When those Worlds Collide

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen 

Once again, I had an inspiration from an unlikely source when my mind wandered off all by its lonesome. I have no idea why I was on the rabbit trail, but I was looking up When Worlds Collide.

The book by that name was written by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer in 1933. Bookstores have it, and used copies can be had. Try your library. A movie based on the book was made in 1951, and that can also be found.

Science fiction stories about the end of Earth require suspension of disbelief. There will be and end, but in God's timing, not from rogue planets crashing into Earth.
Pixabay / Neypomuk-Studios
The genre of science fiction has a dilemma: Keep the science in it, or skip reality to garner more sales. Some manage to balance storytelling with science and speculative science, but willing suspension of disbelief is still necessary. Not as much as comic book superhero stuff, though. Sometimes people want to shut off reason so they can have fun, or mayhaps guys want to look at Scarlett Johannsson.

Discourteous Celestial Objects

In the book version of When Worlds Collide, two rogue planets are going to make life on Earth a mite difficult. One will destroy the planet completely, but the other might swing into orbit in the solar system. The movie version kept the title, but instead of a planet, a star is on its way. Although the star will destroy Earth, it happens to have a planet in orbit.

Both the book and movie have select representatives of humanity that will board hastily-constructed spaceships, bringing animals and supplies for life on the new world. Admittedly, it was wishful thinking, but they had to try something.

When Reality Collides with Stories

In either scenario, people hope that their new home world will be captured in a decent orbit around the sun. The capture hypothesis of the "origin" of the moon does not work on several levels (nor does it work for moons of our neighboring planets). A big problem is that a celestial object would slingshot out of orbit into parts unknown. If it did stay, the orbit would likely be eccentric like the orbits of comets. (In After Worlds Collide, the planet had a strange orbit, but it was a lucky break that it wasn't worse). Indeed, Earth has had several temporary moons that have come and gone. Orbits are tricky things.

Other problems would be having to navigate through the debris of Earth. There are problems with the gravity of the rogue star in the movie version, and gravity from the two planets in the book version.

Some Problems are Unescapable

Movies and books like these have themes of escaping world-ending disaster, or leaving this bad old world and starting over to have a better life. First, there would be no starting over, genetically speaking, because life has been suffering from genetic degradation — genetic entropy — since the fall of man (Gen. 2:8-19). Mutations are copying errors, and people will be taking them along.

A couple of old sayings are related: "Wherever you go, there you are", and the less enigmatic version, "No matter where you go, you can't escape yourself." An early song by Black Sabbath, "Into the Void", made serious errors:
Freedom fighters sent out to the sun
Escape from brainwashed minds and pollution
Leave the earth to all its sin and hate
Find another world where freedom waits

The song ends with a Pollyanna "life will be great" feel. Things do not work that way, Mr. Butler. Changing locations, whether moving to the other side of town or going to another planet, does not change what's inside of people. "Leave the earth to all its sin and hate" will not work because all have sinned (Rom. 3:23).

The Real Plan

Interestingly, many Christians and biblical creationists like science fiction. Much of it is rooted in atheistic naturalism, evolution, secular humanism (with its tenets of goodness without God), and so on. Some of us like the Westerns in space motifs. It takes an enormous amount of suspension of disbelief and acceptance of lampshading. (Fun trivia time for lampshading: Korax the Klingon from the original Star Trek series looked remarkably different from later Klingons. When questioned, Worf said, "We do not discuss it with outsiders.") People like a good story.

Christians know that we trust God and his Word. Although we may dispute interpretations of eschatology, we know that God has a plan for the last days of Earth. He will not be caught off guard by a rogue planet, natural or manmade disaster, or anything else. There will be an end and final Judgment, and all will happen in God's time.

Earlier, I mentioned how we cannot escape ourselves. Whether fleeing the planet or moving across town, we bring our sinful nature with us. Our sinful worlds collide with the holiness of our Creator. All have sinned against God, who is holy and righteous, and must pay the penalty. However, Jesus made it possible for us to not only escape the wrath of God (Rom. 6:23, Acts 17:39, John 3:16-17), but experience his love firsthand and become adopted into his family (John 1:12, Heb. 7:25).

It's amazing that God the Son, the Creator of the universe, loved us so much that he died for us while we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8), and defeated death by bodily rising from the dead (1 Cor. 15:3-11, Mark 8:31, Matt. 28:6). Are you ready for the end, whether it's the dramatic finale or something more immediate and personal? You can become a child of the living God!

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