(Picture courtesy of Nasa Solar Dynamics Observatory)
Did you know that scientists estimate the remaining effective life of our sun to be about 5 billion years? Yet the Bible states that the earth will remain forever. (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalm 78:69; 119:90) Without the life-giving energy of this nearby star, life would not survive on earth.
However, did you also know astronomers predict that, in about 4 billion years Andromeda, our neighbour galaxy, will merge with our own galaxy, the Milky Way?
This, they say, will not be a catastrophic event; the stars within the galaxies are so vastly far apart from each other, the chances of a star collision occurring are effectively zero!
Galaxy collisions are apparently a common occurrence in the universe
The gravitational forces that bind both galaxies into the single entities that we know today, will eventually create one big galaxy. But here is an interesting thought: What if, during this process, a young star from Andromeda were to pull our earth, along with the moon, into its own gravitational field?
Earth would then have a new sun, and a new set of star constellations!
This new star would provide us with the warmth and energy we need for many more billions of years. After all, earth’s seasons will never cease. – Genesis 8:22; Psalm 74:16, 17.
Is this mere speculation? Well, maybe it is. But there are a number of factors here that are not speculation. The sun has a limited amount of hydrogen that is constantly being converted to helium. It is this process that generates the sun’s vast energy. This amount is not infinite. It will one day be exhausted and the sun, as we know it, will die. We will perhaps witness its spectacular eventual death as it collapses into what scientists call a White Dwarf star.
Also, the direction that both galaxies are taking on their journey through space is predictable, and, cosmologists say, will definitely result in the above merger scenario. And there exists someone who has the ability to foresee this entire event, down to the position of the last molecule (much as a skilled soccer player can kick a ball exactly where he intends – into the corner of the net – except that we are talking here about advanced “laws” with unimaginably immense precision)! – Jeremiah 31:35.
Andromeda getting near
One very exciting aspect of this predicted merger is the sheer spectacle of the event as seen from earth when this occurs. The Andromeda galaxy will appear awe-inspiringly magnificent in our view, growing ever larger as the millenniums pass. Ultimately it will fill our entire view as the two galaxies begin to merge. It may not be as bright as the illustrations shown here, as the overall amount of light that reaches us will not change much even as Andromeda approaches our galaxy. And the enormous length of time this event will take is beyond our imagination, as will be the spectacular beauty and awesome nature of the sight itself.
Yes, there is some speculation here. But it illustrates just one possible solution to the problem of the dying sun!
Jehovah’s power and intelligence are so vast (Romans 11:33) that he could easily plot the position of every atom in the universe eons of time in advance. He knows where every star is going to be at any future point in time. He is also aware of all the consequences that result from the merging of galaxies, and the final relative positions of all the stars — and their passenger planets — that comprise the new galaxy!
The earth will never die. The Bible specifically makes this point a number of times. It has been created with many self-repairing mechanisms, including its ability to recycle air, water, various essential chemicals, plant life, etc. It’s interesting, by contrast, that Psalm 102:26 explains of the heavens, including the stars: “Just like clothing you will replace them.” Even the material that stars consist of is recycled when they die. But the earth has been designed to last forever as a perfect home for its inhabitants.
Of course, the Creator has a solution to all problems that are far superior to anything we as humans can envisage! — Ecclesiastes 3:11.