Thermodynamics and Genesis 1:1

The 1st Law of Thermodynamics asserts that neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed (although they can transferred from one place to another, or be converted from one form to another), but in all cases and at all times the total mass-energy of a system is perfectly conserved.

The implication of this is that the present physical processes observed to be at work in the universe today cannot be responsible for its creation/origin.  Today’s assertion that science can only offer naturalistic explanations for observations means, by definition, that science cannot explain the origin of the universe.

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics asserts that, left to the random and undirected functioning of the laws of nature, all systems invariably tend toward increasing levels of disorder and disorganization, with the energy available to perform useful work being irrecoverably dissipated.

The implication of this is that the present universe, which is highly organized and has abundant available energy with which to do useful work, must have had a beginning.  If the universe were eternal (as assumed in all pagan cosmogonies), it would have long ago become completely disorganized and all energy would have become unavailable.  Since this is not the case, the universe cannot be eternal, it must have had a beginning.

The implications of both the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics are implicit in Genesis 1:1, the very first verse of the Bible (and very likely the first verse of Scripture ever recorded), which asserts that the universe had a “beginning” (2nd Law) and that its origin was supernatural “creation ex nihilo” (1st Law).

“In the beginning [2nd Law] God created [1st Law] the heaven and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

To quote Dr. Henry Morris, “Genesis 1:1 is the most profoundly scientific statement ever written, with all the systems and processes of the cosmos uniting in asserting its truth.” [1]

No scientist knows why the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics are true.  Consider this confession of Dr. Isaac Asimov (an atheist, evolutionist, and past president of the American Humanist Association):

No one knows why energy is conserved, and no one can be completely sure it is truly conserved everywhere in the universe under all conditions.  All that anyone can say is that in over a century and a quarter of careful measurement, scientists have never been able to point to a definite violation of energy conservation, either in the familiar everyday surroundings about us, or in the heavens above or in the atoms within. [2]

No one knows why energy is always conserved, or why entropy always increases.  Nevertheless, in all scientific measurements and observations, energy is conserved and entropy increases without any exceptions!  This “observation” is then built into all scientific theories at a presuppositional level—the 1st and 2nd Laws are always assumed at the outset, then all scientific theories are built from this assumed foundation; but the 1st and 2nd Laws themselves are never derived or deduced.  Science has no answer for why the 1st and 2nd Laws of Thermodynamics are always valid.

In Scripture, however, God reveals why the 1st and 2nd Laws are valid.  God Himself performed a supernatural work (creation ex nihilo) during the six days of creation (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 33:6; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2), but He declares that His work of creation ended at the close of the 6th day (Genesis 2:1-2); since that time, excepting a few extremely rare instances of supernatural intervention in the creation by God Himself (i.e., miracles), His divine work has been to uphold and preserve His creation (cf. Genesis 8:22; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3), which is why we observe that the 1st Law of Thermodynamics always holds true today.  Furthermore, Scripture also points to the introduction of the universal principle of death and decay that came as a result of the Fall and subsequent Curse (Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 5:12; 8:20-22), which is why we observe that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics always holds true today.


[1] Henry Morris, The Biblical Basis for Modern Science (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1987), pp. 194-199.

[2] Isaac Asimov, “In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Even Break Even”, Smithsonian, Vol. 1 (No. 5), August 1970, p. 6.

About The Paleofundamentalist

The Paleofundamentalist holds graduate degrees in engineering, Bible and theology, with formal training in classical Latin and Koine Greek. He teaches the Bible and Biblical subjects weekly at his local church. View all posts by The Paleofundamentalist

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