Paul Davies, a theoretical physicist and prolific science writer, addresses the issue of the universe’s ultimate fate in The Last Three Minutes. As a Christian I do not agree with his findings, but it is interesting to consider what will happen to the universe if God does not interfere.
Davies points out that there are really only two possible endings- one in which the universe slowly dies and continues to expand while becoming an ever-more dilute soup of particles, and one in which the universe cataclysmically recontracts and explodes itself out of existence. Both of these models are often found unattractive to non-theists because they imply the end to conscious thought and life in general. Davies suggests possibilities for theoretical survival under each scenario, but these conjectures seem to be wishful thinking. For example, Davies posits a super-being who, in the last minute of the collapsing universe (despite extreme gravitational pressure and a stuffy temperature of a billion degrees) speeds up thought processes to acheive virtual immortality. Davies does admit that these speculations are quite “imaginative,” so he cannot be blamed for writing about them, especially because such speculations are quite interesting. However, I do not believe Davies is able to overcome the atheistic problem of an ending to the universe and, consequently, a meaningless existence.
In the end, Davies account is quite fascinating and impressively delivered. For those interested in physics and cosmology, The Last Three Minutes is highly recommended.