By: Mark Tabata (Evangelist)
Throughout the Bible, there are curious references to God “stretching out” the Heavens.
Isaiah 40:22-It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
Isaiah 44:24-Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;
Jeremiah 10:12-He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, And has stretched out the heavens at His discretion.
Zechariah 12:1-The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:
For many years this puzzled me.
After all, how can the Heavens be stretched?
Isn’t space just that-empty space?
Actually, scientists today have discovered that space and time themselves are very real, and most definitely are not “nothing.” Chuck Missler elaborates:
“This strange phenomenon of the speeding or slowing of time is known as time dilation. Time stretches as one travels closer to the speed of light. At the same time, spatial dimensions like length and width get shorter as one travels faster. This is why physicists refer to space-time rather than just space and time. Time is an additional dimension to our reality. Time and space can stretch and bend, but they are as connected as the width, length and height of a box….Relative speed isn’t the only thing that affects time. If I had a cesium clock in my office and I raised it one meter, it would speed up by one part in 1016. That is 10 with 16 zeros after it. Elevation matters….Time itself is different at sea level than it is at a mile high elevation, because time also changes with gravity. Even the difference in elevation has relativistic effects because of the gravity involved….In November of 1915, Einstein presented his ideas to the Prussian Academy of Science, using his field equations to show that matter and energy affect the very geometry of space-time by making it curve….Since mass curves space-time, time is clearly affected by gravity….The universe is not as straight forward as it appears. According to Edward Witten’s M-Theory, there are at least 10 dimensions, plus supergravity. The human race has long believed in the spiritual, but through physics we now understand there truly are additional dimensions beyond those we directly see and touch….We think of space as empty. That’s what the word “space” means, after all -a void. However, during the 20th century we learned that space isn’t empty at all. Every square centimeter of space is filled with energy, and space-time can be bent and warped like fabric.” (Dr. Chuck Missler, Beyond Time And Space, 123-268 (Kindle Edition); Coeur d’Alene, ID; Koinonia House)
Not only are space and time very real “things,” but we have learned from science that they truly are “expanding.” Jason Lisle provides an excellent illustration of this:
“Most astronomers today believe that the universe is expanding. This expansion is a very natural result of the physics that Einstein discovered —general relativity. Moreover, there is observational evidence that the universe is indeed expanding. In the 1920s, astronomers discovered that virtually all clusters of galaxies appear to be moving away from all other clusters (see creation in-depth box); this indicates that the entire universe is expanding. This effect can be illustrated with points on a balloon. As the balloon is inflated, all points move farther away from each other (see illustration at left). If the entire universe were being stretched out, the galaxies would all be moving away; and that is exactly what they appear to be doing. It is interesting that the Bible recorded the notion of an expanding universe thousands of years before secular science came to accept the idea.” (Jason Lisle-Ph.D. In Astrophysics From The University Of Colorado-Taking Back Astronomy: TheHeavens Declare Creation And Science Confirms It, 312-322 (Kindle Edition); Green Forest, AR: Master Books)
There are also some other Scriptures which similarity declare equally astonishing facts about the “physical nature” of space and time. For example:
Isaiah 13:13-Therefore I will shake the heavens, And the earth will move out of her place, In the wrath of the LORD of hosts And in the day of His fierce anger.
Isaiah 34:4-All the host of heaven shall be dissolved, And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll; All their host shall fall down As the leaf falls from the vine, And as fruit falling from a fig tree.
Isaiah 64:1-Oh, that You would rend the heavens! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence—
Haggai 2:6-“For thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land;
Psalm 102:25-27-25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. 27 But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.
Especially fascinating is this last quotation from Psalm 102:25-27 (which is also quoted in Hebrews 1:10-12). There are several laws of science which this passage discusses, long before they were recognized as laws of science!
First, there is a clear reference in this passage to the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This law states that everything in the universe is “winding down,” or moving from order to disorder. This clearly demonstrates that the universe had a definite beginning, and will have an equally definite ending.
“In a stunning confirmation of the book of Genesis, modern scientists have discovered that the universe was created in a primordial explosion of energy and light. Not only did the universe have a beginning in space and time, but the origin of the universe was also a beginning for space and time. Space and time did not exist prior to the universe….The story begins about a century ago, as scientists began to look for evidence that our universe—not just our planet or our galaxy but all the matter that exists—had a beginning. The reason for the search is that one of the most universal laws of physics, the second law of thermodynamics, predicts such a beginning. The law simply states that, left to themselves, things break down. We see this all around us: highways and buildings decay and collapse, people age and die, metals rust, fabrics become threadbare, rocks and coastlines suffer erosion….Scientists use the term entropy as a measure of the level of disorder, and the second law shows that the total entropy in the universe is continually increasing. The second law has a startling implication. Consider the example of the sun. As time passes its fuel reserves decline, so that eventually the sun will run out of heat and go cold. But this means the fires of the sun must have been ignited at some point. The sun has not been burning forever. And this is also true of other stars. They too are gradually burning out, suggesting that they too were set aflame some time ago. As the great English astronomer Arthur Eddington once put it, if the universe can be compared to a clock, the fact that the clock is continually running down leads to the conclusion that there was a time when the clock was fully wound up. The universe originated with its full supply of energy and that is the fund that has been dissipating ever since. These facts were known as far back as the eighteenth century, but scientists didn’t know what to make of them.” (Dinesh D’Souza, What’s So Great About Christianity? 115-117 (Kindle Edition); Washington, DC; Regnery Publishing, Inc.)
Second, there is the reference to the Law of Causality. This law states that for every effect, there must be an adequate antecedent cause. By studying the universe, we are able to see that it must have had a beginning, and that the only cause sufficient to create it must be an Eternal Being. (If the “cause” of the universe also had a beginning, then it would simply be part of the universe in an earlier form!) Thus, the only way to account for the existence of the universe is by the existence of an eternal Being.
Writing of the eternal nature of such a Cause, Brad Harrub has provided these excellent insights:
“Eternality would indicate that something is not running down and had no beginning. Consider the following equations: 1. Something exists today—THUS—something must be eternal and has always existed 2. Something is eternal (Doesn’t Wear Down and was not created)—THUS—something violates scientific laws (specifically the Second Law of Thermodynamics) 3. Something violates scientific laws—THUS—Something exists outside the observable laws of naturalistic science From these we can conclude: 4. Something eternal is THUS outside the observable laws of naturalistic science! While many may not like this “math,” it is inescapable. To argue otherwise would be to deny our very existence. We can logically conclude that something has existed forever—something that is not explainable by naturalistic science.” (Brad Harrub, Ph. D., Convicted: A Scientist Examines The Evidence For Christianity, 258-274 (Kindle Edition); Brentwood, TN; Focus Press)
We are also reminded that this Cause of the universe must be a Person, not some impersonal “force.” Why is this the case?
“The Kalam argument tells us that the universe had a beginning and that the beginning was caused by an uncaused cause. At this point there are only two options: either the cause was personal or it was impersonal. Reflection on what this uncaused cause would look like leads us to a conclusion rather quickly. The first cause would require an ability to create. Without this ability nothing could be created. It would also require an intention to create, a will to initiate the universe. Without this will to create, nothing would be created. It would require a non-contingent being, one whose existence depends on nothing but itself. If it was contingent, then it would simply be one more effect in the chain of causes and effects. And it must be transcendent. The cause of the universe must be outside of and apart from the universe. Now add all these things together. What kind of thing relies on nothing for its existence, has the power to create something from nothing, has a will to do it or not do it and has the characteristic of existing outside of the creation? Does this sound like a personal or impersonal being? Personal, of course. Thus, the Kalam argument brings us to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning that was caused by a personal, powerful, transcendent being.” (Doug Powell, Holman QuickSource Guide To Christian Apologetics: A Clear And Complete Overview, 629-642 (Kindle Edition); Nashville, TN; Holman Reference)
There are several things to consider as we bring this study to a close.
First, what modern science has just been realizing in recent times has only confirmed what the Bible has stated from its beginning. The Bible writers’ knowledge of such incredible things as the expanding universe, the Law of Causality, and the Laws of Thermodynamics, stand as a testament to their inspiration. The advanced scientific foreknowledge of these men-foreknowledge that is only today beginning to be realized through the various branches of science-argues persuasively that they “spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).
Second, the fact of the universe’s beginning also speaks to us of the fact that one day the universe will have an ending. The Word of God speaks of this as well:
2 Peter 3:10-12-10 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. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 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?
The main reason why this Day of the Lord has not yet happened is because desires every person to come to repentance and be saved:
2 Peter 3:9-The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Jesus Christ, the Son Of God, came to this world in His First Coming to save us from our sins:
1 Peter 1:10-12-10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.
Jesus died for the sins of mankind, was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Will you not today, as a believer in the Son Of God (John 8:24), repent of your sins (Luke 13:3) as you confess the name of the Son Of God (Acts 8:37)? Will you not today be buried with Him in baptism (Romans 6:3-4)?
Many people in our world deny the need for baptism, yet Peter makes it clear that baptism is one of the things which saves us!
1 Peter 3:20-21-20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
If you are a Christian who has wandered from the Lord in sin (1 John 1:8), He invites you to accept Him back into your heart (Revelation 3:20). Why not repent of your sins and pray to Him for forgiveness (1 John 1:9)?
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.