Why Atheism Makes No Sense: Laws of Thermodynamics

Welcome back to Defender’s Voice. This is Paul Kattupalli. Today let us talk about the most fascinating laws of nature: The laws of thermodynamics. The word ‘thermodynamics’ means ‘heat in motion’.Thermodynamics is the study of heat and temperature and their relation to energy and work. The whole universe is under the domain of thermodynamics because every physical process needs energy. Every particle needs energy. Every biological cell needs energy.

In the history of thermodynamics, the story of steam engine takes a prominent place. I love trains. I can sit back and enjoy the scenery. Since I was a boy, I have seen the evolution of trains. In my childhood, I have traveled in steam engine driven trains. Those days, they would burn the coal, and use that heat to boil the water and to generate the steam which drives the engine. I remember going to my uncle’s home in a steam engine driven train.By the time I reached my destination, a black smoke would cover my whole face. Sometimes I used to feel a few coal particles in my mouth. After these coal burning steam engine trains, I rode diesel engine driven trains. Then came electric trains. Then came bullet trains. People are talking about hyperloops that can transport passengers at the speed of over 500 miles an hour. The technology is progressing at such a dizzying speed, often we find it difficult just to keep up with the new names, let alone understand the details of all new technologies that are being developed in our time. Over the last five hundred years, countless technologies have been developed which changed the face and pace of human society in a way the world has never seen before. Thermodynamics has been the foundation for all these technologies and the science beneath them.

There are four laws of thermodynamics. They run the universe. Not just physics or chemistry, not just a town or a city, not just a planet or a star, not just a car or train, they run the whole universe. Famous scientist Albert Einstein once said, ‘Thermodynamics is the only physical theory of universal content which, within the framework of the applicability of its basic concepts, I am convinced will never be overthrown’.

Let us briefly see these four beautiful laws of thermodynamics. First, the Zeroth law of thermodynamics. It states, ‘If two systems are in thermal equilibrium with a third system, they are in thermal equilibrium with each other’. Let us say, you got a stove. You turned it on and put a vessel on the stove. The heat will transfer from the stove into the vessel. Now if we pour some water into the vessel, then the heat will transfer from the vessel into the water. After some time, the water starts to boil. If you put your hand in the boiling water, it will burn. I don’t have to tell you that. We engage our lives with an awareness of the temperature of the objects we use. We transfer heat from object to object, from place to place for our convenience. We must study their thermal equilibrium to understand their impact. Yesterday, a lady came to our clinic with a burn injury. She spilled hot coffee on her hand and got a burn injury which became infected. I prescribed her pain medication and antibiotics. Burn injuries cost us pain, suffering and billions of dollars in health care spending. Be careful what you touch. That is zeroth law of thermodynamics.

Scientists spend enormous amounts of time in understanding thermal equilibriums between objects. Last time I was flying I heard an announcement in the terminal building: ‘If you have a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 don’t board the plane. It’s a violation of the Federal Hazardous Material Regulations’. I said to myself, ‘thank God, I don’t have a Samsung now, I don’t want to miss my flight’. There were stories like Samsung phones and other cell phones blowing up and melting in the hands of users and causing fire accidents.  Samsung released these phones and tablets without a complete understanding of the thermal equilibriums of the materials used in the their production.

So, a proper understanding of zeroth law is essential for a safe flight. This law helps us define and measure temperature. All our temperature scales are built based on this law. We ask, ‘What is the temperature in your town?’ It’s 70 degrees fahrenheit or 23 degrees celsius. In thermodynamics we use Kelvin scale. It has the same magnitude as the Celsius scale. But the  zero on Kelvin scale corresponds to the lowest possible temperature of the material. So, the zero degrees kelvin is equivalent to -273.15 degrees celsius.

Then, let us see the First law of thermodynamics. It states, ‘Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but only converted from one form to another’. When we do some work, we lose some energy. But it is not destroyed, only lost to our surroundings. This law is also known as law of conservation of energy. Recently I was walking over a mountain. Along the trail, I came across a stream of water. I started to follow this stream. Soon this stream gained speed and became a beautiful waterfalls. The gravitational energy of the water becoming kinetic energy. That’s law of conservation of energy.

You can also see this in amusement parks. Take roller coasters or sky towers. Powerful electric motors lift people over to elevations that churn their stomachs and bring them down as they shout and cry with excitement. Energy changing its forms as they move along from electrical to potential to gravitational to kinetic. We see the first law of thermodynamics in those transformations. Scientific progress would not have been possible without this law.

To  perform any form of work, we need energy. Work is related to energy! That sounds so obvious to us, but their relationship was not established until 19th century when James Joule performed a famous experiment. Joule was an English physicist and mathematician. He wanted to demonstrate the relationship between work and energy. He took a falling object and tied it to a wheel with a rope. He kept the wheel in a barrel of water. When he dropped this weight, it pulled the rope and spun the wheel. As the wheel turned, the water moved and its temperature increased. Looking back from 21st century, this experiment looks very simple to our eyes, but it was revolutionary for its time. Gravitational energy did the mechanical work which changed into the form of heat and increased the temperature of the water. Energy changed its forms, it is neither created, nor destroyed.

These transformations of energy are evident in natural processes all around us. The streams and waterfalls become rivers. The kinetic energy of river is diverted into power stations, where, in the turbines, it rotates the magnetic fields and create electricity. This electricity is carried over long distances and distributed to homes for various applications. The energy in the nature is coming into our homes and passing back into the nature. We have not created any new energy, we have not destroyed any energy, we just took advantage of transformation of energy from one form to the other. From this simple experiment, James Joule derived the law of conservation of energy, which became the first law of thermodynamics. Today we measure energy in units named after Joule. How much energy did you spend on this work? We say 10 joules.

Then, let us see the second law of thermodynamics. The image that evokes this law is that of broken eggs. Let us say some one came to you with two eggs. He said, ‘Please make me an omelet with these two eggs. So, you took those two eggs, broke them, added some salt, some pepper and onions, and made an omelet. You served him the omelet: hot and spicy. He tasted the omelet and said, ‘Huh, I don’t like this omelet. You wasted my eggs. You wasted my two precious eggs. I want my eggs back’. You said, ‘no problem, I have lot of eggs in my refrigerator. I will be generous, I will you four eggs, go somewhere and make your omelet as you like’. Then he said, ‘No, don’t want your eggs. I want the same eggs I gave you’. Immediately you will realize you are dealing with a really crazy person. I hope you will never meet someone like that, but you got my point: we can break the eggs and make an omelet, but we can not recreate eggs out of the omelet. We can mix milk into our coffee, but we cannot unmix our milk from the coffee. We observe this fundamental irreversibility of natural processes all around us. Scientists call this Arrow of Time.

You clean your home till your back is breaking. You are happy it is clean. But if you leave it like that, after a few days, you will find it unclean. Unless you intervene, you will see more and more disorder around you, you will see more and more trash piling up around you. Order becomes disorder with the arrow of time. You buy new clothes. After a year, your clothes become old. If wait one more year, those clothes are not going to become new. There is a special word for this transformation, Entropy. The concept of entropy originated with German physicist and mathematician Rudolf Clausius. His life was between 1822 and 1888. He extensively studied the transfer of heat. In 1865, Clausius gave the first mathematical view of the concept of entropy. It led to the formulation of second law of thermodynamics. This law states,

The entropy of an isolated system either remains constant or increases with time. The entropy is increasing with time. If you look around, our universe is a slave to the second law of thermodynamics. It is under the shadow of the arrow of time. Sir Arthur Eddington in his book, The Nature of the Physical World (1927) wrote,

The law that entropy always increases holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. If someone points out to you that your pet theory of the universe is in disagreement with Maxwell’s equations — then so much the worse for Maxwell’s equations. If it is found to be contradicted by observation — well, these experimentalists do bungle things sometimes. But if your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation.
The second law of thermodynamics depends on the motion of heat. Sadi Carnot was a French mathematician and physicist. He is often described the Father of Thermodynamics. His life was between 1796 to 1832. He started to study the steam engines. He was working to improve the efficiency of these engines. Soon he realized he would never be able to create a perpetual engine, an engine that would work with 100 percent efficiency. In the process he discovered some astounding laws of physics that drive not just the steam engines, but the entire natural world. In 1824, Carnot published a paper titled, ‘Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire’. This paper marks the beginning of thermodynamics as a modern science.

Then the third law of thermodynamics. It states, ‘the entropy of a perfect crystal at absolute zero is exactly equal to zero’. On Kelvin scale, at zero degrees, that is – 273 degrees Celsius, entropy can become zero. That’s interesting, like temperature, entropy can have an absolute minimum value.

So today we have seen the four laws of thermodynamics. You can disprove atheism and Darwinism using these four laws.  If you study the Bible carefully, all four laws are implicitly stated on its pages.

The zeroth law of thermodynamics:

In Genesis chapter 1, we see God creating the universe in 6 days. On Day 1, God created light, time, space and earth; On Day 2, He created atmosphere; On Day 3, dry ground, plants and trees, On Day 4, stars, sun and moon; on Day 5, Fish and birds, and on Day 6, Animals and Adam. God put all of them in thermal equilibrium with each other. That is zeroth law of thermodynamics.

First law of thermodynamics:

Then the first law of thermodynamics. The law of conservation of energy. One atheist wrote to me, “First law states energy cannot be created or destroyed. Therefore, no need for a creator”. Let us say a year ago, you woke up and found a thousand dollar deposit in your bank account. You don’t know who deposited that amount. You wondered, ‘my dad, my mum, my brother, my sister, a gift, a refund, a remuneration? You did not touch it for a year. Then you said, I had a mysterious deposit of over one thousand dollars into my account. Over the last one year, I did not add anything to $1000, I did not subtract anything from $1000. So, I can conclude nobody put $1000 into my account’. You might be preserving the $1000 in the bank account, you don’t know how deposited into your account. But it would be illogical to say that the money came by itself.

Similarly, the first law says energy is conserved. It is neither created nor destroyed. But how did the energy get here in the first place?

Don’t you be happy to know if you realize that someone deposited $1000 into your account like a gift to you? That is how James Joule looked at the first law. James Joule, the scientist who discovered this law stated that this law reflects the goodness and beneficence of God the Creator. God created the original energy as a gift to humanity. He said that not only God created the whole energy of the universe but He also conserved it because without conservation of energy, universe would collapse. James Joule treated science as an enterprise to understand the laws of God’s creation.  He was buried in Brooklands cemetery, Sale, a small town near Manchester, England. On his grave stone we find the words of Jesus from the Gospel of John, ‘I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work’ (9:4)

Apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter 1:20 that the universe is reflecting the eternal power of God. Prophet Isaiah wrote that God knows the number of the stars, God knows each star by its name, that is billions and billions of stars. He knows every galaxy, every star, every black hole and every white hole. He is conserving them all. That’s the first law of thermodynamics.

Second law of thermodynamics:

Then the Second law of thermodynamics. It delivered a fatal blow to atheism and Darwinism. Sadi Carnot (1796 – 1832), the father of thermodynamics, believed in the existence of God based on the second law of thermodynamics. Lord Kelvin also believed in the existence of God based on this law. How? Let us see this under four headings:

The law of causality

The increase in entropy

The Big Bang

The Big Crunch

First, the Second Law affirms the law of causality. It says time has a direction, past, present and future. No one can change that order. Past, Present and Future. First the Cause, then the Affect.

If the universe is the effect, what is the cause? Universe cannot be its own cause. No material cause can be the first cause. Sadi Carnot believed in divine causality. God is the first cause. Because God has no beginning, He is not a product of a cause. So, the question, who made God has no meaning because God has no beginning. In second law of thermodynamics,

time and entropy are going

together with cause preceding

the effect. Because God is

not bound by time, the law

of causality is not applicable

to God. Some atheists say universe came by itself. Such a belief also goes against the law of causality and the second law of thermodynamics. A book cannot be its own cause. I cannot be my own cause. Universe is so big. But it is no exception to the law of causality.

Some atheists say universe is eternal. That belief also violates both law of causality and laws of thermodynamics. According to Second Law of thermodynamics, entropy is increasing. That means, as we move into the future, entropy will increase and as we move into the past, entropy will decrease. Entropy cannot decrease forever. It must have a very low entropy almost zero  at some point in the past. That implies universe has a beginning. If the universe has a beginning, it must have a cause. So, the idea of eternal universe is against science. Some atheists say universe came from multiverse. Multiverse became the last refuge of many atheists. Multi…multi…multi…multiverse. There is no end. First of all there is no empirical evidence for multiverse. Even if we accept the concept of multiverse, it still needs a cause. Let us say, you and your friend are in an apartment. You asked, ‘Who built this apartment?’ Your friend replied, ‘this is not the only apartment in this building. There are over 100 apartments in this building’. Then you will ask, ‘who built this building?’. An apartment needs a builder, a skyscraper with hundred apartments too needs a builder. Atheists try to evade the builder of the universe by throwing multiverse. They think somehow multiverse removes the need for a Creator. They fail to realize that multiverse too has to obey the law of causality and laws of thermodynamics.

Energy alone is not sufficient, you need information: Laws of thermodynamics also deny the possibility of Darwinian evolution. According to Second law, entropy is increasing. Disorder is increasing. Usable energy is decreasing.  Darwinism argues that complex organisms arise from simple organisms. It says order arises out of disorder. That is against the second law of thermodynamics which states disorder arise out of order. Evolutionists say, ‘Second law is no obstacle to Darwinism because there is a constant supply of useful energy from sun to living organisms’. They say, ‘you got matter, then there is energy from the sun, give millions of years, let chance work its ways. Boom…boom, a world full of chimps, giraffes, zebras and human beings will arise’. Chance and matter and energy cannot produce chimps.

Sadi Carnot rejected any role for chance. He said, “What to an ignorant man is chance, cannot be chance to one better instructed,”. What an ignorant man is chance! Darwinism says Chance plus matter plus energy, that’s all we need. What is missing? Information. Energy is useless without information. Life starts with information. Let us say you went for hiking. You walked and walked and your legs are aching, worse, you lost your way. You said to yourself, ‘there is no way I can walk back to my home’. You activated your cell phone and called for help. Someone answered and said, ‘I am sending you 10 gallons of gasoline. That’s lot of energy to bring you home’. You said, ‘What are you talking about? You are sending me gas?  How is that going to help me? I came on a hike, I can’t walk’. The point is, Gas is useless unless you have an engine. And engines don’t come out of chance. They need a designer. Biological systems are highly complex information systems. A biological cell is thousands of times more efficient than the engine of a latest Mercedes-Benz vehicle. It’s irrational to argue that a motor car would arise out of matter through chance. Similarly, it’s irrational to argue that a sophisticated information system like DNA or RNA came through chance alone without intelligence. Sadi Carnot, the father of thermodynamics, rightly said, ‘What an ignorant man is chance’ and in the light of second law of thermodynamics, he believed in the existence of an Intelligent Designer.

It takes energy to create order, but energy alone is not sufficient. You need intelligence. You need information.

Even Lord Kelvin, another founder of thermodynamics rejected atheism and Darwinism based on the laws of thermodynamics. One of the greatest scientists ever lived, Lord Kelvin lived between 1824 and 1907. The Kelvin scale is named after Lord Kelvin. He invented it in 1848. Lord Kelvin, also known as William Thompson was a Scottish physicist. His life was between 1824 and 1907. One of the greatest scientists ever lived, he focused on mathematics, physics, electricity and theology. He was a very devout Christian and always evaluated the implications of physical laws in the light of Bible. He applied the laws of thermodynamics to the theories of Laplace and Darwin.

Pierre Simon Laplace (1749 – 1827) was a French scientist who believed in materialistic determinism, so called Laplace’s demon. He said, ‘universe is eternal, there is no need for God’. Lord Kelvin said, ‘universe cannot be eternal. According to second law, entropy of the universe must irreversibly increase. The disorder must increase to a point when universe will collapse and die a heat death’. Based on second law of thermodynamics, He predicted the end of the universe, so called Big Crunch. He also rejected Darwin’s theory because there is not enough time for evolution to produce complex living organisms.

So, using Second Law, Lord Kelvin showed that the universe has a beginning and an end and the eternal universe proposed by Laplace and other atheists is against evidence. He was a very good student of the Bible and found many references in the Bible that support the second law of thermodynamics. The Bible describes universe as a garment changing with time.

Psalm 19: 1, The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Psalm 102:25-27

Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands.26 They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed:

But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.

Hebrews 1:11, ‘They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they shall all shall wax old as doth a garment’.

The Psalmist described the universe like a garment. A garment which is changing. The psalmist contrasted the universe with the Creator God.  Universe is changing. God is unchanging. The Bible describes the universe like a garment aging with time. That is the Second law of thermodynamics. The universe is aging as its entropy and disorder is increasing.

Third law of thermodynamics:

The third law of thermodynamics states that the entropy of a perfect crystal at absolute zero is exactly equal to zero. There is a minimum possible temperature, absolute zero, at which the entropy is also minimum. There was a time when entropy has a minimum value. When the arrow to time left the bow of creation, entropy was almost zero. That means time must have had a beginning. It takes us back to Genesis chapter 1, on Day of Creation, when God created time. So, the third law of thermodynamics also takes us to God, our Creator.



So, today we have seen the four law of thermodynamics. They encapsulate the most fascinating and most mysterious aspect of our existence in this world: The arrow of time. You don’t have to look into a telescope or microscope or particle accelerator. It is there every time you drink coffee, you eat a meal, you break an egg, you drive a car, you take a nap, you bury a loved one, you build a house: the fundamental irreversibility of events that dominate our lives. Entropy is there with you, you may not feel it like time, temperature, volume, height and weight. But entropy is a critical parameter of our lives. It moves with the arrow of time. This arrow of time connecting us to the very beginning of God’s creation. It is reminding us that there is a day in the future when this universe will end. Blaise Pascal wrote in Pensees, ‘The eternal silence of these infinite spaces fill me with dread’. But thank God, the silence of the infinite spaces is not going to be eternal. It does not have to fill you with dread and fear. When Jesus comes again, as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, this universe will end as demanded by the second law of thermodynamics.

Apostle Paul wrote in Romans chapter 8:22, ‘For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain’. The universe is like a full term pregnant woman in labor. The good news is, the labor is not going to be forever. When the baby is born, she forgets all her pain and travail and smile at her baby. The arrow of time that left the bow of our Creator will not miss its target.

When this universe ends, there will be a new universe. No pain, no evil, no sin, no despair, no disease, no sickness but only the joy, glory, holiness and love of Christ, our Lord and Redeemer. May you accept Him as a your Savior and Lord today.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, our Creator and Redeemer. We see your awesome wisdom in the four laws of thermodynamics. At the fullness of time, you came into this world to save us, to die for our sins, to give us hope of eternal life. We pray for people who are going through different problems today. We ask that you comfort them, strengthen them and lead them. In your blessed name, we pray. Amen.