The Qur’an is the book that was revealed to Prophet Muhammad ( peace and blessings be upon him) and which contains countless facts. Although the Qur’an deals with all issues relating to this life or the hereafter, we should be warned about linking the Qur’an to some scientific researches and discoveries. As these theories might prove falseness later on, so this would affect the creed of some people to have a kind of doubt about Islam and the Qur’an.
The challenge in the verse and according to some exegetes will be on the day of resurrection when all creatures, Jinn and humans, will be assembled and the heavens split apart. Angels will descend from all of heavens and encircle the resurrected. Allah will challenge the people assembled to escape if they can. They will not be able to escape as they will not have the ability or the power to do so with the angels besieging and encircling them from all sides.
In explanation of this Verse, Ibn Kathir (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Meaning that you cannot escape Allah’s power and predestination, which are everywhere around you. You cannot escape Allah’s power or break away from His authority or ruling on you. On the day of resurrection, wherever you go, you will be surrounded on all sides by seven rows of angels. No one can pass beyond the zones “without authority” i.e. an order from Allah. Verse 10 of Surat Al-Qiyamah, or the resurrection, says (interpretation of the meaning): “(10.) [That day will man say: Where is theescape?. By no means! No place of safety!.Before thy Lord] (surat al-Qiyamah 75:10-12)
But it should be noted that there are some risks involved in interpreting the Qur’an according to modern theories. That is because, if we interpret the Qur’an according to those theories, then other theories are produced which contradict them, this implies that the Qur’an will be incorrect in the view of the enemies of Islam. The Muslims would say that the error is in the understanding of the one who interpreted the Qur’an in that manner, but the enemies of Islam are always watching for an opportunity to attack Islam. Hence we must exercise the utmost caution against rushing into interpreting the Qur’an according to these scientific matters. We must leave these alone and let matters take their course. If it is proven that some of these theories are correct, we do not need to say that the Qur’an has already proven it, the Qur’an was revealed for the purpose of guidance, reflection, etc.
Allah says: [(This is) a Book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember]. (Saad 38:29]
It was not revealed concerning these matters which are subject to experimentation and which people study as part of their scientific quest. It may also be very dangerous to apply the ayat of the Qur’an to these theories. For example, the verse you mentioned which says:
[O assembly of jinn and men! If you have power to pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, then pass beyond (them)! But you will never be able to pass them, except with authority (from Allah)!]. (al-Rahman 55:33)
When man reached the moon, some people started to interpret this ayah and apply it to this event of reaching the moon, and they said that what was meant by authority was science and that by their science they had passed beyond the zones of the earth and escaped the gravitational pull (of the earth). This is wrong; it is not correct to interpret the Qur’an in this way. What this implies is that you are testifying that this is what Allah meant. This is a serious testimony and you will be questioned concerning that.
Whoever ponders the meaning of this ayah will find that this interpretation is incorrect, because this ayah comes after the ayahs :
[Whatsoever is on it (the earth) will perish. And the Face of your Lord full of Majesty and Honour will remain forever. Then which of the Blessings of your Lord will you both (jinn and men) deny]. (al-Rahmaan 55:26, 28)
So we ask: did these people manage to pass beyond the zones of the heavens?
The answer is no, for Allah says:
[If you have power to pass beyond the zones of the heavens and the earth, then pass beyond (them)]. (al-Rahmaan 55:33)
Secondly: has there been sent against them flames of fire and copper?
The answer is no. So the ayah cannot be interpreted in this manner. We say that they reached what they reached through science and experimentation. But for us to distort the meaning of the Qur’an and to try to make it fit this event, this is not correct and is not permitted.