I have recently heard an argument for creationism using the third law of
[thermo-dynamics/ thermo nuclear physics] as it’s catalyst against the
idea of the big bang theory. Namely stating that things left to themselves
have a tendency to decay – not grow in complexity. What is this law – I
have only guesses at it’s name?

The law you are referring to is the second law of
thermodynamics. This law is very much relevant to understanding the
creation of life, but it is not so key to understanding or explaining the
big bang theory. The law states that for any spontaneous process, the net
entropy of the universe increases. It is absolutely legitimate to apply
this idea to the origin of life. To do so, one must create a more
practical, less abstract definition of entropy. Basically, entropy is a
measure of randomness or freedom of motion. To put it even more simply,
nature tends toward disorder and “decay.” By this law, it is NOT natural
for highly ordered systems to build up out of less ordered matter. For
example, a building will never be constructed out of the raw materials
spontaneously. Only with the intelligent input of energy can such an
ordered thing (with such low entropy) as a building ever be created.

By this same law, it is impossible for a living thing to be
created spontaneously out of the simple atoms and molecules which would
compose any natural environment. Even the simplest conceivable living
thing which could live on its own must be incredibly complex–requiring
the creation of thousands of different large and delicate molecules such
as proteins, nucleic acids and so forth. This requires that the original
living things in the universe must have been created by some sort of
external intelligence–God. This is not a simple argument and it may not
convince the hard-line atheists, but as a chemist and physicist, I see no
possible “natural” answer to the origin of living things. All this is
discussed in great detail in my book “Is There a God: Questions of
Science and the Bible” which is available at www.ipibooks.com . You will
also find a number of relevant articles at the web site under articles/God/

John Oakes, PhD

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