In this blog I want to relate the laws of thermodynamics to that of the theological world, but it’s probably a good idea that I review the laws of thermodynamics first and then discuss their application and parallels to that of theological principles of a Biblical world view.
1st Law mandates the conservation of energy, and states in particular that the flow of heat is a form of energy transfer thus energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transferred to a different form of energy being either usable or unusable.
2nd Law states that the entropy of an isolated macroscopic system never decreases, it only increases.
3rd Law concerns a perfect crystal and draws the connection between temperature and amount of entropy. As it approached absolute zero all processes cease and the entropy of the system approaches a minimum value.
Further Explanation of Laws:
The first law is basically states that the amount of energy in the entire universe may never increased or decrease. Energy as a whole has only transferred from one kind of energy to another. For example when lightning strikes, the electrical energy in the air molecules is changed in to thermal energy (heat) as well as light energy. therefore the energy has been converted to different forms of energy itself. When you physically move an object from one place to another the electrical signal from your brain causes your muscles to flex via a chemical reaction and that energy is then changes in to kinetic energy as you lift the object and carry it.
The conservation of energy can be thought of by the two words “Quantity” and “Quality”, the quantity of energy never changes, however the quality of energy always changes after each conversion.
This is where the second law kicks in, it concerns entropy, if a system is unaffected by other systems the entropy will only increase. Entropy can be thought of as “randomness” amongst atoms and molecules.
As unusable energy increases so does entropy. Out of the three forms of water steam has the highest entropy, water is below it, and ice has the least entropy. If the ice is isolated or not effected by an outside system of heat or cool air it will melt (entropy increasing), and eventually evaporate (entropy increasing). Some use the term “chaos naturally increases in the universe”.
The third law only applies to a perfect crystal structure for the scenario to work right. It says that the material may never reach absolute zero Kelvin because the moment that it becomes cooler than it’s neighbor system(s) the neighboring system would then transfer heat (energy) in to the first structure thus not allowing it to reach absolute zero. This is due to the first law, as it approaches zero in attempt to achieve equilibrium of energy, thus the proposed crystal will never reach absolute zero.
The Parallel of Principles
The parallel is between the work and activity of energy in our universe and our own fallen state. Our fallen state comes from sin which is merely the use of our God given free will for the purpose of rebellion or choosing contrary to God’s will. God made man kind in His own image which means His being was a kind of blueprint for Adam.
One of the many characteristics we have that originated from God is a distinct will and ability to make decisions. If we did not have our own will we would either be “vegetables” or we would consistently act out God’s perfect will. The problem in this reasoning is that we sin and we know God can never sin for He is perfect (James 1:17, Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 18:32). Again if we did not have our own will there would therefore be no punishment for sinning because God would then be held responsible for our sinning and not our selves . This however is simply not true, each individual has their individual will that can choose God or not choose God, we are also responsible for our own sinning (Jam 1:13-15, Rom 3:23, 6:23). This system of free will was lovingly established by God so that to love Him we would have to truly love Him; you cannot fool God.
The reader should also make the connection between the terms “original sin”, “sin”, “fallen nature”, and “rebellion”.
The parallel presented here is not just between energy and free will, but between energy and the destructive use of free will which has existed in angels and mankind a like. Here are the laws of Thermodynamics and Theodynamics compared.
New energy cannot be created, nor can existing energy be destroyed but only transferred to a different type of energy.
New fallen nature cannot be created (because it already exists), nor can existing fallen nature be destroyed but only transferred, or manifested in different forms of rebellion.
In an isolated system entropy will only increase, not decrease.
Without outward interference one’s fallen nature will only increase, not decrease on it’s own.
A perfect crystal (the ideal form of solid matter) will reach a minimum value of entropy when it achieves absolute 0 degrees Kelvin.
A perfect person can only achieve absolute freedom from sin when they cease all activity and existence.
Unlike the science of Thermodynamics the laws of Theodynamics includes an element that is missing from science – God. Because of the necessary inclusion of God there is a redemptive aspect that must be taken in to consideration. This redemptive aspect is included as a 4th law.
God came as a man and took mankind’s consequence of rebellion (death) on Himself thus delivering us from our unavoidable destination and state of fallen living.
The 4th Law Concerning the Other Laws.
Concerning the 1st law – Jesus did not have a sinful human nature as all descendants of Adam have inherited from Adam and Eve. This is because Jesus was not technically a son of Adam, He was the Son of God (Mat 1:32, 1Cor 15:47-48, Jhn 13:3, 1Jhn 4:9). He came on to the scene from outside of the reach of Sin (from God) thus Law 4 does not contradict Law 1 (Heb 9:13-14, Col 2:9, ). He also did not do away with all of man kinds Sinful state at the moment of His death or resurrection. If He did, we would no longer sin or have sinful tendencies. When He did do was make available the complete forgiveness and peace with God that was humanly unattainable in our fallen state. He bought what we could not afford. This forgiveness is required to know and meet with God thus not contradicting Law 1 by completely destroying all sin nature simultaneously.
Concerning the 2nd law – assuming that nothing from the “outside” interrupts the natural flow of things (towards disorder and lawlessness) nothing out of the ordinary will happen. However, God did interrupt the scene personally and made available to us a new spiritual identity that we can live in if we so choose. This new identity has the ability to progressively free itself from the chains of sin and the effects of the Fall in a way that is unattainable without Jesus Christ. This life of freedom was exemplified by Jesus and so is part of God Himself, it is the very life of God – perfection. Since God came down from outside of the 3 Laws He gives Himself to us and in a sense supersedes the first 3 Laws by including the 4th Law.