The earth is not at risk …

The earth is not at risk from a new particle accelerator at CERN near Geneva, according to scientists as reported by the BBC. There had been suggestions, even by theoretical physicists, that the Large Hadron Collider could generate new “strangelet” particles which might destroy ordinary matter, or miniature black holes which could grow and swallow up the earth. But the scientists have now reported that there is “no conceivable danger”. This is not because the accelerator cannot generate black holes – it can. But it is because the earth throughout its history has been bombarded, if only rather occasionally, by cosmic ray particles which are just as energetic as those produced by the collider, but even over billions of years these have failed to produce killer particles or black holes of mass destruction.

So are we safe? The scientists seem to think so. But they also seem to accept that there is a small but not completely vanishing chance of a collision between particles, whether cosmic ray particles or ones generated in an accelerator, having effects which spread out to destroy or damage the whole earth. The assurance that they can offer is simply that it hasn’t happened yet, for billions of years, and so isn’t likely to happen any time soon. And the new collider increases the danger by apparently producing as many high energy collisions in one experiment as occur naturally on the earth in thousands of years.

What is God’s perspective on this? This is what the apostle Peter had to say:

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” …10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. [footnote: Some manuscripts be burned up]

11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. [footnote: Or as you wait eagerly for the day of God to come] That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

2 Peter 3:3-4,10-14 (TNIV)

The scoffers claim that the earth is safe, it will continue as it is for ever, or at least for billions of years more, and God will never bring judgment or destruction. However, now even scientists are saying that there is a possibility, however remote, of the earth suddenly being destroyed. One possible scenario,

the mass conversion of nuclei in ordinary atoms into more strange matter – transforming the Earth into a hot, dead lump

sounds remarkably like what Peter prophesied nearly 2000 years ago. I don’t claim that this is how the prophecy will be fulfilled, but even scientists are not ruling out the possibility.

As Peter writes, the consequence of this for us Christians is simple: “You ought to live holy and godly lives … make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.”

0 thoughts on “The earth is not at risk …

  1. We don’t like thinking about ‘endtimes’ because they are just that. Also there has been the millenia-old thought about the endtimes, with the early disciples thinking that Jesus was coming back real soon.

    We don’t know when or how the world will end (only God knows for sure), so conjecture on our part is to question a mystery with no answer. But when we view our own lives in the light of eternity (planted in our hearts) we understand more how to live in that light, re-focussing ourselves on what truly matters.

    And no pointlessness. (He says in hope…!)

    One of these statements is true:

    Jesus is coming back in my lifetime.
    Jesus is not coming back in my lifetime.

    Either way, what is the real issue here?

  2. JTankers, thanks for the links. No, I had not read the actual report. But I find little reassurance there. We have no idea how many planets elsewhere in the universe have been swallowed up by rogue black holes etc formed by cosmic rays. Our Sun has not been swallowed up, it is true, but other conditions within stars might inhibit them being swallowed up in the same way. This is treading the borders of known physics, and quite deliberately, so we cannot be sure what can and what cannot happen.

    Rössler’s paper (despite the poor English) looks quite convincing to me, at least in suggesting some possibility that he is correct, that there is a danger from tiny black holes, but then my understanding of general relativity is weak.

    I am not saying that there is a serious danger to the earth here. Nor am I saying that the project should be cancelled. The risk from this is probably far less than the risk from nuclear war or a nuclear reactor failure, or for that matter from an asteroid collision like the one which probably wiped out the dinosaurs. But it should give pause to think to those who assume that the earth will last for ever.

  3. Pingback: high energy neutrinos

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