Uncreated Creator vs. 3rd Law of Thermodynamics


#1

In SHORT, the uncreated creator argument for the proof of God says that one thing in existence must be uncreated, and the universe was created, so it must have been done by God.

3rd Law of Thermodynamics says that energy can not be created nor destroyed. So an atheist would say that energy and matter were never created, and have always existed, therefore the universe is uncreated and there must be no God.

How would a Christian apologist respond to the atheist in this case? Atheists, feel free to chime in as well.

(as some of you may have guessed I thought of this question after watching the Cameron/Comfort vs. the atheists debate)


#2

See the Branes discussion in the Big Bang thread.


#3

What you are stating is actually the first law of thermodynamics.

I would firstly respond with the second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy always increases. So if the universe (the energy and matter) had been around forever, then we would be at the state of maximum entropy, which some describe as complete chaos and others describe as a constant temperature throughout the whole universe, all high quality energy turned into heat. Such a universe could not support life.

But there is a universe with matter and energy and there is life on it, so we can only conclude, that if these laws are correct, then the universe must have had a beginning. And probably, that all the energy/matter was created all at once and since then no more has or can be created or destroyed (as the 1st law of thermo) - for example, the big bang theory suggests this.

Since everything in the universe is cause and effect, there must have been a first cause, an uncaused cause. We Christians claim that the uncaused cause is God. While, in light of the above argument, an atheist would have a hard time not believing in a first cause, he could simply state that the first cause was nothing special (except for being the first cause) - that the first cause was just a particle that appeared out of nowhere for no apparent reason, and not the Christian God that we talk about.

From this point, I think other proofs of God need to be brought in if you really want to convince the atheist that the Christian God is real. But establishing that the universe must have a beginning and a first cause is a good starting point.


#4

Not even arguing the science here, why does this Law exist? How do we account for laws of science?


#5

To add to what flopfoot said, their understanding of the 3rd law is terrible if they believe that it has anything to do with the beginning of the universe. By their own logic then the scientific theory of the big bang can’t have occured either. Okay, I digress… let me get back to the two flaws in their argument:

  1. The law is that the total energy cannot be created or destroyed within a CLOSED system. The universe itself is a bounded, finite, closed system. All the energy that is presently IN the universe will remain in the universe. HOWEVER, God could not exist solely inside this universe, but rather in an unbounded non-closed system. If there is an unbounded and non closed system, we have to assume free energy. Furthermore, the TOTAL energy cannot change, but we know that there can be anti matter created to offset matter, so there can be shifts in the construction of energy without changing the total energy.

  2. Application of physical law: the third law of thermodynamics (like all other laws of physics) only applies within the boundaries of this finite universe. Since God exists outside of this universe, and before the universe was created there was no physical law as we understand it, the third law of thermodynamics can have absolutely no bearing on the creation of the universe.


#6

I’ll post this as I posted it in another thread:

I remember that the Rational Responders Squad made a claim about the “third law of thermodynamics” that was incorrect; the third law is a definition: a pure crystalline substance at 0 degrees kelvin (i.e. absolute zero) has an entropy of zero. Instead he says it is a law that states matter and energy cannot be created and destroyed.


#7

Any theories, rules, laws or whatever of science can be one of two things: Either a definition of what it is talking about, in which case, it doesn’t teach us anything new and is a tautology (like saying 1 = 1) - but useful for modelling and etc., or it could be an attempt to explain observations, a currently accepted theory because it matches the evidence, which might be the truth of how things really work, or might be wrong but we never find out, or might be discarded when we find evidence of it being false.

An example of the first case is something like “mass is the property of an object that causes it to have inertia [ie, resistance to force]”. This statement is undeniably true, because it is a definition of mass. So it can be used to prove things, like that all objects which have mass have inertia. But that doesn’t actually “mean” anything in a real sense because it’s just based upon our definitions, just used to serve our current model.

An example of the second case, well this would be most scientific theories, such as the first 2 laws of thermodynamics. These actually do have a “real” meaning, because they are trying to explain real events we can observe. But thing is, they can’t actually be used to “prove” anything, because they are just theories, only accepted because they support the evidence found thus far, but they could possibly be ditched. No serious scientist denies this fact, that theories are just theories.

A conclusion we can draw, then, is that science can’t be used to prove anything with real meaning or in the real universe. It can prove things in our models, and it can make suggestions or possible explanations in the real universe, though. So you can’t prove or disprove God with science.

That being said,

Just because theories are only theories, doesn’t mean we should dismiss them completely. Many people complain about how some Christians dismiss these so easily, because to do so is to present science’s greatest strength as its greatest weakness. The point is that the theories are good theories because they are supported by centuries of observations / evidence. They are much better than the ‘theories’ of the old woman who claims that the world is supported on the back of a giant turtle, because while that could possibly be true, there is no reason or observations to believe that it should be so.

Observations are real important to the human experience. In most cases they are a big part of how we form our beliefs. So many prehistoric tribes believed in gods not because they thought it would be a cool idea, but because they looked at the world around them that they had not built, they saw the rain come every now and then and the movement of the planets and figured there must be a reason for it, something behind it. They felt their consciences and wondered where they came from. Etc.

So in our attempt to explain God, to evangelise, etc., we can still call on science. Even though we can’t be sure that the theories of today are true, we can say that they’re backed up by the obersvations of millions over centuries. The fact that there is so much support for second law of thermo, even if I haven’t seen this first hand, means that there is a lot of support for the universe having had a beginning. Others will testify that they saw the ‘proof’ of the universe having a beginning with their own eyes - you can doubt their testimony if you like, but what if they’re right?

Others will testify that they saw a man cure the blind and raise the dead back to life. You can doubt their testimony if you like, but what if they’re right?
Christianity - it ain’t such a blind faith after all.


#8

So reiterate something Flopfoot brought up, if the universe was never created, then those very laws of thermodynamics state that the universe now, and for an infinite time before now, would have been in a state of “heat death”. Since the 1st Law of Thermodynamics is one of the most accepted laws of all science, and since we know that the universe is not now is a state of heat death, then the model proposed does not correspond to reality.


#9

Hi, everybody. I just thought I’d chime in to point out (in response to the OP) that Aquinas’s proofs actually proceed on the assumption that the universe did NOT have a beginning, but rather was eternal. He believed (by faith) that the universe began, but his arguments do not proceed from that faith position, but rather from the more difficult position of an eternal universe. (Which still requires a Creator.)


#10

[quote=Flopfoot]What you are stating is actually the first law of thermodynamics.
[/quote]

:thumbsup:

[quote=Flopfoot]I would firstly respond with the second law of thermodynamics, which states that entropy always increases.
[/quote]

:thumbsup:

[quote=Flopfoot] So if the universe (the energy and matter) had been around forever, then we would be at the state of maximum entropy, which some describe as complete chaos and others describe as a constant temperature throughout the whole universe, all high quality energy turned into heat. Such a universe could not support life.
[/quote]

Or zero entropy.

[quote=Flopfoot]But there is a universe with matter and energy and there is life on it, so we can only conclude, that if these laws are correct, then the universe must have had a beginning.
[/quote]

Yes. Exactly. We can conclude that our universe had a beginning. :slight_smile:

[quote=Flopfoot] And probably, that all the energy/matter was created all at once and since then no more has or can be created or destroyed (as the 1st law of thermo) - for example, the big bang theory suggests this.
[/quote]

:yup:

[quote=Flopfoot]Since everything in the universe is cause and effect, there must have been a first cause, an uncaused cause. We Christians claim that the uncaused cause is God. While, in light of the above argument, an atheist would have a hard time not believing in a first cause, he could simply state that the first cause was nothing special (except for being the first cause) - that the first cause was just a particle that appeared out of nowhere for no apparent reason, and not the Christian God that we talk about.
[/quote]

Whatever is the uncaused cause is God.


#11

I disagree. I am sick, I have a fever, and I don’t have the energy to repost everything I have said on the Big Bang thread. But it’s there to be read. We got as far as non-linear time. Rather than rehashing all of that on a new thread (this thread) we could be helping each other further along the hunt for God starting from non-linear time.


#12

Not exactly. What is says is more like [FONT=Verdana] “every real thermodynamic process results in an entropy generation greater than or equal to zero”. It’s a subtle difference, perhaps not significant in this discussion but good to get in the habit of remembering.[/FONT]


#13

If I may say so, arguments about God that involve the laws of thermodynamics are generally misguided. Be careful how you use them, they are so badly mistreated, especially the second law, but the others as well.


#14

[quote=Bobby Jim]If I may say so, arguments about God that involve the laws of thermodynamics are generally misguided.
[/quote]

Is **this **argument about God involving the laws of thermodynamics misguided?


#15

Doesn’t this assume that all current physical laws existed at the beginning of the universe?

My meagre understanding of physicist’s current theory is that the cosmic egg was just sitting there (no idea where it came from) when it exploded (no idea why). At that instant no physical laws existed yet. At 10^-a seconds matter started separating out from energy and some (but not all) physical laws came into being. The at 10^-b seconds, 10^-c seconds, &c the universe we all know and love came to be with gravity, strong & weak nuclear force, electromagnetism, the speed of light as the universal speed limit, and the ever-popular laws of thermodynamics.


#16

Disagree all you like, but read the rest of my post before you do. As I stated already, the laws of physics only apply within the boundaries of our universe. Whether you believe in creation theory or big bang theory, it is universally recognized that before the universe existed there WERE no laws as we understand them today. Thus, because the generation of the universe is a boundary point between the presence of physical law and the non-presence of it, there can be no meaningful human discourse on how the first law of thermodynamics would affect the universe at the exact moment of generation

yes, for the reasons listed above. Unfortunately, the strong majority of people using physics for theological arguments lack enough understanding to truly make good points. That’s not to say that there aren’t very good theo-scientific points to be made, but that most lack a good understanding of the finer points of physical law.


#17

Hello JM100, you might be interested in this thread I started a while back.

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=128868

God bless,
Noel.


#18

One of the well-known paradoxes of the Big Bang theory is that, when we “go backwards in time” to the moment that it happened, we reach a point at which the laws of the universe as we know them do not apply. Some take that to mean the Big Bang is a faulty theory; others take it to mean that there were conditions under which the universe simply did not function the way it does now.

Peace,
Dante


#19

[quote=promethius95945]Disagree all you like, but read the rest of my post before you do.
[/quote]

I have already disagreed.
I have already read your post.
However you have not had the courtesy to read the material which others have posted on the Big Bang thread.

[quote=promethius95945]As I stated already, the laws of physics only apply within the boundaries of our universe.
[/quote]

We’ve already discussed this in quite some depth on the Big Bang thread. Please whatever you do, don’t read it.

[quote=promethius95945] Whether you believe in creation theory or big bang theory, it is universally recognized that before the universe existed there WERE no laws as we understand them today.
[/quote]

It is not universally recognized.

[quote=promethius95945]Thus, because the generation of the universe is a boundary point between the presence of physical law and the non-presence of it, there can be no meaningful human discourse on how the first law of thermodynamics would affect the universe at the exact moment of generation
[/quote]

So you say. The reality is that some assume that physics breaks at the Big Bang. Some assume that physics does not break at the Big Bang.

[quote=promethius95945]yes, for the reasons listed above. Unfortunately, the strong majority of people using physics for theological arguments lack enough understanding to truly make good points.
[/quote]

This is a generalism and now a tautology. You offer no support for this point of view.

[quote=promethius95945]That’s not to say that there aren’t very good theo-scientific points to be made, but that most lack a good understanding of the finer points of physical law.
[/quote]

Why would you waste your time and everybody else’s making judgments about an anonymous group of non-scientists rather than putting forth ‘finer points of physical law’ yourself?


#20

Scientists do not assume that OUR physics is broken outside the universe. We know it is. Theologians agree (else they place physical constraints on God). Ergo, anyone who assumes that the laws of physics necessarily apply in all dimensions of all possible universes (and non universes) is either horribly uneducated, or a horribly uneducated atheist.,

fine, the point of view was paraphrased from a quote by Dr. Utlaut, a doctor of physics. Happy now?

I already have. It isn’t just guesswork that the character of physical law HAD to change at the beginning of the universe. It isn’t guesswork that outside of our universe the physical laws we know don’t apply. I suggest, if you refute these scientific concepts, that you read the book Imagining the 10th Dimension as it sheds a lot of light on these points.


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