O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
This discussion will be a little technical, and I am going to assume some prior knowledge on the part of the readers...
On July 4, 2012, the Higgs Boson was verified to be a real thing. This was historic, and paved the way for theoretical physicists to ponder th question of "WHY"? That is, WHY is the mass of the Higgs 126 GeV? Why not 125 GeV, or some other number?
It turns out that this "particle" (if that's what it really is) is necessary for our continued existence. Although we can't see it, it is as real as the invisible air we breathe. It is difficult to measure, but it exists.
What is this boson and why does it matter?
Well, in short, it is the part of the universe that is invisible, but accounts for the majority of its mass. Additionally, it is what gives other particles (neutrons, protons, and electrons) their mass. Without "it", these other particles would not exist as we know them, meaning our lives would not exist as we know them.
A little later, I will speculate what this could mean in theological terms, but we also shuld be aware that the Higgs is theorized to exist not just in one state, but in two. The "normal" Higgs state, and the "ultra heavy" state. Think of it as what makes sand dunes exist in a form that is between 30 and 35 degrees slope. The wind blows the sand into a pile, but gravity keeps it from piling any steeper. If the pile gets too steep, the sand collapses into a more stable arrangement. If the pile is not very steep and the wind keeps blowing, the pile will build up again until it gets too steep, and the cycle repeats.
So it is with the two states of the Higgs. The normal state is gravity, and the dense state is the wind. But think of the Higgs as balancing the universe on a knife edge between existence and collapse. One without the other cannot work.
Anyway, what does this have to do with the end of the world? Well, even in a steady state, as we have it now, the engine that keeps our little solar system going is the amount of fuel in the sun. At present rates, the sun will balloon out and consume the earth in about 5 billion years. A long time for us, but only about a third of the present age of the universe. IN other words, our sun is in the autumn of its life (just like I am) :)
So, physically speaking, the world WILL come to an end.
Does that have theological significance? Well, for a preterist, yes! It means that there will eventually be a physical transition to "something else". What we don't know, but we know that life as we know it can't continue to exist in the physical realm.
Futurists claim that Jesus will return and change this earth, and that is how the universe will end. Preterists say He already did return, and that His kingdom is an invisible reality into which we transition at our death, but that we are even now in our flesh living in that kingdom in all its fulness (in a spiritual sense)
So, what is the point in all this?
The point is that no matter whether you are a preterist or a futurist, a change will happen in the physical realm, but that all we disagree about is how and when that change will occur.
Is that important? Well, it is really only important in how we live our lives now in the flesh. It seems to me that when I was a futurist, I was always looking for an eventual "escape plan", whereby Jesus would come as a knight in shining armor, and defeat everything that was wrong, and all I had to do was suffer and "endure till the end". I actually knew some people who would put off getting dental care, because they reasoned "What's the use", thinking that it was all going to be over soon anyway, and then, because "I am on the right side", all the suffering will be over.
Preterism is attractive to me because it puts us in the now, and isn't waiting for another shoe to drop. Therefore, I really don't have to anticipate something better in the physical world to happen, since I already have the full promises of God in Christ. The physical is important, but only as a vehicle to do spiritual things.
So, back to the Higgs...
I have always believed that the true reality exists in the spirit realm. Most theologians will agree with this. So, is it really a stretch to believe that what we see in the physical has a counterpart in the spirit? So, if the conjecture is true about there being a "light and heavy" Higgs keeping everything in a delicate balance between continuity and collapse, then could this be a partial explanation why evil is allowed to exist? Could it be that if Christ did indeed come and "wipe away all evil" and burn up the earth and do away with evil completely, would the universe collapse?
With a little imagination (if my premise is correct), one could integrate this idea easily with the folding up of the creation like a garment (Heb. 1:11-12, Is. 51:6 and Ps. 102:26). Preterists understand this to mean the dissolution of the old covenant and the bringing in of the new. That is my belief also, but I think it could go much deeper than that. Can it be that even the heavenly realm where good and evil is constantly being fought, will, when the end of all things is done, will itself see a collapse of its established order?
I am NOT saying that God's kingdom will collapse. Instead, I am saying that we have to deal with the problem of evil eventually. As a preterist, I believe that the scripture in Rev. 22:15 that describes those outside the camp of the saints still leaves something to be done. Not in the sense that it isn't all finished at the cross. But I see the current life in Christ as being a process of sanctification not just of the individual but of the eventual coming to God of all creation through the efficacy of the cross. In other words, what Jesus did at the cross is still a continuing process of calling more and more children to the Kingdom, until where eventually, there will be no more room for the ungodly at all. Even those outside the gates will cease to exist. At that point, I see the culmination of this phase of eternity being done and God's entire family being at eternal rest with no more fighting against evil, either on earth nor in heaven.
OK. Well, that's my "heresy" for today. Feel free to chime in with your own thoughts. And, for reference, what spurred these thoughts was a fascinating TED talk about the latest Higgs Boson information out there. You can listen to it yourself at http://www.ted.com/talks/gian_giudice_why_our_universe_might_exist_...