy
sight but as yesterday
when it is past and as
a watch in the night.
Let us continue to verse 10.
But the day of the Lord will come
as a thief in the night
2 Peter 3:10
The Day of the Lord. That is the most dreadful day in the history of the universe.
It is the judgment day of God.
It is the last day of human history.
It is the last day for our planet
It is the last day for our universe.
Time will end on that day. Every one of us will enter into eternity.
“the heavens shall pass away with a great noise” 2 Peter 3:10
the heavens means space. The space will come to an end with a great noise.
Then, thirdly the atom
“and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up”
2 Peter 3:10
the elements shall melt.
In Greek, apostle Peter used the word
‘stoicheia’ for the elements.
Stoicheia kausoumena teketai
stoicheia means things arranged in a row.
Look through a scanning tunneling microscope. How do atoms appear? They appear in rows. So, stoicheia means atoms. On that day, every atom will melt. On God’s Day of Judgement, that is how this universe will end.
How can you escape that Day of judgment?
You must be saved.
You must be saved by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
You should realize that you are a sinner who deserves eternal hell.
But God in his mercy provided a way of escape. That is the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ.
So, today come to cross, confess your sins and accept Jesus into your life as your personal Savior and Lord. So, that is my answer to your question. How will this universe end?
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