Life,
Entropy,

and why the
two co-exist

A   Science
Lesson   From
The   Bible

IT IS GENERALLY ASSUMED that, when it
   comes to scientific principles, the Bible has
   nothing to offer.   Yet, casually written
throughout the Bible's narrative is the answer to,
arguably, the most curious dilemma of all, as
stated here by Sydney Harris, a scientist: "How
can the forces of biological development
[life]
and the forces of physical degeneration
[entropy] be operating at cross purposes?"

Before we examine his quote, let's define our
terms.   We begin with the second law of
thermodynamics, which states that the amount
of useful energy in a closed system will naturally
decrease unless it is replenished from outside
the system.   In simple terms, place a hot cup of
coffee on a table and eventually it's at room
temperature.   (It has reached thermo-equilibrium
with the table and the room.)   The only way to
maintain the cup hot is to steadily replenish its
thermo-energy.   (Such as, by parking the cup
upon a heating element.)
   The natural universe is generally regarded as
a closed system; it's not steadily replenished
from outside of itself.   Thus, the universe's
useful energy--primarily bound up in the
stars--is slowly running down.   The stars are
burning out, expending their useful energy, as it
eventually converts into the useless background
radiation of space.   Thermo-equilibrium, or Heat
Death
, is the fate of the universe.   Jesse L.
Greenstein, in the article "Dying Stars,"
Scientific American, vol. 200, says, "But the
second law reminds us that this cannot go on
forever.   A star can never recapture the energy it
wastes into the sink of space; its life history is
irreversible."

Entropy . . .
From the second law of thermodynamics we can
also derive an abstract quantity called "entropy."
Isaac Asimov, "In the Game of Energy and
Thermodynamics You Can't Even Break Even,"

Smithsonian Institute Journal (June 1970),
explains the consequences of entropy: "Another
way of stating the Second Law, then, is: 'The
universe is constantly getting more disorderly .

. . . Viewed that way, we can see the Second
Law all about us.   We have to work hard to
straighten a room, but left to itself, it becomes
a mess again very quickly and very easily.   Even
if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and
musty.   How difficult to maintain houses, and
machinery, and our own bodies in perfect
working order; how easy to let them deteriorate.
In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and
everything deterioates, collapses, breaks down,
wears out, all by itself--and that is what the
Second Law is all about."
  Entropy is the
measure of disorder in a system.   Since the
universe is becoming more disorderly, its
entropy is increasing--it's experiencing positive
entropy.   Yet, there is one curious phenomenon
that, temporarily at least, can exhibit negative
entropy--a DECREASE in disorder.

Life . . .
Referring back to Isaac Asimov's quote, he
further says, "You can argue, of course, that
the phenomenon of life may be an exception.
Life on earth has steadily grown more complex,
more versatile, more elaborate, more orderly,
over the billions of years of the planet's
existence."
  Sydney Harris, in the "Second Law
of Thermodynamics,"
San Francisco Examiner
(Field Enterprise), January 27, 1984, posed "The
question"
we read at the beginning:
   "There is a factor called 'entropy' in physics,
indicating that the whole universe of matter is
running down, and ultimately will reduce itself to
uniform chaos.   This follows from the Second
Law of Thermodynamics, which seems about as
basic and unquestionable to modern scientific
minds as any truth can be.   At the same time
that this is happening on the physical level of
existence, something quite different seems to be
happening on the biological level: structure and
species are becoming more complex, more
sophisticated, more organized, with higher
degrees of performance and consciousness.   How
can the forces of biological development and the
forces of physical degeneration be operating at
cross purposes?
"

The Bible offers the answer . . .

ONE OF THE AMAZING things about the
    Bible
is how scientific revelations are
stated in a "matter of fact" way.   To the
ancients, such casual revelations could have
provided them a hint, serving as a lead in the
pursuit of knowledge.   For example, this verse
hints at the second law of thermodynamics: "Lift
up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the
earth beneath: for the heavens shall VANISH
AWAY LIKE SMOKE, and the earth shall WAX
OLD LIKE A GARMENT, and they that dwell
therein SHALL DIE IN LIKE MANNER: but my
salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness
shall not be abolished."
  Isaiah 51:6

n VANISH AWAY LIKE SMOKE. . .
The heavens, biblically speaking, include those
positive energy gradients we know as stars.   As
already noted, these "hot spots" are destined to
burn out, tending toward equilibrium, becoming
part of the useless background heat.   In this
sense, the stars "shall vanish away like smoke."
n WAX OLD LIKE A GARMENT . . .
Garments wear out [wax old], they fade and
gradually fall apart, reminiscent of Isaac
Asimov's statement that everything
"deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears
out, all by itself--and that is what the Second
Law is all about."

   Psalm 102:25-27, is also a biblical description
of the second law and its Siamese twin entropy:
"Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the
earth: and the heavens are the work of thy
hands.   THEY SHALL PERISH, but thou shalt
endure: yea, all of them shall WAX OLD like a
garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them,
and they shall be changed: But thou art the
same, and thy years shall have no end."

n SHALL DIE IN LIKE MANNER . . .
The last part of Isaiah 51:6 describes why we
grow old on the way to death, equating our
body's physical degradation with that of the
earth.   Read it again: "and the earth shall WAX
OLD like a garment, and they that dwell therein
shall die IN LIKE MANNER."

   Our physical bodies will "Wax old like a
garment."
  And why not?   Science has shown

that our bodies are composed of the same
elements found in dirt.   And if dirt can succumb to positive entropy, so will our bodies.
   By the way, the fact that we are "made from
dirt"
is old news to the Bible: "And the LORD
God formed man OF THE DUST OF THE
GROUND, and breathed into his nostrils the
breath of life; and man became a living soul."

Gen. 2:7

The Bible doesn't stop with "the dust of the
ground."
  As science is discovering, it takes more
than the right physical elements for life to begin.
The Bible goes on to say, "and [God] breathed
into his nostrils THE BREATH OF LIFE; and man
BECAME A LIVING SOUL."


   This "breath of life" is the catalyst, the spark,
behind life's negative entropy.   It is the life force
that makes a cell strive toward greater
"complexity" as it multiplies into a fully
developed organism.   (On its way "up," the cell
takes energy from its environment, contributing
to the universe's positive entropy.)

Albert L. Lehninger, "Energy Transformation in
the Cell,"
Scientific American (May 1960),
explains it this way: "From the standpoint of
thermodynamics the very existence of living
things, with their marvelous diversity and
complexity of structure and function, is
improbable.   The laws of thermodynamics say
that energy must run 'downhill' . . . . Continuous
'uphill' work is necessary to create and maintain
the structure of the cell.   It is the capacity to
extract energy from its surroundings and to use
this energy in an orderly and directed manner
that distinguishes the living human organism
from the few dollars' (actually $5.66 in today's
inflated market) worth of common chemical
elements of which it is composed."

Science hasn't completely figured how life
manages to "dodge" the second law.   According
to the Bible, they never will, as long as they
keep looking for a natural explanation.   After all,
natural processes only know positive entropy,
yet life exhibits negative entropy.
  Life had to
have come from outside the physical realm since

everything in nature, including our bodies, is at
the mercy of positive entropy.

Look at it this way . . .
Referring back to the last quote, life's ability to
work "uphill," does not come from simply mixing
the "$5.66 worth of common chemical elements
of which it is composed."
  Otherwise, science
would be able to revitalize someone seconds
after they are clinically dead; all the natural
chemicals essential to life are still present in the
right proportion.   SOMETHING is lost upon death,
leaving behind a body that can "rapidly" decay,
as it succumbs to positive entropy.

As we've seen, the Bible calls this SOMETHING
"the breath of life," which comes from God.   The
Bible says, "And he is before all things, and BY
HIM ALL THINGS CONSIST"
(Col. 1:17).
"UPHOLDING ALL THINGS by the word of HIS
POWER"
(Heb. 1:3).   "For IN HIM we live, and
move, and have our being."
  Acts 17:28

God provides the negative entropy we find in
life, for the Bible says, "All things were made by
him; and without him was not any thing made
that was made.   IN HIM WAS LIFE; and the life
was the light of men."
  John 1:3-4

The Bible sheds even more light . . .
Some feel that describing God as a perfect, all-
knowing, all-powerful being, contradicts the fact
that "His creation" is imperfect, destined to run
down.   But, they're overlooking an important
fact!   When God finished creating the heavens
and the earth, the Bible says, "and God saw that
IT WAS GOOD"
(Gen. 1:25).   What's so good
about a creation subject to entropy?   Nothing!
That's why ENTROPY WASN'T PART OF GOD'S
ORIGINAL CREATION!

Entropy didn't become a fact of life until
mankind fell--the result of sinning against God!
Notice, the curse God placed upon creation:
"And unto Adam he said....cursed is the
ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of
it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles
shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the

herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt
thou eat bread, TILL THOU RETURN UNTO THE
GROUND; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust
thou art, and UNTO DUST SHALT THOU
RETURN."
  Gen. 3:17-18

Death, entropy's final victory, was not part of
God's grand design--it came as a result of sin:
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the
world, and death by sin; and so DEATH PASSED
UPON ALL MEN, for that all have sinned"
(Rom.
5:12).   Creation is under a curse.   It is allowed to
run down, deteriorate, collapse, break down,
and to wear out.   This curse is why the second
law even exists.   The Bible refers to nature as
being in "the bondage of CORRUPTION" (Rom.
8:21), another Bible term, describing entropy.

Because of sin, the second law had a definite
beginning.   According to science, the second law
acts like time's arrow, moving everything along
in one direction.   We can't go in reverse.   We
can't turn all the expended, now useless
energy, back into useful energy.   Of course, this
begs the question: how did this one-way
universe start with a "full tank" of useful
energy?   Who filled up the tank?   The Bible has an
answer for this as well: "IN THE BEGINNING
[time] GOD created the heaven [space] and the
earth
[matter-energy]."   Gen. 1:1
   (By the way, according to the second law,
the physical universe cannot be eternal since its
useful energy would have completely "run-
down"
by now.   We would already be
experiencing Heat Death.   The universe had a
beginning, just as the Bible says.)

Finally, H. S. Lipson, in "A Physicist Looks at
Evolution,"
Physics Bulletin, vol. 31, p. 138,
makes this intellectually honest statement: "If
living matter is not, then, caused by the
interplay of atoms, natural forces and radiation,
how has it come into being? ... I think, however,
that we must ... admit that the only acceptable
explanation is Creation.   I know that this is
anathema to physicists, as indeed it is to me,

but we must not reject a theory that we do not
like if the experimental evidence supports it."

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."   (Eph. 2:8-9)   Baptism, good deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are all examples of good works that cannot save you, because, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he [Christ] saved us," Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."   (John 14:6)   THAT'S WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."   Romans 5:8-9

THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner and can't save yourself.   And call upon Christ, and Him alone, to save you.   "if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved."   Romans 10:9

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