What Hebrews:11:3 tells us is that the visible universe was not made out of anything visible, for that would mean that something visible always existed and the universe was simply manufactured from materials at hand. On the contrary, that could not be the way it came about, because nothing visible is eternal. Any “material,” therefore, would have entropied during the endless time before it was allegedly used to create the universe—and who might have done that? In fact, the universe was created by the Word of God: “God said, Let there be…” (Genesis:1:3,6,9, and so on), and everything that is visible came into existence in obedience to His Word. That same Word, which created all and holds all together, will speak again, and all that is visible in the old creation will dissolve back into nothing:
But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word [by which they were created] are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2 Peter:3:7)
The English translation, “kept in store” and “in Him all things consist” (Colossians:1:17) have the connotation in the Greek of being “held together.” Peter goes on to describe the destruction of the universe as being “dissolved” in a “fervent heat” that will burn up the very elements. The English word, “dissolved,” is translated from the Greek luo, which in its forty-six usages in the New Testament denotes a loosing, or letting go, of something being held together—a scientifically accurate description of the loosing of the force binding the nucleus of the atom together.
All matter is made of atoms, which consist of negatively charged electrons orbiting round a nucleus composed of positively charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons. The electrons are of course held in orbit by the positively charged nucleus—but what holds the nucleus together, since its protons ought to repel one another?
Physicists hypothesize a mysterious “strong force,” or “cosmic glue,” which overcomes the electromagnetic repulsion that otherwise would push the protons apart and destroy the atom. Without this mysterious force, the very elements of the entire universe would dissolve in one giant ball of fire—exactly as Peter describes.
Long before the second law of thermodynamics had been discovered, Jesus put it very clearly: “Heaven and earth shall pass away” (Matthew:24:35). The universe, however, is not destined to simply wear out due to the passage of untold billions of years. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Peter explained that all life on earth as we have known it will be summarily terminated, and the entire universe will be destroyed by God in judgment of man’s and Satan’s rebellion. In its place, a new universe will be created:
On the day of judgment…the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up…. The heavens being on fire shall be dissolved…. Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (2 Peter:3:7-13)
The word “heavens” is used in two ways in Scripture: for all that is physical in dimensional space beyond earth; and for the nonphysical abode of God, called by Jesus “my Father’s house… [of] many mansions” (John:14:2). One is visible and temporal, while the other is invisible and eternal. This visible, temporary universe is not all that exists. There is another dimension of existence that is neither physical nor visible—and it doesn’t wear out or grow old with the passage of time, nor can it be destroyed, nor will it ever cease to exist.