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Discovery Magazine 6/1/2006


A Second Law That Leads to God

You probably are old enough to know how to ride a bike. In fact, many of you reading this article probably have your own bicycle. Imagine getting a shiny new, beautiful bicycle for your birthday. The tires are in perfect condition and the paint is spotless without any scratches or chips. What happens to your shiny new bike after you have been riding it for a year? Does the paint look as nice after a year or two as it did when you first bought it? What about the tires, do they stay in perfect condition with great tread? Of course they do not. Your shiny new bike starts getting older and wearing down the minute you begin to ride it.

Have you ever wondered why things wear down, break, or tear up? Think about your bedroom. Suppose you clean it, dust it, put it into perfect order, then leave it for the next twenty years. Will it look nicer or cleaner twenty years from now? No way. In fact, if you left a room or a house alone for twenty years dust would pile up inches thick, boards would rot, windows would break, the ceiling would leak and fall in, and the room would be a disaster. But why do things like bicycles and bedrooms wear down over time?

You can blame the messed up room and battered bike on the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Remember, we said the First Law of Thermodynamics says that matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed in nature. They can change forms, but the total amount of energy stays the same. But the Second Law of Thermodynamics says that when matter and energy do change form, they become less usable. Basically, the Second Law says things get more disorderly, more messed up, and less ordered. Let’s see how this works.

Remember back to the wood in the fireplace. Energy was stored in the wood. When the wood was burned, energy was released as heat and gas. But that heat energy went out into the room and spread out so much that it was no longer useful for heating the house. When the energy in the wood changed into heat energy, it became less usable.

Throughout the entire Universe, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is making energy less usable. Stars are burning out, machines are wearing down, pavement on roads is chipping away, animals and plants die and decay. This law causes every physical thing to break down, wear out, and decay.

This Second Law is also a serious problem for those who believe in evolution. According to evolution, things in this Universe have gotten progressively more orderly. Evolution says that life started with a single-celled amoeba and “progressed” over millions of years into higher animals and eventually evolved into humans. But this idea cannot be made to fit the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Things are not getting progressively better, they are getting progressively worse.

When faced with this problem, the evolutionist tries to wiggle away from the Second Law. For instance, he might say that the Second Law only applies to “closed systems” where no energy comes from an outside source. He would then say that our Earth is an “open system” since heat energy from the Sun hits our Earth all the time. But when he says this, he still has some serious problems. First, no one has ever witnessed a real “closed system.” Every system ever studied in nature has energy going out of it and into it, and yet the Second Law still works on every system we have ever seen. Second, is it true that simply by adding energy things necessarily get more complex and orderly? Absolutely not! Let’s think about that.

Suppose we take all the parts needed to build a powerful laptop computer and put them in a shopping cart. If we leave them there for 5 years will natural processes such as storms, wind, and rain assemble them into a working computer? No way. What if we left the pieces there for 50 years? Would more time help the pieces get any closer to a working computer? Absolutely not. In fact, the longer they stay there, the more worn out they will become. Well, maybe it is because we do not have enough energy. Now let’s take that cart full of computer parts and put it in the middle of the desert where temperatures get well above the 100s. Will adding more sunlight (energy) help the parts assemble into a computer? No. In truth, the sun will simply cause the parts to melt and get more disorderly. Adding more time or energy does not change the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is a natural law that disproves evolution. Not only that, it is exactly what the idea of creation predicts. In the beginning God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good. But since that beginning, things have been wearing out, exactly like the Bible writer stated: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment” (Hebrews 1:10-11).



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