As a follower of Jesus who accepts at face value his promise to return in John 14:1-3, it is fascinating to see that discussion of the End has been taken up in the respected journal Scientific American (September 2010). It includes a cluster of nine articles by top scientists with no significant reference to religious perspectives.
One article (p 82) provides risk analysis for the apocalypse:
- A 50/50 chance of a killer epidemic in the next 30 years and of runaway global warming in the next 200 years.
- A one in 20 chance of a solar superstorm entirely burning the surface of the earth in the next 15 years.
- A one in 30 chance of nuclear war in the next 15 years.
- A one in a million chance of a giant asteroid hitting the earth in the next 100 years.
- A one in 100 chance of a supervolcano in the next 1,000 years.
Another article tackles the question, Could time end? "Einstein's general theory of relativity predicts that time ends at moments called singularities, such as when matter reaches the center of a black hole or the universe collapses in a 'big crunch.' Yet the theory also predicts that singularities are physically impossible." (p 84) No one has traveled into a black hole to test the theory.
What does this mean for people of faith? There is nothing essentially unscientific about ideas concerning the End, although individual scenarios may not fit with current scientific knowledge. There is potentially even more debate between religious and scientific perspectives on the End as there has been about the Beginning. God has already staked his claim in this discussion; "I am the alpha and the omega."