Life of a Universe: Part 2: End of Days
The atheistic and Christian worldviews totally oppose every aspect of each other.
We present our response to Prof. Brian Cox’s second program Life of a Universe: Part 2: End of Days, shown in Australia on the ABC-TV Channel 2 on 14 March 2017, on 2 January 2018, and again on 10 June 2023.
In this program, Cox poses two very interesting questions:
- What is the fate of the universe?
- What will be our fate?
He then proceeds to discuss three different ideas put forward by different cosmologists on what they think will ultimately happen. He invokes the Second Law of Thermodynamics to establish that “on a global scale, across the universe, things can only get worse, things tend to get more disordered, things tend to decay away”. And he rightly says the idea that things can only get better “is a gross violation of the Second Law”.
This is rather curious on his part, because in his first TV program Life of a Universe Part 1: Creation, he totally disregarded the Second Law of Thermodynamics (that entropy or disorder always increases with time), in order to introduce the speculation that the origin of the universe could be pushed “back and back and back into the infinite past, so that we have an eternal universe” caused by “big bang after big bang after big bang, yielding universe after universe after universe”. In our response to that program we pointed out that all of this was repudiated by the Second Law, as big bang devotee Stephen Hawking acknowledged in his article The Beginning of Time [hawking.org.uk/the-beginning-of-time].
Cox’s first candidate for how our days will end is heat death. This doesn’t mean a hot death for the universe, but a very cold one. It is the theory that far into the future the universe will reach a state of having no usable energy available and so will no longer be able to sustain processes that perform work. All energy will be evenly distributed, the universe will have reached a state of maximum entropy (disorder), and the temperature everywhere in the universe will be a fraction above absolute zero.
This situation involves a huge problem for evolutionists. The Second law does indeed state that energy-wise the universe is heading ‘downhill’ towards a state of maximum disorder. But this means that the universe is going in the opposite direction to the ‘chaos-to-cosmos-all-by-itself’ required, if everything originated from a big bang. So where did all the immense order in the universe come from that has been steadily eroding? Who wound up the clock?
Cox tells viewers that heat death “begins with a decrease in the rate of star formation. … Stars form from collapsing clouds of gas and dust, and the leftover material forms into planets and moons and asteroids and comets. But in our part of the Milky Way this construction process is slowing down.”
For support, he enlists Prof. Naomi McClure-Griffiths (Astronomy & Astrophysics, Australian National Uni), who tells viewers: “… in order to keep forming stars you’ve got to keep bringing gas in from somewhere else. … Eventually we will run out of gas to form new stars in every single galaxy. And gradually, gradually, gradually, the universe will die away.”
Whoa! The idea that stars can form from gas is not proven, and is, in fact, a huge problem for the naturalistic theory of the universe, as admitted by evolutionary astrophysicist and big bang enthusiast Neil deGrasse Tyson, who has said:
“Not all gas clouds in the Milky Way can form stars at all times. More often than not, the cloud is confused about what to do next. Actually, astrophysicists are the confused ones here. We know the cloud wants to collapse under its own weight to make one or more stars. But rotation as well as turbulent motion within the cloud work against that fate. So, too, does the ordinary gas pressure you learned about in high-school chemistry class. Galactic magnetic fields also fight collapse: they penetrate the cloud and latch onto any free-roaming charged particles contained therein, restricting the ways in which the cloud will respond to its self-gravity. The scary part is that if none of us knew in advance that stars exist, front line research would offer plenty of convincing reasons for why stars could never form.”1
- Stars just don’t form naturally—‘dark matter’ the ‘god of the gaps’ is needed
- Giant molecular clouds: A look at uniformitarian assumptions in star formation
Moving on, viewers meet Prof. Brian Schmidt (Vice Chancellor Australian National Uni and Nobel Prize winner2) who introduces the concept of dark energy, which, he says: “makes gravity push rather than pull”.
Cox adds: “If the universe continues to expand forever and indeed continues to accelerate in its expansion, then in the far future you end up with a universe that’s just a sea of protons … and that sea of cooling protons will last forever. … The idea that there is a mysterious thing called dark energy, which drives the accelerating expansion of our universe forever, is the standard model of cosmology.”
So what is this ‘mysterious thing called dark energy’?
It can be described as an unknown form of energy which is hypothesized to permeate all of space, tending to accelerate the expansion of the universe. It supposedly comprises over 71% of the universe, but has never been identified or measured in any laboratory experiment. It is, in fact, a fudge factor, along with dark matter, dark radiation, and dark photons, needed to make the big bang theory ‘work’. The claimed anti-gravity properties are totally hypothetical.
- Dark energy and the elusive chameleon—more darkness from the dark side
- Claimed dark matter ‘find’ won’t help ‘big bang’ crisis
- Is ‘dark matter’ the ‘unknown God’?
- Dark radiation in big bang cosmology: keeping science in darkness
- ‘Dark photons’: another cosmic fudge factor
- Why look for a new theory of gravity if the big bang cosmology is correct?
As to all this being “the standard model of cosmology” as claimed, rather it is a construct in the minds of big bang cosmologists in which the big bang is assumed to be true and the various fudge factors, including dark energy, are inserted to cope with the many problems. In 2004, some 34 prominent scientists signed an “Open Letter to the Scientific Community” in which they denounced the big bang model.3,4 In the years since then it has been signed by hundreds more.
Phantom dark energy and the big rip
Cox then introduces his next alternative for the end of everything, stating: “There are, in fact, other, and I think, more exciting, possibilities. … Cosmologists have come up with an even more devastating idea called ‘phantom dark energy’, which eventually leads to the universe ripping itself apart.”
Prof. Brian Schmidt tells viewers: “If the universe has this dark energy, this stuff causes gravity to push from itself. So as the universe gets bigger, this stuff dominates the universe more and more, because it’s part of space itself. You make more space, you have more dark energy, which makes dark energy stronger over the other forms of gravity.”
And Dr Katie Mack (Theoretical astrophysicist, Uni of Melbourne) takes up the baton: “Over time, this phantom dark energy would start to pull apart bound orbits. So, first, it would pull apart the galaxy. Stars would start to wander off, because it’s still increasing. It’ll start to break up all structure, all matter. And then at some point, the entire universe will be torn asunder, in some sense. It’s called the ‘big rip’.”
As to corroboration of any of this, we suggest that the total non-existence of dark energy in laboratory physics is evidence for its fudge factor status. How much more so then for any hypothetical phantom variety of it, let alone it ‘ripping apart’ the universe.
Nevertheless, Cox goes one step further and uses the ‘big rip’ concept to introduce the subject of multiple universes, saying: “Inflation, that rapid expansion before the big bang, could be envisaged as being the end of a previous universe that’s undergoing a big rip.”
Prof. Brian Greene (Physics & Mathematics, Columbia Uni) adds: “You get this wonderful process of big bang after big bang after big bang, yielding universe after universe after universe.” And then by way of explanation he says: “Think of a big piece of Swiss cheese. Each of the openings is like a universe, and the cheese itself is the inflation field driving the accelerated expansion of the universe. As this cheese expands, more and more pockets open up inside, more and more universes are created. And our universe is simply one opening in the block of Swiss cheese. That’s all that we are.”
Viewers may wonder why Cox brings up his views on the past in a program about the future. This escalating emphasis on multiple universes in the TV science programs of our day is to circumvent the fact that our universe is fine-tuned for life and the best explanation for this is that God created it that way. To avoid this conclusion, evolutionists need to come up with their naturalistic explanation as to how all this fine tuning could have happened by chance. So they postulate that there are zillions of universes, and ours is just one in which all the factors for life came together coincidentally. And they do this repeatedly, as here.
Of course, many secular scientists (including big bang believers) disagree. One such is cosmologist Prof. Paul Davies (Arizona State Uni) who has said: “… invoking an infinity of unseen universes to explain the unusual features of the one we do see is just as ad hoc as invoking an unseen Creator. The multiverse theory may be dressed up in scientific language, but in essence it requires the same leap of faith.”5
For further comments on inflation, previous universes, and the multiverse concept, see our article Life of a Universe: Part 1 Creation. See also:
- Inflation—all in the dark
- The universe is finely tuned for life
- Multiverse theory—unknown theory or illogical raison d’être?
- Stephen Hawking and multiverses
Next, Dr Katie Mack says: “My favourite way to destroy the universe is vacuum decay” and chortles: “which is a really fun idea.” Cox goes on to say that in 2012, the Higgs boson was discovered at the Large Hadron Collider on the French-Swiss border and that its properties suggest that our universe could be in an unstable ‘false vacuum’ state. Mack: “There is some true vacuum somewhere, and we could maybe tunnel into it at any moment, and just destroy the universe.”
The glee with which Mack presents this and her lack of explanation for lay-viewers suggests it is more one-upmanship than serious science. Re their reference to the Higgs boson, see Has the ‘God particle’ been found?
Cox sums up the above ‘end of days’ options with the following advice: “Whether it’s vacuum decay, a big rip, or a sad, slow, heat death over 101000 years, now is the time to explore our universe, while it’s still visible to us. … The fascinating thing about the far future in an accelerating and expanding universe is that you get to a point where you can’t do cosmology any more. … You couldn’t deduce from what you see that you live in an expanding universe that had an origin at some point in the past.”
Finally, Cox asks four of his co-presenters how they think the universe will end. Here are their replies:
Prof. Brian Schmidt: “I have no idea.”
Prof. Brian Greene: “I don’t know.”
Prof. Joel Parker6: “I don’t know.”
Prof. Adam Reisse7: “It’s difficult to make predictions about the fate of the universe when there’s 95% we don’t understand.”
Reisse is presumably referring to the fact that evolutionist cosmologists hypothesize that the universe is made up of about 95% dark energy and dark matter, with only about 5% of the universe considered to be normal matter.
This much we do agree with, namely that to know what happened in the past you need the testimony of an eyewitness. This is why all alleged big bang postulates, such as those put forward by Cox in these two TV programs, are mere speculations. However, when it comes to what really happened in the beginning, we do have an eyewitness—God Himself—and His account of what He did, in Genesis 1. He has also told us what he intends to do in the future. We will now discuss this, but first a word about worldviews.
Atheists believe that at death the human body decomposes to become eventually nothing more than fertilizer.
A conflict of worldviews
Viewers (whatever their religion—whether Christianity, atheism,8 or other9) of the many evolutionary nature programs that appear on our TV screens with great frequency should be aware that the purpose of these programs is not to present unbiased science, but rather to persuade viewers to accept the producer’s worldview.
The foundation of the evolutionary worldview is belief in naturalism. I.e. that all the matter and energy in the billions of galaxies in the universe are the product of a big bang from which nothing made itself into everything that exists by means of a quantum fluctuation before there was any time or place for anything to quantum fluctuate in. Life on Earth began by chance and gradually diversified, and all life forms have evolved to their present state by means of random mutation and natural selection. Man is nothing more than a highly developed animal and so ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are arbitrary terms. God does not exist so there is no such thing as ‘sin’ and hence there will be no Last Judgment.
Christians believe that at death they enter into their inheritance as “heirs of God” (Romans 8: 16–17), and therefore are princes and princesses of the King of Kings forever.
The foundation of the Christian worldview is belief in God. This involves all that God tells us about Himself in the Bible. E.g. that God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13), is Creator (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16) and Sustainer of the universe, including our Earth. All life on Earth was created by God by means of His Word as stated in Genesis 1, and all human beings bear “the image of God” (Genesis 1:27; James 3:9). God determines what is right and what is wrong. We live under God’s rules, which every human being has broken (Romans 3:23), and one day God will call all mankind to give account of their lives to Him (Hebrews 9:27).10
It is obvious that these two worldviews are in conflict. Each totally opposes every aspect of the other. This means that we all need to choose which one we give our allegiance to. It also means that the content of these two worldviews cannot be mixed and matched. All attempts by well-meaning but ingenuous Christians to do so, such as by insinuating the big bang and evolution into Genesis 1 by means of the framework hypothesis or via any other form of theistic evolution, is contrary to the clearly stated Word of God.
- Is Genesis poetry/figurative, a theological argument (polemic) and thus not history?
- History and pseudo-history
- Creation Compromises: Framework Hypothesis
- Ten dangers of theistic evolution
The future according to God’s Word, the Bible
The Bible has much to say about future happenings, particularly in the book of Revelation, but not limited to that book. For our purpose in commenting on Brian Cox’s End of Days TV program, it is sufficient for us to mention two of these future events.
1. The re-creation of the earth
The Bible teaches that this earth was originally created perfect by God (Genesis 1:31), but it was subsequently cursed by God because of Adam’s sin of disobedience (Genesis 3:17). However, this situation will not continue forever; the earth is to be destroyed. The Apostle Peter writes:
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.” (2 Peter 3:10–13)
This however is not the end; the earth is to be renewed/recreated. Peter continues: “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:14; cf. Revelation 21:1)
In God’s sovereign purpose, there will be new heavens and a new earth, with a return to a sinless state in which there will be no sin or suffering of any kind. Believers will enter into and enjoy God’s presence for ever (Revelation 21:3–4), and their desires will be perfectly aligned with God’s will so that there will never be any possibility for sin or another Fall. For more on this subject, see: The new earth.
The most consequential future event for each and every one of us is that the Lord Jesus Christ will exercise His role as Judge of the world (Acts 17:30–31; Hebrews 9:27) after the general resurrection of the dead (John 5:28–29). This is good news, as well as bad!
Believers won’t be judged for their sins, because Christ has paid their penalty in full when he died on the Cross and rose again. For believers, there will be an assessment when “each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10–12) and Christians will receive the rewards appropriate for their stewardship of the gifts, talents, opportunities, and responsibilities each has had in this life (1 Corinthians 3:11–15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Theologian Dr Bruce Milne writes:
“God’s judgment means nothing less than the establishing of His just and joyous reign, the putting right of all that has gone wrong, and the liberation of all things from the usurping reign of evil. … And at the personal level for all the crushed and oppressed, the abused and exploited, the cheated and the victimized, God’s coming judgments mean nothing less than a glorious vindication and undreamed-of recompense, wholeness and peace (Galatians 6:7–9; Romans 12:17–19; Revelation 21:1–4).”11
There will however be a judgment of the unsaved dead (2 Timothy 4:1). Concerning this the Bible warns that the penalty for their sins will involve exclusion from God’s presence forever in Hell (Matthew 13:41–42; 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9; Revelation 20:11–15). The bad news is that we have all fallen short, not only of God’s rules for human behaviour, but also in our relationship to God Himself (Romans 3:23). God calls this failure ‘sin’, and He says that the penalty for sin is ‘death’ (Romans 6:23)—alienation from God in this life, and forever in the next.
“The Bible’s teaching here is quite unambiguous and of awesome seriousness. Those who remain unrepentant when confronted with God’s claim on them, who reject His will when it is made known to them, and who continue through their lives in the blasphemy and rebellion which sin implies, will face God’s just wrath.”
“No doubt some of the language used to describe Hell is necessarily symbolic, as is the language to describe Heaven. However, the fact that we are thrown back on symbols does not mean we can disregard or devalue them. They are God-given, and while they cannot tell us everything, they will not mislead us. There is no evading the Bible’s witness at this point. Hell is a reality of unspeakable solemnity (John 3:18–20, 36).”12
To those who might challenge the right of God to be their Judge, we reply that God’s role as Creator establishes His right to set His rules for how He wants us all to live, and it also establishes God’s right to judge us for how we obey Him.
- Is death a good thing or a bad thing?
- Curse and catastrophe
- Why did God impose the death penalty for sin?
- Could Adam have appealed the verdict?
Fortunately there is also good news—salvation—for all who are willing to receive it. When Jesus died on the Cross and rose again, He paid the full penalty for sin on our behalf (1 John 2:2), thereby making possible a free pardon for everybody (Hebrews 9:12–14; Romans 8:1). God’s Word, the Bible, tells us that God has stipulated that this free pardon is available to all who repent of their sin (Acts 3:19) and believe the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1, 3–4). This involves seeing ourselves as guilty sinners in need of forgiveness, asking God to forgive us, and receiving Jesus as our Saviour and Lord (John 1:12; Romans 10:9). When we do this, God forgives our sins (1 John 1:9), He imputes Christ’s righteousness to us (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9), and we are reconciled to God (Romans 5:1; 2 Corinthians 5:18).
- Good News!
- Is our ‘goodness’ good enough for God?
- How do people come into a right relationship with God?
Not subject to scientific experiment!
The Gospel can be experienced in the here and now by faith, but such things as Heaven, Hell, and the last Judgment cannot be either verified or invalidated in this life, e.g. by means of any scientific experiment. They all exist or occur in the dimensions of Eternity, which is not accessible to us in this life. Another way of saying this is that they are all beyond a boundary called an event horizon (i.e. a boundary in space-time beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer).
However, the fact that we cannot scrutinize these matters now does not mean they do not exist. Death is an event horizon through which we will all pass, and when we do, we will leave the space dimensions of this world, and enter the spiritual dimensions of the world of Eternity. The skeptics of this world will all be there—all no longer skeptical! For more on this concept, see The Gospel in time and space.
Viewers of these two TV programs, and readers of our two responses, are faced with a choice, like in the Bible when Joshua urged his compatriots: “Choose this day whom you will serve”. Our choice will affect not only how we live in this life, but also how and where we will spend Eternity. Choose well!
Re-featured on homepage: 13 June 2023
References and notes
- Tyson, N. deG., Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries, W.W. Norton & Company, p. 187, 2007. Return to text.
- Brian Schmidt shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics with Saul Perlmutter and Adam Riess for providing evidence that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. Return to text.
- Lerner, E., Bucking the big bang, New Scientist 182(2448):20, 22 May 2004. Return to text.
- Wieland, C., Secular scientists blast the big bang: What now for naïve apologetics? Creation 27(2):23–25, 2005. Return to text.
- Davies, P. A brief history of the multiverse, New York Times, 12 April 2003. Return to text.
- Southwest Research Institute. Return to text.
- Astronomy & Physics, John Hopkins Uni. Return to text.
- See Smartt, D., Atheism: a religion, creation.com/atheism-a-religion. Return to text.
- For a review of the world’s religious beliefs see Grigg, R., Mission not impossible: Changing the worldview of eastern mystics, Creation 29(3):38–42, 2007; creation.com/mission-not-impossible. Return to text.
- See John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2–3; Genesis 1:11, 20, 24, 26–27; Romans 3:23; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11–12. Return to text.
- Milne, B., Know the Truth, Intervarsity Press, p. 332, 1998. Return to text.
- Milne, B., Ref. 11, p. 335. Return to text.