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A somewhat controversial new cosmic theory suggests that the end of the universe might be cataclysmic. The theory expressed by an astronomical study’s lead author Robert Caldwell of Dartmouth University suggests the universe could end as a “phantom energy” eventually rips galaxies, stars, planets, and every speck of matter to pieces. The theory is one possible outcome based on observations indicating the universe is expanding at an ever increasing pace, as if some unknown force were pulling it outward. The force, which has not be defined, is referred to as “dark energy.”

Caldwell and his associates wondered what would happen if the rate of acceleration continued to increase. The result known as the “Big Rip” suggests that the unknown force would eventually overcome the normal effects of gravity even at the local level, and the subatomic forces that hold atoms together resulting in the end of everything. Caldwell says it is like a car accelerating an additional ten miles an hour every mile, then every hundred yards, and then every foot. Eventually, the car would disintegrate because it could not withstand the stress. Caldwell’s team says though the prospect is frightening, the good news is they estimate it will be 20 billion years before the Big Rip occurs.

--The Big Rip: New Theory Ends Universe by Shredding Everything, http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/big_rip_030306.html; March 6, 2003, Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell.

2 Peter 3:10-11 (CEV) “The day of the Lord's return will surprise us like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a loud noise, and the heat will melt the whole universe. Then the earth and everything on it will be seen for what they are. (11) Everything will be destroyed. So you should serve and honor God by the way you live.”

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