I am a Christian. I believe in the God of the Bible, in God the Father, in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit. I believe in Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (NIV)" I am a biochemist and a pharmacist by education. As such I have a desire to understand nature. I am writing this blog as my way to express the facts of true science as I understand them, from the perspective of one who believes that all things were created by God, for God and for His purposes.

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Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Bible Scientific - Hebrews 1:10-12

"The Bible Scientific" is my current blog series. Each post will examine a verse or two directly from Scripture and try to explain that Biblical quote from a scientific perspective.

It is often stated that the Bible and Science are not compatible, that the Bible is not a scientific text and that you can not believe the Bible and also believe science. I think this is short sighted as there are a number of places in Scripture where scientific facts were stated even before man understood them. The Bible is not a scientific text in that it is not meant to be the full explanation of scientific fact, but it does direct us to understand the nature of God scientifically as well as spiritually. It complements science. God uses His Word to help us understand Him and His creation with our mind, soul and spirit.

Galileo Galilei said:

"The prohibition of science would be contrary to the Bible, which in hundreds of places teaches us how the greatness and the glory of God shine forth marvelously in all His works, and is to be read above all in the open book of the heavens."


Today we will examine Hebrews 1:10-12:

Hebrews 1:10-12 (NIV) - He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. 11They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. 12You will roll them up like a robe; like a garment they will be changed. But you remain the same, and your years will never end.”

Each verse points to one part of a bigger theme, that the universe is temporary but God is eternal. The first two verses reference scientific thought - the Big Bang and the death of the universe. We looked at the Big Bang when discussing Genesis 1:1. This is the current scientific theory for the formation of the universe.

The end of the universe is not so well defined scientifically.

There is scientific support for a number of possibilities. The Big Crunch - a Big Bang in reverse - is one such scenario. It requires the mass of the universe and gravity to be just so, such that the expansion of the universe stops and everything collapses back on itself. Similar to this is the Big Bounce where the universe expands from the Big Crunch and a new universe is formed, possibly repeating endlessly.

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of your hands.
They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded.
But you remain the same, and your years will never end. - Psalm 102:25-27

Current science suggests a universe that is flat and infinite - it goes on expanding forever. This possibility eliminates the Big Crunch/Big Bounce. We discussed this in the last blog (Psalm 104:2). If this is true, then the universe will not just fall back on itself but will continue to expand forever. At some point it will reach a state of maximum entropy, a heat death, with the universe cooling to approach equilibrium at a very low temperature over a very long time period.

Essentially the universe will "wear out" (as mentioned in verse 11) and approach a state where all energy is evenly distributed. The mechanical movement of the universe will run down as work is converted to heat because of the second law of thermodynamics. This heat death of the universe is a possible fate in which the universe has evolved to a state of no thermodynamic free energy and therefore can no longer sustain processes that increase entropy.

Image courtesy of NASA/STScI/Ann Feild.

In this case the stars will all burn up and out, life will be impossible and the physical structure of the universe will become a soup of elemental particles. Much like wearing out like a garment!

Verse 12 also seems to mention these possibilities - the rolling up of the universe and the changing of the universe like the changing of a garment. This implies that God could create a new universe. But the main point in verse 12 is that God will always exist and is unchanging. This is inherent in His nature. And although this cannot be proved/tested scientifically, it is required as part of who God is.

The Bible teaches that someday this universe will come to an end and be replaced by a “new heavens and a new earth.” Science is now learning that at some future time, the stars will all burn out and the universe will end. For the earth and the sun, that has been calculated to be about 2 billion years from now. But life as we know it will cease much sooner than that as the sun expands to become a Red Giant star, engulfing the earth within in it.

We will look to Isaiah next:

Isaiah 40:22 (NIV) - He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.