The Way It Happened

Revelation 6:14, The Heavens Roll Up

The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

//This verse may be difficult to picture from today’s understanding of the cosmos, but in the day it was written, it actually made perfect sense. The sky was pictured as a dome overhead, enclosing the flat earth, and when the day came for the earth to be destroyed, the dome was rolled up and discarded. Whether or not Jews truly expected a cataclysmic end to the universe or were merely playing with metaphors, at least the idea made sense back in the day.

The image of the universe as a big scroll holds me spellbound. Revelation alludes to another mysterious scroll, with all of the mysteries of God written therein. In Islamic thought, God provides two great tools for our understanding: The Qur’an and the physical universe are twin manifestations of God Himself. The universe can be pictured like a written scroll, perhaps slowly unrolling to teach us about God’s glory and the meaning of his creation. It invites us to explore and learn. One day, of course, it’ll come to an end … “The Day when we shall roll up the heavens as a recorder rolleth up a written scroll.” (Qur’an 21:104). 

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