You have spoken about the 2nd law of theromdynamics and entropy. I
understand this specifically applies to chemical reactions, but the
principal that things move from a more ordered to a less ordered state
seems to be the overriding nature of everything in the post-fallen world.
Governments, societies, our bodys, everything we put our hands to breaks
down over time except the spirit that is renewed by God in salvation. It
seems to me that only God can reverse the natural entropy that occurs in
the soul by making us a new creation. My questions are as follows 1. Does
this seem valid to you? Can a thermodynamic law be used to describe the
natural state of a soul without Christ? 2. Can we appeal to this law as
proof of objective morale laws? If all our morale laws were subjective
wouldn’t they be subject to the same entropic losses? Instead we see that,
though through the ages individual morals wax and wane, right and wrong
remain unchanged (it doesn’t matter what German society believed- history
knows that killing Jews is wrong). Would this not be an argument that
right and wrong are objective morales that are saved from disorder over
time by the moral law giver – God?
This is a quite insightful question. I agree with your general thesis
that “everything we put in our hands tends to break down over time, except
the Spirit that is renewed by God.” There is an obvious analogy between
the scientific/physical law of entropy and behavior in the economic,
business, psychological, historical and other aspects of human behavior.
Having said that, the answer to your question is no. It is not legitimate
to apply strictly the second law of thermodynamics to other areas such as
history, economics morality and so forth. Conceptually, this might work
as a useful analogy, but as a set of mathematical equations or a strictly
scientific concept, it is not legitimate to apply the second law to these
things. Bottom line, the second law is a mathematical statement which
simply cannot be used in non-material things such as sociology or
politics. Moral laws are not governed by the second law of
thermodynamics. People have tried to apply the mathematics and failed.
How would one define mathematically the entropy level of a social system
or of human relationships? This is not possible.
So, I like where your thinking is going. I think it is legitimate to
apply the analogy to help understand what happens in non-material things,
but if you want to make definite statements or statements about theology
by applying literally the second law, you are on very thin ice.
Scientists will be unanimous or nearly unanimous in this. They tend to
cringe at people abusing the second law to apply it elsewhere.
In summary, conceptually, yes or perhaps better to say maybe.
Mathematically and literally, a definite no.
Let me give an example:
It seems that in the hands of human beings, our lives and our societies
tend toward evil and corruption. Only with the outside influence of God
through his Holy Spirit can we hope to keep it together. This is not
unlike the scientific concept of entropy. The second law of
thermodynamics describes how nature naturally tends toward disorder (ie
more entropy). Only the intervention of energy from outside a system can
this natural tendence toward disorder be reversed.
As a teaching point the analogy may be useful.
An example of what not to do.
Scientists tell us about the second law of thermodynamics which describes
the natural tendency of everything in the universe to go toward disorder
(greater entropy). There is a moral law of entropy as well which states
that it is impossible for human beings to control their lives and that
I think the second example is going too far in that it implies some
actual, real law which works with a mathematical precision and in a form
exactly like the second law.
This may seem like a subtle distinction, but it is the best I have to
offer. I hope it is helpful.
John Oakes, PhD