Christianity and Science – Second Law of Thermodynamics

QUESTION: Christianity and Science – The Second Law of Thermodynamics


The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that, “[A]lthough the total energy in the cosmos remains constant, the amount of energy available to do useful work is always getting smaller.”1

J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig describe the law as follows: “According to the second law of thermodynamics, processes taking place in a closed system always tend toward a state of equilibrium. Now our interest in the law concerns what happens when it is applied to the universe as a whole. The universe is, on a naturalistic view, a gigantic closed system, since it is everything there is and there is nothing outside it. This seems to imply that given enough time, the universe and all its processes will run down, and the entire universe will come to equilibrium. This is known as the heat death of the universe.”2

Christianity and Science – The Highly Ordered Universe
The second law of thermodynamics does not just contradict evolutionary theory—it also reinforces the creationist explanation of origins. First, the second law suggests that the universe had a beginning. “If the entire universe,” says Brown, “is an isolated system, then, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, the energy in the universe that is available for useful work has always been decreasing. However, as one goes back in time, the amount of energy available for useful work would eventually exceed the total energy in the universe that, according to the First Law of Thermodynamics, remains constant. This is an impossible condition. Therefore, it implies that the universe had a beginning.”3

Second, the second law of thermodynamics suggests that the universe began as a highly ordered system. Wilder-Smith says, “The second law of thermodynamics seems thus to describe the whole situation of our present material world perfectly and the Bible very clearly confirms this description. For example, Romans 8:22–23 teaches us that the whole creation is subjected to ‘vanity’ or to destruction. Everything tends to go downhill to chaos and destruction as things stand today.”4

The creationist position in this regard is far more in harmony with modern science than is evolutionary theory.


Rendered with permission from the book, Understanding the Times: The Collision of Today’s Competing Worldviews (Rev. 2nd ed), David Noebel, Summit Press, 2006. Compliments of John Stonestreet, David Noebel, and the Christian Worldview Ministry at Summit Ministries. All rights reserved in the original.

1 A.E. Wilder-Smith, Man’s Origin, Man’s Destiny (Wheaton: IL: Harold Shaw Publishers, 1968), 55.
2 J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, Philosophical Foundations for a Christian Worldview (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 478.
3 Brown, In the Beginning, 9.
4 Wilder-Smith, Man’s Origin, Man’s Destiny, 72.

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