and Great Gathering. There are four ‘Matters’ in this assertion of mine that ‘this place is possible.’
The First is the possibility of this world’s death.
The Second is its actual death.
The Third is the possibility of the destroyed, dead world being reconstructed and resurrected in the form of the hereafter.
The Fourth is its actual reconstruction and resurrection, which are possible.
FIRST MATTER: The universe’s death is possible. For if something is included in the law of the process of perfection, there is bound to be growth and development in it. And if there is growth and development, that thing is bound to have a natural life-span. And if it has a natural life-span, there is bound to be a time for its natural death. It is established by inductive reasoning and extensive investigation that it cannot save itself from the claws of death. Indeed, just as man is the microcosm, and he cannot be saved from destruction, the world too is the macroanthropos; it neither can be saved from the clutches of death. It too will die and will then be resurrected, or it will lie in repose and then open its eyes in the morning of the resurrection.
Also, just as a living tree, which is a miniature copy of the universe, cannot save its life from destruction and dissolution, so the chain-like universe, which has branched out from the tree of creation, cannot save itself from destruction and dispersal in order to be repaired and renewed. If, with the permission of the pre-eternal will, some external disease or destructive event do not befall the world before the time of its natural death, and its All-Wise Maker also does not demolish it before that time, for sure, according to scientific reckoning, a day will come when the meanings and mysteries of the verse:
When the sun is rolled up; * When the stars tumble; * When the mountains are swept away; * When the she-camels, ten months with young, are left untended; * When the wild beasts are herded together; * When the oceans boil over;1
will become manifest with the permission of the Pre-Eternal All-Powerful One, and the death agonies of the macroanthropos which is the world will begin; it will fill space and make it reverberate with an appalling death-rattle and devastating sound; roaring, it will die. Then, at the Divine command, it will return to life once more.