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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Is the Universe Decaying?

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Don Stewart
The theory of evolution teaches that the universe is developing from simple to higher levels of complexity. The Bible teaches that everything was created perfect but now is deteriorating because of the entrance of sin. Is the universe deteriorating or it is going onward to higher levels of complexity?

The laws of thermodynamics provide some of the strongest scientific arguments for the existence of a Creator. Though scientific "laws" are only theories that can be modified as the evidence dictates, the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, however, are the basis of all science. Simply stated, they are as follows:

First Law

The First Law of Thermodynamics is the Law of the conservation of energy. It teaches that although energy can be converted from one form to another, the total amount remains unchanged; that is, energy cannot be created or destroyed. Thus, there can be no new creation of material in the universe.

Second Law

The Second Law of Thermodynamics, also known as the Law of Entropy, teaches that although the total amount of energy remains unchanged, there always becomes a tendency for it to become less available. The second law states that if any system is left to itself it will go on to randomness or disorder. The effect of this on the universe is that there will come a time when it will eventually "run out" of energy. Hence, the universe is deteriorating.

Creation Complete

How does this fit the creation model? The Bible teaches that creation is now finished:

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done (Genesis 2:1).

The Bible also teaches that the universe is running down as a result of the fall of man:

Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; yes, all of them will grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed (Psalm 102:25,26).

Problem For Evolutionists

There are problems reconciling the evolutionary theory with the law of entropy. The development of the living cell would require that nonliving matter spontaneously organize itself "upward" to much higher degrees of order, complexity and purposefulness. The Second Law of Thermodynamics says this does not happen in the universe. Evolutionists are aware of this, yet they still believe in the spontaneous development of life. They attempt to reconcile the problem by saying that the second law does not apply to the earth. It is only applicable in a "closed system," i. e., a system that does not exchange or receive energy from outside itself. The earth, they maintain, is not a closed system, but an open system which constantly receives abundant amounts of energy from the sun.

Something Else Is Needed

That answer is totally inadequate. Energy in and of itself contributes nothing to organization or design. Simply adding energy from the sun will give no developmental input to the random processes evolutionists describe for the origin of life. A pile of bricks and wood never would spontaneously develop into a building, no matter how much energy it received from the sun or how much time you gave it. Matter and energy by themselves provide insufficient causes for the complexity, design, and development we see around us. Scientist Bolton Davidheiser writes:

Another way of looking at the second law of thermodynamics is that there is a trend toward randomness in the universe. That is, the trend is toward forming less complex distribution of matter and energy from more complex ones. A non-living structure left to itself tends to deteriorate and disintegrate. It falls apart and the pieces become scattered. A tornado can destroy a building, spreading its contents in a haphazard manner, but it will not assemble materials to form a building. The tendency toward randomness in nature is the opposite of evolution, for according to the theory of evolution, more complex forms developed from less complex forms (Bolton Davidheiser, Evolution And Christian Faith, Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1969, p. 221).

Program Needed

What is lacking is a "program" to organize matter and energy into higher levels of complexity and purposefulness. In order for a system to become more complex, it must have complexity added to it. When Christians say God is the Creator, they are saying there is a Designer behind the design. Christians have an adequate source for the development and complexity of the universe, while evolutionists have no adequate source for the world they see around them.

Though evolutionists have attempted to reconcile the two by factoring in energy from the sun, their attempts have failed. Energy is inadequate to account for the order, complexity, purpose and design we see in the created world around us. To maintain God as the Creator, is both reasonable and consistent with the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Gary Parker writes about the importance of a program and design:

Can aluminum fly? Im sure that sounds like a trick question. By itself, of course, aluminum cant fly. Aluminum ore in rock just sits there. A volcano may throw it, but it doesnt fly. If you pour gasoline on it, does that make it fly? Pour a little rubber on it; that doesnt make it fly either. But suppose you take that aluminum, stretch it out in a nice long tube with wings, a tail, and a few other parts. Then it flies; we call it an airplane.

Did you ever wonder what makes an airplane fly? Try a few thought experiments. Take the wings off and study them; they dont fly. Take the engines off, study them; they dont fly. Dont dwell on this the next time youre on an airplane, but an airplane is a collection of non-flying parts. Not a single part of it flies!

What does it take to make an airplane fly? The answer is something every scientist can understand and appreciate, something every scientist can work with and use to frame hypotheses and conduct experiments. What does it take to make an airplane fly. Creative design and organization (emphasis his) (Gary Parker, with Henry Morris, What is Creation Science?, Revised edition, El Cajon, Calif.: Master Books, 1987, p. 42).

Looking For New Law

Because the Second Law of Thermodynamics refutes the idea of progressive evolutionary development, secular scientists are looking for some yet undiscovered "new law" that would explain how order naturally rises out of disorder, how nature naturally organizes itself.

Science writer Robert Wright observes:

Various scientists are pondering the prospect that a basic physical law lies waiting to be discovered, a law defining the circumstances under which systems infused with energy become more complexly structured. The law would carve out local exceptions to the general tendency of things to become more chaotic and bland - higher in "entropy" - as dictated by the famously depressing second law of thermodynamics. Charles H. Bennett, of IBMs Thomas J. Watson Research Center, who has deeply shaped the modern understanding of the second law, suspects there is indeed a law that if known would make lifes origin less baffling. Such a law, he has said, would play a role "formerly assigned to God" (Robert Wright, "Science, God and Man," Time, December 28, 1992, p. 42.)

These statements illustrate the problem for evolutionists. The universe does not organize itself. Rather than admitting there is an "Organizer," secular scientists are now looking for some "law" that demonstrates that the universe does indeed organize itself. They are still unwilling to admit that the scientific evidence logically leads one to believe in the existence of a Designer.

It is also interesting to note that the term "depressing" is used here to describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It is depressing for evolutionists because it clearly testifies of the need of an intelligent Creator.

A new scientific field of study known as "complexity" has arisen to address this problem. Another science writer had this to say:

If the basic rules of chemistry are any guide, life should not exist. Scientists showed in the 1950s that shooting an electric spark through a soup of chemicals - thus simulating lightning strikes on the primordial planet earth - could produce simple organic compounds. But complex, self-reproducing chemicals like DNA? They shouldnt have arisen in a trillion years. At an even deeper level, the second law of thermodynamics dictates that the universe should inexorably move toward disorganization. Cups of tea always cool off; they never spontaneously get hotter. Iron rusts, but rust never turns into iron.

Yet over the eons, a chaotic universe organized itself into stars galaxies and planets. And at least one planet, our own, is now bursting with bewildering varieties, filled with organisms that have arrayed themselves into ecosystems, communities and complex societies. How did this happen? That is the question posed by a brand-new field of science known as complexity (J. Madeleine Nash, "Life, the Universe, and Everything," Time, February 22, 1993, p. 62).

Notice the leap of faith taken here. Everything in the universe testifies that life could not develop by chance and that life does not organize itself. This is what the facts state. Yet the writer goes on to say our universe did organize itself and life developed by blind chance. The statement is not made because of the evidence but because the writer has already assumed this is what must have happened. The conclusion is not based upon science nor scientific evidence. It is a philosophical statement based upon the writers view of the world. It is typical of so many of the statements made by evolutionists.

What About Disorder?

Evolutionists often point to disorder or some small degree of imperfection in the universe to refute the idea of a Creator.

If order in the universe implies a Creator, does disorder imply a "non-Creator?" Did "chance" create some things while God created others?

The answer is no. When the vast reaches of the universe display such sophisticated intelligent design as we can observe today, the smaller degree of disorder serves as testimony to corruption of the grand design of the universe. That corruption is exactly what the Bible declares. God the Creator, of the universe, gave mankind the highest honor possible in the created order. The Bible describes the Lords glory and the dignity which He gave mankind:

When I consider Your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, and the Son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands (Psalm 8:3-6).

God created man originally with dignity and authority. Mankind was the crown of Gods creation.

Fall Of Man

When mankind deliberately broke his relationship with God, the entire creation felt, and continues to feel, the effects of that corruption. The Bible says that from the time that Adam and Eve sinned and were banished from Gods presence, the effects of corruption have manifested themselves throughout the creation. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans, said:

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subject to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because creation itself also will be delivered from the of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now (Romans 8:19-22).


The Second Law of Thermodynamics testifies that everything in the universe is "winding down." This agrees with the creation model which says that everything was created perfect and then sin marred its perfection. Creationism teaches that every process in the universe is going from order to disorder. Evolutionists, having no answer to this scientific truth, are vainly searching for some "undiscovered law of science" that would show how lifeless objects organize themselves to higher degrees of complexity.

Furthermore, the presence of corruption in the universe does not contradict the testimony of the overall design and order in the universe to the existence of an intelligent and all-powerful Creator. It gives further testimony to the Fall of man.

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