Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | April 26, 2017

Science in the Bible – Thermodynamics

(3 Minute Read)

Memorial Stone for Rudolf Clausius
In front of Koszalin University of Technology,
with Clausius’ two Laws of Thermodynamics.
Koszalin, Poland
(Click to enlarge and read Polish plaque.)

The First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics are fundamental physical laws of the universe.

The First Law of Thermodynamics, also known as the Law of Conservation of Energy, states that the sum total of matter and energy in the universe is constant. One form of energy or matter may be converted into another form, but the total quantity stays the same.

For example, trees convert sunlight (energy) into wood (matter) using photosynthesis. A campfire converts wood back into energy — heat and light. But the total sum of the matter and energy in the universe remains constant throughout these changes.

Neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed, only transformed. The relationship between matter and energy is given by Einstein’s famous equation, E = mc2.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics, also known as the Law of Entropy, says that the universe is running down and increasing in disorder (entropy is a measure of disorder).

These laws of thermodynamics were first stated in the 1850’s by German mathematician and physicist Rudolf Clausius (1822–1888).

Interestingly, the Bible clearly hinted at both principles in common language thousands of years previously.

First Law of Thermodynamics in the Bible

Yahweh created matter and energy in the beginning:
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) – Matter created.
God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light (Genesis 1:3) – Energy created.

Upon finishing Creation, Genesis reports
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. (Genesis 2:1-2)

The Hebrew word for completed is kalah (כָּלָה, Strong’s 3615). It means “completed, finished, at an end.” The use of the past definite tense for the Hebrew verb indicates action completed in the past, never to occur again. Creation was finished and done. Matter and energy are no longer being created.

Speaking of the Son of God, Scripture says,
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:16-17)
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. (Hebrews 1:1-3)
These verses imply that matter cannot be destroyed because the Son of God holds all things together by His word.

These Biblical truths foreshadow the First Law of Thermodynamics which says that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. Creation is finished as Genesis says; it is preserved and held together as the New Testament says.

Second Law of Thermodynamics in the Bible

Of old You founded the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
Even they will perish, but You endure;
And all of them will wear out like a garment;
Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.
(Psalm 102:25-26)

You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the works of Your hands;
They will perish, but You remain;
And they all will become old like a garment,
And like a mantle You will roll them up;
Like a garment they will also be changed.
But You are the same,
And Your years will not come to an end.
(Hebrews 1:10-12)

This universe-wide disintegration began with Yahweh’s curse following Adam’s sin:
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’;
Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return.”
(Genesis 3:17-19)

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. (Romans 8:20-22)

The Bible teaches that the universe is deteriorating and running down. This foreshadows the Second Law of Thermodynamics which was discovered less than two centuries ago. The Bible’s teachings on this were written by Moses 3500 years ago, by the Psalmist 3000 years ago, and by the Apostle Paul 2000 years ago.

In contrast, the theory of evolution directly contradicts the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Evolutionary theory says things are increasing in complexity and order. The Second Law and the Bible say things are running down and becoming more disorderly. Which one is right? Which one coheres with experience?

Science Catches Up to the Bible

The Bible alludes to two fundamental physical principles — matter and energy are not being created or destroyed, and the universe is running down. Thousands of years before today’s scientists formulated the First & Second Laws of Thermodynamics, the Bible pointed to these truths.

Although the Bible is not primarily a science textbook, it does hint at many scientific truths like these and like those mentioned in this Science in the Bible series, truths that long pre-date their discovery by today’s scientists. This is strong evidence of divine authorship of the Bible.

Questions to Ponder
  1. If the matter and energy in the universe always remains a constant sum, how does that pose a challenge for evolutionists?
  2. Which do you personally observe — things increasing in complexity and order, or things running down and becoming more disorderly?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the tenth in the Science in the Bible series of blog posts. While there is much science connected with Creation and Noah’s Flood, this series will focus on lesser known scientific truths that were alluded to in the Bible long before they were known to scientists.
Read the prequels:
1. Science in the Bible – Blood
2. Science in the Bible – Ocean Currents
3. Science in the Bible – Undersea Mountains
4. Science in the Bible – Ocean Reservoirs
5. Science in the Bible – Good Medicine
6. Science in the Bible – Round Earth
7. Science in the Bible – Don’t Marry Kin
8. Science in the Bible – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
9. Science in the Bible – Hanging Earth

Read the sequel:
11. Science in the Bible – Water Cycle

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday April 26, 2017 A.D.

Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

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Responses

  1. This was my first article to read and found it easy to follow as I am not a scientist but was married to one for 40 years. The explanations were understandable and wants me to read future papers. I did find it interesting that you mentioned Psalm 119:105 for today, because in my daily Portals of Prayers from Concordia the reading was from 2 Timothy 4:6-18 that also referred to the feet of the Lord to stand by us and strengthen us which it seems we need during these times.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Patti. Very good observation you made connecting the two Bible passages!

      Liked by 1 person


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