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Teotwawki: "The-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it" prophecies

If the Earth survives long enough, the
end will come about the year 5 billion CE

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There have been many predictions within Judaism, Christianity and Islam that "the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it "TEOTWAWKI would happen before now:

  • One example is found in some of the passages in the Gospel of Q that are preserved in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Yeshua of Nazareth (a.k.a. Jesus Christ) predicted the that the return of the Son of Man and the arrival of the Kingdom of God would occur during the middle of the first century CE. He said that this would happen within the lifetimes of many of the people who heard his preaching.

  • Another example was Paul's later prediction that the end would occur during the late the first century CE.

  • William Miller, founder of the Millerite movement, predicted that Jesus would return on 1843-MAR-21. When this proved to be false, he went back to his calculations and revised the return to 1844-OCT-22. In an event called "The Great Disappointment," many Christians sold their property and possessions, quit their jobs and prepared themselves for the second coming. Nothing happened; the day came and went without incident.

All of these predictions and many hundreds of others were were wrong. The end did not happen when predicted.

However, according to scientists who have studied the evolution of stars, there exists a series of events in the future when the atmosphere, the rivers and oceans, all human life, and all other species of animals and plants will have disappeared from the Earth. It will occur about 5 billion years CE

Background:

Astronomers Enjar Hertzsprung and Henry Norris Russell found that if the color of a star is plotted against its brightness, many stars fall into a band which is called the "main sequence." Our sun is currently one of these stars. Such stars are in hydrostatic equilibrium in which the "... outward thermal pressure from the hot core is balanced by the inward gravitational pressure from the overlying layers" of the star. The result is a relatively constant output of energy from the star.

The Sun currently generates energy through the fusion of hydrogen into helium within its core. When the Sun becomes about 12 billion years-of-age, its supply of hydrogen fuel will be almost exhausted.

Wikipedia reports that by this time, the total inhabitable area of land, air and water -- the Earth's biosphere --.

"... will have long been destroyed by the Sun's steady increase in brightness as its hydrogen supply dwindles and its core contracts. ... After just over 1 billion years, the extra solar energy input will cause Earth's oceans to evaporate and the hydrogen from the water to be lost permanently to space, with total loss of water by 3 billion years. Earth's atmosphere and lithosphere (the crust and mantle) will become like that of Venus. Over another billion years, most of the atmosphere will get lost in space as well;ultimately leaving Earth as a desiccated, dead planet with a surface of molten rock.

Our Sun and other stars whose mass ranges from about 40% to 1000% of our sun's mass would then transition to a red giant stage. Their outer atmosphere would become "... inflated and tenuous, making the radius immense and the surface temperature (relatively) low." They would grow in diameter by a factor of perhaps 200 times.

For our Sun, its diameter will grow to encompass the orbit of Mercury, and later the orbit of Venus. It will eventually reach the vicinity of the orbit of the Earth. All life will have long disappeared by this time. Apple, Dell and even Google will be history.

There are many prominent stars in our galaxy (a.k.a. the Milky Way) that are currently in this stage. They include Aldebaran (Alpha Tauri), Arcturus (Alpha Bootis), Gamma Crucis (Gacrux), Antares (Alpha Scorpii), and Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis).

The Sun is expected to spend about 130 million years as a red giant, collapsing until its core becomes hot enough to fuse its supply of helium into carbon. Ultimately, it will become a white dwarf about the size of the Earth. Intelligent life from Earth could only survive if it had emigrated to another solar system.

Site navigation:

Home page > "End of the world" menu > here

Home pageReligious conflict  > "End of the world" menu > here

Home page > Religious information> "End of the world" menu > here

References used:

  1. "Red giant," Wikipedia, as at: 2011-APR-10, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  2. "Main Sequence," Wikipedia, as at: 2011-APR-13, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/

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Copyright © 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally published 2011-APR-14
Last update: 2011-APR-14

Author:  B.A. Robinson

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