The Future of the Universe according to the Quran and Science

The Future of the Universe


While the scientific data on the fate of the universe are derived from piecemeal experiments and observations by modern scientists, the Qur’anic description of the fate of the universe can be worked out from its account of the events that will take place before the day of resurrection. These descriptions of the events before the end of the universe are scattered over many chapters and verses in the Qur’an. The following verse indicates that the universe, including the earth, has an appointed term for
existence:

We created not the heavens and the earth and all between them but for just
ends, and for a term appointed . . .” (Qur’an 46:3)

According to one view of science, in a few billions of years from now, the recession of the neighboring galactic systems will cease, and the process will start to reverse and end in the big crunch. Based upon astronomical calculations, after the big bang the galaxies began to recede. Author and
physicist Paul Davies states that according to the big bang–big crunch scenario, towards the end of the universe “the universe will not remain static, but will start contracting…Galaxies that are now receding from one another will start to approach instead.”

The Qur’an also states that the receding galaxies would reverse their current courses. In the eighty-first Chapter of the Qur’an titled Coiling Up[of the universe], the receding galaxies would reverse their courses before the end of the universe:

“So, I call to witness the stars that recede.” (Qur’an 81:15)

Likewise, as the result of the final “rolling up” of the universe, astronomers would see the stars advancing (blue shift) toward them rather than receding (red shift), as they see today. The Qur’anic use of the phrase “receding stars” in the verse signals the expanding universe that was discussed earlier. Before the final collapse even begins, astronomers believe that under the combined influence of hydrogen fusion on the solar surface and the high temperature helium fusion in its interior, the exterior of the sun will expand and cool. This cooling of the sun may be what the Qur’an alludes to in a verse from the chapter, Coiling Up [of the universe]:

“When the Sun shall be darkened.” (Qur’an
81:1)

The sun will become a red giant star. When the sun enlarges it will swallow
planets Mercury and Venus, and probably also Earth. The following verse seems to describe the “ruddy and bloated” sun:

“Upon the day when heaven shall be as molten copper.” (Qur’an 70:8)

The Qur’an speaks of a merger between the moon and the sun
during the last days of the universe:

“And the sun and moon are united.”(Qur’an
75:9)

It does not mention other planets of the solar system because the common
Arabic language at the time of revelation did not include the words Mercury and Venus. However, all Arabs definitely knew of the moon. The sun gradually becomes red and its overwhelming heat melts Arctic and Antarctic ice, resulting in coastal flooding throughout the world. Similarly, the Qur’an states that the last days of the universe will be heralded by rising water levels in the oceans and by flooding along the coasts:

“[On the Last Day] And the ocean filled with swell.” (Qur’an 52:6)

The Arabic verb sajarain the text of this verse means, “to fill.” According to current cosmology, flooding of the continental coasts is the result of the “filling” of the ocean due to the melting ice of the poles. Science points out that as the collapse continues, the soaring ocean temperature will lift clouds of steam into the air. Finally, the unforgiving extreme heat from the sun
will make the oceans boil. In the chapter, Coiling Up, the Qur’an seems to be ahead of its time in warning us about the last days of the universe

“When the sea shall be set boiling.” (Qur’an 81:6)

According to Paul Davies, well-known author and physicist,
during the collapse of the universe “observers would no longer be able to discern individual galaxies for these would now have begun to merge with each other as intergalactic space closes up.” What Paul Davies states is similar to the Qur’anic revelation that the observable shining points in the sky will decrease during the merger of the galaxies such that the sky appears empty:

[On the Last Day] “when the sky stripped bare.” (Qur’an 81:11)

According to the big bang–big crunch scenario, as the
end of the current universe approaches, initially the galaxies, and then the stars will collapse and merge into each other until it becomes a cataclysmic inferno. The continuing collapse of the universe will result in a singularity identical to where our universe originally began. The Qur’an, in the following verses, seems to narrate the events of the last days of the universe, like a modern astronomer describing the events
of the vanishing universe:

“The day the heaven shall be rent asunder with the clouds.”
(Qur’an 25:25)

The “clouds” may be those originating from the boiling ocean.

“And [on the day] the earth is moved, and its mountains and they are crushed to powder at one stroke.” (Qur’an 69:14)

“When the sky cleft asunder, when the stars are
scattered.” (Qur’an 82: 1–2)

“When the stars fall, losing their luster.” (Qur’an 81:
2)

“When the sky is rent asunder and it becomes red like ointment.” (Qur’an
55:37)

“It will be no more than a single blast.” (Qur’an 36:53)

The events that the Qur’an describes seem to fit the formation of black dwarfs supernovae, and the final event of the universe collapsing into singularity. What happens after the big crunch?

When the collapse of the universe is complete, all the matter in the universe will be compressed into a single point. At this point of infinite space-time curvature, every atom and every particle in our universe will be crushed out of existence. This point
becomes a state of singularity—a single point of space and time, where density and temperature become infinite and theories of science become invalid. One might speculate that there would be new laws that worked in singularities, but, according to Stephen Hawking, it would be highly problematic even to formulate such laws at such unruly points, and our observations would not help us to define what those laws might
be. Whether the universe will rise again phoenix-like from the singularity is not known. Should the universe rise again, Carl Sagan asked, what would be the nature and properties of the new universe?

Would the laws of physics and chemistry that would
govern the new universe be different? In the universe that springs out of the big crunch, would there be stars and galaxies, or something quite different? The following Qur’anic verse seems to introduce, in the layman’s language of the Arab, our current scientific prediction of the coming big crunch, and answers the above questions:

The day when We shall roll up the heaven as a scroll is rolled for writings; as We originated first creation, so We shall bring it back again—a promise binding on Us; So We shall do.(Qur’an 21:104)

The literal meaning of this verse above suggests a new universe will
spring out of the singularity. Similarly, the following Qur’anic verse could be the answer to Carl Sagan’s questions:

On the day when earth is changed into different earth and heavens into new heavens, Mankind shall stand before God, the One, who conquers all.
(Qur’an 14:48)

The verse suggests that, after the big crunch, the newly created
universe will be based on new laws of physics and chemistry and may be based on different mathematics. Two plus two may not become four. The new universe of the Hereafter would not have our current time-space relationship as suggested by the following verses:

The day [The Day of judgment] these people see seems to them as
though they had stayed [in the world or in the state of death] only for an afternoon of a day or its forenoon. (Qur’an 79:46)

On the Day when He shall gather them [unto Himself, it will seem to them] as if they had not tarried [on earth] longer than an hour of a day, knowing one another; [and] lost indeed will be they who [in their lifetime]
considered it a lie that they were destined to meet God, and [thus] failed to find the right way. (Qur’an 10:45)

In summary, we find much agreement between Qur’anic
revelation and scientific discoveries about the origin and some of the theories about the fate of our current universe. Both maintain that the universe originated from nothing and evolved into its present state over a long period of earthbound time. They agree that the universe is expanding and that at some remote future, it will collapse into a single entity or singularity where existing physical and chemical laws become
nonexistent, mathematics would not add up, and numbers become infinite. Not only the Qur’an but also some scientists believe in the rise of a new universe. The big bang–big crunch scenario has been seriously questioned lately by astronomers who have observed an acceleration of the expansion of the universe. They claim that as the universe expands, it will freeze into the heat death. The amount of matter and energy contained in the universe determines whether the universe is going to freeze to death or collapse to become the big crunch. Dark energy currently accounts for almost threequarters of the total mass-energy of the universe. Similarly, dark matter accounts for the vast majority of mass in the observable universe. It cannot be observed and cannot be weighed. We know almost nothing of the physics of dark energy and the chemistry of dark matter. Therefore, the final scientific verdict on the theories of the heat death or the big crunch is yet to be made. Moreover, the observation of the increased acceleration of the expansion of the universe does not preclude some other as yet unknown attracting forces coming to bear on the accelerating universe, reversing the expansion, and ending in the big crunch.

References:


Wynn Sr., Charles M.. And God said, “Let there be evolution!” (p. 132 – 136). All Things That Matter Press. Kindle Edition.

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