According to a recent release from the prestigious HubbleSite, "Scientists have found that an unexplained force is changing our universe, forcing galaxies farther and farther apart, stretching the very fabric of space faster and faster. If unchecked, this mystery force could be the death of our universe, tearing even its atoms apart."
What is dark energy?
Ten years ago, astronomers made the stunning discovery that the universe is expanding at a faster rate than previously anticipated, based on the amount of matter the cosmos contains. More recent observations indicate that this mysterious force is also affecting members of the Milky Way's local group of galaxies.
Scientists refer to the driving force behind this unexpected acceleration as dark energy. Simply put, dark energy exerts a force that is opposite of gravity, pulling apart and expanding rather than drawing together.
HubbleSite further explains, "Since space is everywhere, this dark energy force is everywhere, and its effects increase as space expands. In contrast, gravity's force is stronger when things are close together and weaker when they are far apart. Because gravity is weakening with the expansion of space, dark energy now makes up over 2/3 of all the energy in the universe."
Many scientists now consider dark energy as the most likely cause of destroying the universe by tearing it apart, and have coined the term "the Big Rip." Yet HubbleSite admits, "We have no firm idea about what makes up 74% of the universe." But it concludes, "The universe still has at least a few tens of billions of years left—which leaves us plenty of time to look for the answers."
A more dangerous form of dark energy
However, the Bible reveals that another form of invisible dark energy poses a more immediate threat. That threat is from Satan the Devil and his demons. The apostle Paul refers to them as "the rulers of the darkness of this age" and "spiritual hostsof wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). Satan is also described as "the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon" (Revelation 9:11)—meaning "destruction" and "destroyer."
God has plans for dealing with Satan and his demons. Appropriately, their fate is to be cast into the restraint of everlasting darkness (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 1:6).
But in the meantime mankind, under the unseen influence of this evil power, is rapidly being drawn farther and farther away from God and toward inevitable universal devastation and annihilation. Thankfully, God promises to intervene to prevent mankind from these catastrophic consequences (Matthew 24:21-22), but not before the world is plunged into literal darkness and cosmic chaos (Matthew 24:29; Acts 2:20; Revelation 8:12, 9:2, 16:10).
How the earth will be destroyed
As for the physical universe, the Bible reveals that it will ultimately be destroyed and how. "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up" (2 Peter 3:10).
Peter therefore admonishes all of us to consider our conduct in view of this impending universal destruction. "Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of personsought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?" (2 Peter 3:11-12).
How you can avoid the threat of destruction
Only God can deliver us from this universal cataclysm. For those who believe and obey Him, Paul writes, "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed usinto the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Colossians 1:13).
The hope of all mankind and the focus of God's people is to, "according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:13).
You owe it to yourself to find out more about the fate of mankind and how you can be assured to face the future with confidence. Our free booklets Are We Living in the Time of the End? Is There Really a Devil? and The Gospel of the Kingdom will help you understand what lies ahead and what you can do about it.