It’s the end of the world as we know it.

And I feel fine.

So go the lyrics of the well known R.E.M. song by the same title. When the world does end, I’m guessing that glib attitudes will be hard to find.

And the world will end. It’s not even exclusively a matter of religious conviction. In 1997 Australian physicist, Paul Davies, published the book The Last Three Minutes summarizing several of the scientific theories for how the world will end. While disagreements about the details persist, one things is clear: our universe cannot sustain life indefinitely. Call it heat death or cold death, in the end even the universe will die.

So how and when will it end? It will either end on May 21, 2011, or December 21, 2012. It just depends if you are looking to the Mayan predictions or listening to the self-proclaimed prophet Harold Camping.

But according to Jesus, no one knows when the end will come. As surely as our universe had a beginning, call it the Big Bang if you like, it will have an end. And the Creator has everything to do with both.

While Jesus did not reveal the end, he did make this bold assertion, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

So while religious and scientific prognosticators speculate about the how and the when of the end of time, Jesus’ offer still remains the same: “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.” (Revelation 21:6)