The Second Law of Thermodynamics
After the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, God put into effect a law of conscience – the knowledge of good and evil. Eve had, in a sense, attained the knowledge she desired.1 It came at a great cost. This law of conscience can be compared with the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that whenever energy is expended, it always tends to flow from a more concentrated to a less concentrated place.
Turn the heat off the hot frying pan. Its heat flows into the cooler air around it. With the cooling of the pan, an increase in entropy2 is taking place, which means the amount of energy to do something useful, like frying an egg, is decreasing. The reverse never happens – the air never surrenders what heat it does have to make the frying pan hotter.
Nor will the children’s room ever spontaneously become clean. Johnnie will have to clean it, expending effort to do so. If he doesn’t, his life in the room will soon make it a pigpen. In fact, he will not ever be able to stop cleaning it, as long as he is using it, unless he is content to live in a mess. Shall we lock the door and let no one in? It would soon become dusty, musty, and moldy. Decay is in the air. Decay is everywhere, and must be resisted by everyone in every way. And in the end, decay wins: we die.
So, is life futile, without point? No! The struggle against (or acceptance of) that decay determines our eternal destiny! That’s what it’s all about – this thing called life. Of course, it is not about our rooms, it’s about our consciences. How hard it is to maintain a good conscience in the face of the many temptations of life! It’s comparable to the struggle necessary to have a healthy life. It takes exercise, drinking water, and eating good food in the face of all the temptations to do the opposite. This first life will end, no matter how well we live it. The second life (or second death) will never end, according to the condition, not of our bodies at the end of our life, but of our consciences.
Just do nothing to maintain your car, home, or room, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, and wears out. And that is how the Second Law of Thermodynamics applies to every realm of life – physical, social, emotional, mental, and spiritual. We have to maintain what is good in the face of temptation, suffering, decay, even the death of our loved ones. We have to never let go of the truth we instinctively know, even when everyone else around us does.
This struggle was given mankind by God in hope that through it men and women would retain the worth they were made with. Apart from the effort that struggle requires, the moral nature of men and women decays. It is as inevitable as the decay of their bodies. Human beings can’t keep suppressing their conscience – if they do, the energy of their life dissipates, and so does their worth. As the entropy of their life increases, the amount of energy to do what is right and turn away from wrong decreases. Eventually, nothing of value is left. Repression has taken place. And the lake of fire is where all that is worthless will be burned, those of no account to their Creator (Rev 21:8). The reason for this judgment was that they made themselves of “no account.” They were not born that way.
Instead, when you do wrong, you have to admit it, “I was wrong, I’m not going to do it again.” This admission does not release you from paying for your sin in the first death, but it is the only way to maintain the integrity of your conscience after you have not listened to it. Otherwise decay rules your soul and not just your body. It is the undisputed master of your body. In the Fall, the second law of thermodynamics rules all. But it is our choices that determine whether it takes our souls along with it. The wages of sin is still death. The first death awaits even those who struggle to maintain their conscience. There is no way else for them to deal with their sins other than to pay for them in death. Those who have made themselves worthless will not be able to pay.
Men must live by this second law to maintain their conscience. No one can lead a perfect life, but still they can maintain their conscience and do good. Not all men are as evil as they can be, but some are. They are as evil as they can be. For example, Alexander the Great was probably as evil as he could be, controlled by his desires. Other people in history and on Earth today have almost reached their full potential of evil, but no one has reached their full potential of doing good in the world. No natural man ever has. No one is as good as they could be. They have fallen short.
Every man has fallen short of the glory of God. So, not all men are as evil as they could be, and no one is as good as he could be. But all have sinned to one degree or another. We see that all men have sinned and the wages of sin is death (Rom 3:23; 6:23). All men have sinned and have fallen short – but some have fallen shorter than others. It is just according to how God judges what short means, and long, in the judgment of man. It all gets down to the motive, either good or bad, which is eventually revealed in our deeds:
God “will render to each one according to his deeds: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Rom 2:6-10,12-16; see also Rev 20:12-15)