by Patrick R. Briney, Ph.D.
The first law of thermodynamics states that energy is not created or destroyed. It can be changed into different forms, but there is no gain or loss of energy. Thus, the first law of thermodynamics is sometimes called the law of conservation of energy.
This principle derives from the study of the physical properties of energy, and therefore, states the condition of energy as it is understood in our physical world.
It is an established scientific law because there are no known experimental exceptions to suggest that energy can be created or destroyed. It has been studied and analyzed by thousands of scientists for over two hundred years. Observation shows that the universe exists in many forms of energy, such as matter, light, and heat, but there are no known physical conditions whereby energy can be or is created. The obvious question often asked is, “Where did this energy come from?”
According to the first law of thermodynamics, the physical properties of the universe cannot create energy. Yet energy exists.
Accepting that the first law of thermodynamics is the empirically derived conclusion that energy is conserved and establishes the inability of physical properties to create more energy, the logical deduction is that the origin of the universe is best explained by means of supernatural creation. The physical properties of matter are not capable of producing more energy.
The creation science model conforms to the scientific data, explains the evidence, and does not contradict the scientific law. I like to sum the conclusion in four points.
- Energy was not created by natural (physical) means.
- Yet, the universe exists as energy.
- If the energy of the universe was not created naturally, then it must have been created supernaturally.
- The creation model conforms to the data.
Some object that concluding a supernatural origin of energy is unscientific. They justify this criticism by saying that the supernatural cannot be tested. But this objection fails to acknowledge that it is the scientific observations and method that lead to this conclusion. Confusion about the scientific conclusion for the supernatural origin of energy is resolved by recognizing the difference between being able to determine the mechanism of how energy was created, from being able to determine that energy was created supernaturally. We do not have to how something happened in order to know that it did happen.
In contrast to the creation science model, the evolution model proposes that the universe originated by natural means. However, this conclusion contradicts the first law of thermodynamics, which says energy is not created by natural means. Therefore, evolution is proposing an explanation that contradicts a known scientific law and thus, does not qualify as a credible scientific model for the origin of the universe.
Models that contradict laws of science are normally discarded or modified to conform to data, but evolution continues to prevail in spite of the evidence. This suggests that evolution is preferred by some, not because it is credible, but because it conforms to their personal belief system. The following four point argument summarizes how evolution contradicts the first law of thermodynamics.
- Evolution proposes strictly natural (physical) explanations.
- The natural explanation for the origin of energy contradicts a natural law.
- Explanations that contradict laws of science are unscientific.
- Therefore, evolution as an explanation for the origin of energy is unscientific.
Some evolutionists defend the evolution model for the universe arguing that an undiscovered law exists to explain the origin of energy by natural means. In other words, they believe that evolution is a legitimate model of science because of the hope for finding an unknown law. In some cases, models persist with this anticipation. But, never has a model been considered legitimate when it contradicted known evidence and much less a law. This is a desperate attempt to excuse not only the lack of evidence but to defend a conclusion that contradicts a known scientific law. This is not good science.
The creation science model for the origin of the universe rests firmly on a known, demonstrable law of science. The Evolution model rests on excuses for the absence of evidence and in contradiction to a known law.
Second Law of Thermodynamics
To avoid the obvious contradiction with the first law of thermodynamics, some evolutionists contend that energy was not created. They say it always existed.
However, the second law of thermodynamics prevents this from being a valid explanation. It states that there is no natural means to increase the net usable energy in a closed (isolated) system. In other words, the net flow of energy in any closed system ultimately tends to entropy (disorder, chaos).
Entropy is energy in its lowest state and, subsequently, unusable form. It is sometimes described as the disorder or chaos of a system. A closed system refers to the absence of external influences to increase usable energy or to reverse entropy. For example, if a clock is placed inside of a sealed container to prevent someone from winding it up again, the clock can be described as being in a closed system. When the spring inside the clock winds down, there is no more usable energy available to the clock to make it continue ticking. As long as the clock remains in a closed system, it will not tick again. However, if the clock system is opened, and someone winds the clock up, then the clock can begin to tick again.
Because the universe as a whole is a closed system, the net energy flow is ultimately tending to the final form of maximum entropy. It is winding down just like a clock. The final state of entropy is heat, therefore the universe is said to be experiencing “heat death.” The sun and the stars are burning out, and organized matter is decaying. Since the universe is winding down and the second law of thermodynamics states that the net usable energy in a closed system cannot be increased by the physical properties of the universe, one is led to the logical conclusion that the initial organized or low entropy state of energy originated supernaturally.
In other words, because the universe is winding down, it must have originally been wound up–supernaturally. It is unnatural and physically impossible for the net useable energy in a closed system to increase. Based on the second law of thermodynamics, the creation model is the best explanation. This model explains the evidence, is supported by the evidence, and does not contradict a known scientific law. The argument can be summed as follows.
- There is no natural means to increase the net usable energy in a closed system such as the universe.
- The universe is decreasing in usable energy meaning that its initial energy existed in a greater usable and organized state.
- If the initial usable energy in the universe was not increased by natural means, then it must have originated supernaturally.
- The creation model conforms to the data.
In contrast to the creation science model, evolution proposes that the low entropy state of the universe originated by natural means. This model contradicts a known scientific law which states that there is no natural means whereby entropy can be decreased in a closed system. Any model that contradicts a scientific law is clearly not a credible model.
The persistence of such an irrational conclusion is due solely because of stubborn adherence to a faulty belief system. The creation model rests on solid, known scientific data, whereas the evolution model rests on an irrational belief in spite of its contradiction to a known scientific law.
The following four points show the problem with a natural explanation for the origin of the universe.
- Evolution proposes that the entropy was reduced in the universe by physical properties in the universe.
- Proposing that entropy was reduced in the universe by physical properties in the universe contradicts the second law of thermodynamics.
- Explanations that contradict data are unscientific.
- Therefore, evolution as an explanation for the origin of reduced entropy in the universe is unscientific.
In light of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, the best explanation for the origin of the universe is the Creation science model. It explains the known data, is supported by known data, and does not contradict laws of science. This is good science and good scientific modeling.
Concerning models offered in conflict with the second law of thermodynamics, British astronomer Arthur Eddington said, “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.” (Arthur S. Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World (Macmillan, 1930, p. 74).
Gordon Van Wylen, Chairman of the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan commented that, “The question that arises is how the universe got into the state of reduced entropy in the first place, since all natural processes known to us tend to increase entropy?” (Gordon Van Wylen and Richard Edwin Sonntag, Fundamentals of Classical Thermodynamics, 1973). He concludes by saying, “The author has found that the second law [of thermodynamics] tends to increase conviction that there is a Creator ….”