“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Monday, January 19, 2009

Integrating Scientific and Biblical Eschatologies, Part 4: Elements of Continuity in the New Creation

The question then is,

“Could the degree of discontinuity necessary to deliver human and cosmic destiny from being a mere resuscitory revival, with its dismal implication of slavery to an eternal return, be compatible with the degree of continuity necessary to ensure that it is this person, or this world, whose fulfillment lies beyond the threatening fact of anticipated demise?” (Polkinghorne, “Eschatology” 39).
With a sovereign and wise God who created the universe knowing and planning its future, the answer must be ‘yes.’ If there is to be some measure of consistency between the old creation and the new, one would expect the foundational mathematical patterns of physics to remain the same. Robert John Russell has suggested that mathematics, physical symmetries, and conservation laws may be potential elements of continuity (Russell 112). One might allow for subtle variations, such as changes in the physical constants or parameters built into the initial conditions of the Big Bang. Perhaps more significant changes in the laws of physics would be necessary. It is at least conceivable that such changes might result in the undoing of the second law of thermodynamics and a new cosmological direction for physical reality, and it is conceivable that this could be accomplished without changes to the most foundational physical structures of the world.

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