First off, let me be clear: When I say the ‘death of stars,’ I’m talking about celestial fusion reactors that shine in the sky, not modern celebrities that smile or frown on supermarket tabloids. Though the words ‘celestial’ and ‘celebrity’ would seem to have a common root (they don’t) and though the rise and fall of the famous have some fascinating spiritual applications, the subject of the all-too-flawed and only-mortal celebrities among us is for another blog.
It is the inevitable demise of the great stars, even to our own Sun, that set me to thinking about the subject of our Universe’s preoccupation with death. If you’re still game after that jovial sentence, here are three observations I made:
1. Nothing Gets Out of This Universe Alive
Astrophysicists tell us every star, no matter its size, will come to an end. The little to medium ones, like the Sun, will have a good, stable run before they burn though their fuel, expand, and then eventually collapse into Earth-size diamonds called white dwarfs. The larger ones, like red Betelgeuse or blue Rigel, blaze in glory for a few eons only to explode in extremely violent ways before turning into renegade black holes.
Whatever fate, no star is eternal.
Neither is the Universe forever.
Scientists have already postulated a beginning to the Universe: the Big Bang. Now they theorize on its end, either a Big Crunch where gravity overwhelms all or a Big Freeze where Dark Energy (no, this has nothing to do with Darth Vader) keeps the Universe expanding at an accelerated pace as it’s doing now.
In the Big Crunch, all ends back up as a singularity. Oo, the squeeze!
In the Big Freeze, the galaxies fly further and further apart, the stars lose their umph, and all whimpers out cold and alone. Wow… cheery.
None of this should surprise anyone reading the Scriptures. That Book told us of the Big Bang in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Now that’s a Big Bang!
Look at Hebrews 11:3 for an even more spine-tingling account: “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
Cool. God, the first quantum physicist.
Then there’s the end of Earth and Universe in II Peter 3:10. “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which 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.” Yikes! But that’s what the scientists say, too.
The thoughts about the Cosmos of a first-century fisherman with limited knowledge still hold water in our day. Everything will be gone, Andromeda Galaxy, Orion’s Belt, Saturn, the Pacific Ocean, the Pyramids, the Eiffel Tower, even Disney World.
2. If You Want to Live Forever, You’ve Got to Leave This Dimension
Since the stars won’t survive, neither will you.
What if medical science prolonged life toward infinity? What if a person could live for millennia, like in Doctor Who when Captain Jack becomes the Face of Boe? (Whoops… spoilers!)
Even if, the Universe will continue to grind away, and eventually we’d fade, too. As the Scriptures say, dust to dust. Let’s update that a tad to stardust to stardust. (By the way, that’s all we are anyway, stardust. How cool and frightening is that?)
So why are we humans so enamored with life anyway if the Universe is set up for death?
But we are, and that’s how it is.
This should surprise us when we come at it in a scientific way, because we as animals of our world should be able to adapt to our eventual demise. But we haven’t. And it’s not just survival to propagate the species. Eternity is set within our hearts as it says in Ecclesiastes 3:11.
It’s no good avoiding the inevitable. You’re going to die. I’m going to die. Tramp, tramp, tramp comes the Reaper. The Scriptures tell us the obvious in Hebrews 9:27. “… it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” (Though we don’t much like that judgment thing. But that also is another subject.)
Everything will disintegrate.
This stands as a fact of science and theology. “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” II Corinthians 5:18. Whatever can be touched or measured or observed is temporary. No hope here.
It becomes obvious that to live forever, one has to get out of this Universe and into another.
3. The Way Out Has to Be Revealed from Without
Of course, we don’t know of anything beyond this here Universe. How would one get out if there was even anything else to get out to? There’s nothing from this Universe that can tell you. Otherwise it would be part of our same Universe and subject to decay.
I might have lost you to disbelief or giggles by now or way before, but if there is nothing else except this Universe, death and doom swallows up even hope, which becomes a meaningless concept anyway. So, please stay with me or else lapse into the madness that awaits sentient consciousness at the loss of all hope.
Back to the subject at hand: We have to look beyond here. We’re trapped in time and space. We need a signpost. But what? Something or someone who is both of this Universe and not of it at the same time. (Stick with me.) That thing or person would need to be of this Universe in order to interact with us. But that thing or person would need to have one foot, so to speak, in another Place in order to escape the death here.
Wait! This sounds fishily like Jesus. (You saw that coming, did you?) He had the audacity to say He was not of this world. “… you are of this world, I am not of this world.” John 8:23.
Yeah, but there’s others who say the same. They’re mostly institutionalized. We could write this Jesus off as a lunatic except for one enigma: His resurrection.
What, you say? That old rumor?
Well, that rumor had witnesses, over 500. “After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time…” I Corinthians 15:6.
You know, a resurrection from the dead will pretty well confirm whatever you’ve said about yourself. “…declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead…” Romans 1:4.
Here’s our way out. A Dude passes through death and conquers it, then shares this with us mortal, sentient beings. “Since then the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is , the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” Hebrews 2:14-15.
Jesus after His resurrection was still physical but of a different kind, a different sphere altogether. Look at Luke 24:36-39. “And while they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst. But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.’”
You could laugh and ask if He ascended up into space. No, I don’t think so. He left for another dimension with new physical and spiritual properties, new laws based on new physics.
You don’t have to believe one theologian’s dogma against a physicist’s science or a church against a college. You simply believe there’s more to reality than any of us can possibly ever know or discover. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6
Bah, you say.
Well… come up with anything else that gives you the slightest hope or face your eventual doom along with the rest of the Universe.