For my money, it's harder to believe in the Christian Last Things of life after death, judgment, and the end of the world than it is to believe in the "First Things" of creation and providence. The prophetic and apocalyptic literature of the Bible predict, or seem to predict amid very strange language, some very difficult things to square with our expectations both for the physical universe and for human technology:
- What could this "new heavens and a new earth" possibly be?
- How could Jesus appear in the heavens at the end of time if the human race has colonized multiple planets, or multiple solar systems, or multiple galaxies?
On the other hand, some of the predictions seem very possible, like the world being destroyed by fire (e.g., 2 Peter), which could take the form of several astronomical phenomena or our own nuclear holocaust.
In this episode, Paul sashays a bit into this even less frequented frontier region between science and Catholic doctrine.