111. SOCIAL AND POLITICAL CYCLES: ENERGY AND ENTROPY; THE SPIRIT AND THE FLESH
Cycles ‘r us. There are many cycles in nature, without which there couldn’t be any life – water cycle, weather cycles, oxygen/carbon dioxide cycle, nitrogen cycle, etc. These cycles are related to the flow of gases or liquids, changes of state, or transfer of heat. They are types of thermodynamic cycles. There are many anatomical structures in plants and animals that have the design of a circle, sphere, or coil. Rotation of planets and moons in their orbits are cyclic. Seasons are cyclic. Moon phases are cyclic. Many insect and other animal life patterns are cyclic. Hormones go up and down in cyclic fashion. Atomic structure is made up of electrons traveling in space in special areas of probability that are cyclic in shape – sphere, ellipse, dumbbell, etc. The smallest cycle on record comes from string theory. All these cycles operate according to natural law.
The same principles operate both in relatively simple cycles as well as more complex ones. That is why the observations of the life cycle of a bacterial colony isolated from an outside source of energy is relevant in principle to larger, more involved cycles. Cycles of smaller frequencies make up cycles of larger frequencies which make up still larger and larger cycles. It difficult to conceive that a cycle of seasons in a year would be composed of millions upon millions of smaller cycles that all add up in a very precise way and in an integrated pattern, all under the same laws of nature. Heat transfer – thermodynamics. We get our outside energy from the sun – heat transfer. There are solar cycles, also.
Thermodynamics. The concept of cycles takes on a metaphysical character in considering economic cycles, business cycles, political cycles, social cycles, cycles of dress style, cycles of moral ethics – all of which are based on human behavior and attitudes – mainly from brain and mind functions of humans. But all these go back to the thermodynamics of neurotransmitter chemistry and how humans think about the environmental cycles they find themselves in. Cycles do not dictate or control human behavior; humans are in control of their behavior by the choices they make based on their reaction and thinking about the physical cycles.
Perhaps there should be a book written, The Effect of Thermodynamics on the Sociopolitical Cycle Named “The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire.” The Rise and Fall of Capitalism. The Rise and Fall of Organized Institutional Religion. But social cycles involve the thermodynamic principle of entropy and energy just the same as prevailed over the bacterial culture. Niall Ferguson has written books on the rise and fall of empires with special emphasis on the West and present America – Civilization (The West and the Rest), Colossus (The Price of America’s Empire), and The War of the World (Twentieth-Century Conflict and the Descent of the West).
Social cycles seem long compared to our life time but not in the span of civilization .
Some social cycles were mentioned as examples in previous posts – a life cycle, a church cycle, a business cycle, a population cycle, and the cycle of Noah and the Great Flood.
In this post we will consider two more sociopolitical cycles – a historical one from the period of the Judges of Israel described in the Old Testament and a second one under current public circulation.
 The Period of Judges
Joshua led the Israelites into an organized and systematic conquest of the Promised Land (Judges 1). The people were faithful to God throughout the lifetime of Joshua and the first generation of elders how outlived him, because they had seen the great things God had done for Israel (Jdg. 2:7). But then another generation grew up that did not know God or what He had done for them, and they began to disobey and to follow idols. Some of the tribes had not completely driven out all of the inhabitants of Canaan as God had commanded, and God said because of this disobedience these people and their false gods would be a constant problem for the Israelites.
After this declaration, the Israelites went through almost 300 years of sociopolitical cycles with the same repeating pattern – things go well, Israel gets complacent, Israel disobeys and worships idols, God withdraws protection, Israelites get overrun by Canaanites, Israel gets oppressed, Israel recognizes and repents, Israel turns and cries out to God, God hears and raises a judge who fights the oppressors and delivers Israel, Israel enjoys period of peace, judge dies, Israel gets disobedient. Leaders between Joshua and Saul (King) were Othniel (Jdg. 3:9), Ehud (Jdg. 3:15), Shamgar (Jdg. 3:31), Deborah (Jdg. 4:5), Gideon (Jdg. 6:36), Abimelech (Jdg. 9:1), Tola (Jdg. 10.1), Jair (Jdg. 10:3), Jephthah (Jdg. 11:11), Isban (Jdg. 12:8), Elon (Jdg. 12:11)), Abdon (Jdg. 12:13), Samson (Jdg. 16:30), Eli (1 Sam. 4:18), and Samuel (1 Sam. 7:15).
Typical phrases during these cycles were “the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the Lord;” “the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, so He ………. ;” “…and they were subject to ….. for …. Years;” “and Israel cried out to the Lord who raised another deliverer…..;” “and there was peace in the land for …. years;” “again Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord.”
Similar cycles persisted throughout the period of kings and captivity.
 The “Tytler Cycle”
Another example of a sociopolitical cycle with many similarities to a bacterial life cycle is the so-called “Tytler Cycle.” This is the subject of a lot of semi-correct/semi-hoax emails that are used to promote a particular political position under the misname “Tyler Cycle.” Tytler was a real person and he said some real things that are interesting, but the shape of the story has morphed, particularly in the last 12 or so years.
Alexander Fraser Tytler (1747-1813) was a Scottish lawyer, historian, writer, and Professor of Universal History add Greek and Roman Antiquities at the University of Edinburgh. Tytler was very critical of democracy as a workable political philosophy, not necessarily because the method couldn’t work, but because it would always be corrupted by people who would make it fail. He said the Athenian democracy worked only for upper classes who were in control and could exercise corruption and plunder the public money. He said that a democracy “never did, and never could exist” because man maintains a self interest and love of power characteristics of “inferior animals.”
Tytler believed that democratic forms of government such as those of Greece and Rome have a natural evolution from initial virtue toward eventual corruption and decline. In Greece, for example, Tytler argues that "the patriotic spirit and love of ingenious freedom ... became gradually corrupted as the nation advanced in power and splendor." Tytler goes on to generalize: "Patriotism always exists in the greatest degree in rude nations, and in an early period of society. Like all other affections and passions, it operates with the greatest force where it meets with the greatest difficulties ... but in a state of ease and safety, as if wanting its appropriate nourishment, it languishes and decays." ... "It is a law of nature to which no experience has ever furnished an exception, that the rising grander and opulence of a nation must be balanced by the decline of its heroic virtues. (emphasis mine).
About 200 years later, Tytler was “helped” to express these views a little more “modernly” in the 1970’s by people taking other quotes from 20-30 years before and forming a summary quote and a diagram of a cycle.The diagram below is commonly known as the "Tytler Cycle" or the "Fatal Sequence." The first known, and apparently original, publication was in a 1943 speech "Industrial Management in a Republic” by H. W. Prentis, president of the Armstrong Cork Company and former president of the National Association of Manufacturers.
A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
Since 2000, the cycle diagram and the editorialized Tytler “quotes” have been posted and emailed in criticism of the person who happened to be President at that particular time.
Although the cycle diagram and the quotes do not seem to be of genuine verbatim Tytler authorship, the more recent creations do capture the gist of Tytler’s view of the eventual fate of a democracy being related to the moral failings of a human society. Humans begin to impose their basic competitive, selfish, and greedy nature on the structure of the government, and they devise methods of control and corruption to get their way and to get an advantage of power over others. Tytler’s reference to the “law of nature” that a nation’s opulence and prosperity is inversely related to its moral and ethical structure is a description identical with what we are calling social, political, or ethical entropy. That which is isolated (left to itself) will degenerate and decay.
If Tytler’s statement that "It is a law of nature to which no experience has ever furnished an exception” applies to social entropy, then an eventual corruption and decay within society is inevitable, if the society is left to itself without any spiritual or moral power source outside the isolated system. Things left to themselves naturally run down.
The purpose of showing Tytler’s cycle is not to discuss the politics of a democracy. There are several points that can be made from the cycles representing changes in society – (1) relationship between cycle characteristics and an energy/entropy cycle, (2) comparison of the progression of behavior in the cycle with the works of the flesh and the works of the Spirit listed in scripture, and (3) comparison between the sociopolitical cycle and the life cycle of a bacterial colony.
Effects of energy vs. entropy on a society.
As a generalization, society behaviors that are on the right side of the cycle diagram resemble those described as “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5) or characteristics of the “new self controlled by the Spirit” (Eph. 4). Those behaviors on the left side of the cycle resemble descriptions of the “works of the flesh” or the deeds of “the old man of sin.” Works of the flesh are associated with increasing social entropy, while fruit of the Spirit is associated with a supply of energy from outside the system.
In addition, there are similarities between the progression of the Tytler (or a similar) cycle and the life cycle of a bacterial colony. Both situations have essentially the same cycle characteristics when operating in a system isolated from an outside energy source. To survive, the bacterial colony needs the intervention of an outside source of superior intelligence and supernatural energy; and the colony of human society needs the same. Otherwise they both develop into the death phase of accumulation of entropy – one is chemical entropy and the other more of a social or spiritual entropy.
But the need for an outside energy source is one of the parallels from the laws operating in physical realm and the spiritual realm. God has revealed how He operates in both realms, but it takes both physical and spiritual discernment to see the relationship.
1 Cor, 2:12 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14 The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.
If any should be able to see these relationships between the physical and spiritual realms it would be Christians. How are we doing with that? Are we too busy protecting our private interpretation from scientific contamination to see the truth? Are people too busy trying to find fault with those people who believe in something supernatural? What about if the truth is in both and incomplete in either one by itself? Both sides of the argument are blinded to their view and cannot see the value of the other side. If a blind man leads himself, he may fall into a pit. “If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” Matt 15:14)
What about a society that became so successful and resource-rich that it began to credit itself for the accomplishments rather than an “outside source of energy” -- God? What if this “great society” even began to redefine the past to make history in education more consistent with present human self-glorification? What if this society began to reinterpret not only history, but also the law, so that the separation of church and state should become not a protection of religion but a separation and isolation of religion as a clearer target for discrimination? What, if through political, academic, and legal means, the role or meaning of God were removed from public places -- such as in courthouses, parks, and schools -- and this action was favorably portrayed by the media as smart and good? If the outside source of energy for society is removed, what is left to take over? Entropy. The snowball gets larger as society continues to do it to itself.
1 Cor. 1:17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
Some observations from the above verses – God’s wisdom and ways are not the same as what humans considered wisdom in their own eyes. Power is represented in the cross of Christ, which is nonsense to those whose understanding is limited by thermodynamic. These people have chosen to not avail themselves of the power of God that transcends the laws of the physical universe. They ridicule it. Yet, because of their chosen isolation, they are perishing. But they are not aware of it, because they are too “wise.” “Perishing” is in the present tense, not future, as in eternal judgment. Why do natural things “perish” in a system of thermodynamic isolation? They are subject to the destiny of natural entropy. The cycle of human effort, wisdom, and entropy will continue to play out over and over, just as in the past.
One might ask, “If we have the sun as an outside energy source for the earth, then we are not thermodynamically isolated. We have the sun; why do we need the Son? In the following passages Jesus differentiates between those things that are of this earth, and subject to entropy, and those things which are outside of the physical reaches of natural law.
Matt 4:4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Deut. 8:3 …man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Matt. 6:19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Show me the sermon. All of this discussion about isolated physical system subject to entropy and supernatural spiritual power which is not subject to natural law are based on the scripture and include examples of sociopolitical cycles that seemed to follow these rules. Everything fits into a nice package of presentation, but by itself it doesn’t mean anything. It’s all theoretical until somebody or some group demonstrates that it is true. “Let’s see your power. Let’s see you be different and have different outcomes than everyone else. Let’s see you rise above entropy. Let’s see you make this real by living it out in front of everyone to see. Let’s see if you believe your own message.”
Who are we talking to? The church. When the church lives in Holy Spirit power and demonstrates the outside energy of God to overcome entropy in the world as Jesus did and when the world can see the difference between the physical and the spiritual, all of these scriptures and interpretations fall into place. If there is little/no difference between the church and the world, if the values of the world invade the church with postmodern humanism, if the church shows nothing more than what the world can see in itself, then all these scriptures and interpretations about supernatural power can RIP. “If they don’t make any difference in your life, why should I think it would make a dime’s worth of difference in mine?”
Any signs of entropy?
The “I’m against that” theology. Christians have established a greater reputation in the world for what they are “against” than for demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ and what difference that makes in overcoming entropy. Christians are known more for being against science, against genetic research, against environmental protection, against discovery, against abortion, against “alternate lifestyles,” against miracles today, against, against, against. “Well, Jesus was against some things.” Yes, but that wasn’t what He was known for and that is not what He prayed for in John 17 --that His followers would be known for their love, peace and unity in the body of Christ. If the church were known are for something that is working so well that it is obvious to everyone (like righteousness, truth, love, peace, unity, and joy), we wouldn’t have to be “against” so many things. In fact, we would be so busy doing what glorifies Jesus that we wouldn’t have time to concentrate on the “Ministry of What We Are Against.” Instead of wearing the letters “WWAA,” Christians could place more meaning behind “WWJD.”
There are a number of sinful behaviors that are contrary to scripture that the church is (or has been) “against.” But, instead of “speaking the truth in love” (a sign of maturity of the church Eph 4:15), the church comes out “against” certain things, and the church opens itself up to attacks of hypocrisy and intolerance. These are not true but are responses back to the rather judgmental approach that the church has taken. So, what is the church doing? Instead of renewing its approach to conform to the love of Jesus, the church begins to tolerate the sin -- and not only tolerate the sin in the church, but adopt it as such in their doctrine and appoint those with that behavior to the ministry and “clergy.”
Instead of changing from preaching to the world in an unloving way to a more Christ-like approach, the church just adopts what the world does. That’s not the reason to leave behind a condemning attitude – the reason is that Jesus didn’t condemn(John ), and not because the church negotiates the scripture and takes on the world’s behavioral standard.
Postmodern humanism has been seeping into the church. Now much of the institutionalized church is opening the door and asking the human value system to come in so it can be made the standard operating procedure instead of the scripture. What was considered bad behavior becomes more acceptable. More people do it; it becomes the norm. This is like replacing the power of the Holy Spirit with natural entropy.
Irresponsible use of freedom. Freedom is based on responsible behavior and use of the freedom. A small fraction of those with bad behavior take advantage of the freedom everyone with selfish immorality. This corruption gets laws passed that place restrictions on the entire group, or sometimes the freedom may be cancelled altogether. The old law pointed out sin, and that may everyone want to sin or see how close they could get to it. More laws define the limit of behavior, so people push to see what they can get away with, whether it is the athlete trying to get an illegal move past a referee, a person buying booze and cigarettes with food stamps, or a misrepresentation of a product to get more sales. More bad behavior gives more laws gives more bad behavior of a higher sophistication and technology. This is moral entropy. As bad behavior continues, its effects accumulate. It is not self-correcting. The effects of bad behavior in a society build up like DDT in the liver.
Prov. 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
112. WILL WE FIND ENERGY OR ENTROPY ON OUR “ROAD TO EMMAUS?”
Physical entropy and spiritual energy -
The interface. There seems to have been a lot of activity across the interface between the physical and spiritual realms associated with the resurrection of Jesus -- perhaps activity involving material transfers between parallel universes.
Some see angels and some do not. In the account of the discovery of the empty tomb in John 20, when Mary Magdalene reported to the disciples that the stone covering the tomb entrance had been removed, Peter and John ran to the tomb to see for themselves. They entered the tomb and found it empty, with only the physical evidence of Jesus’ grave clothes. The disciples left, but Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb and cried. When Mary Magdalene looked inside the tomb, she saw two angels sitting where Jesus’ body once was, and she even conversed with them.
The account in Luke has a slightly different order of events, with Mary Magdalene together with other women discovering the tomb, talking to angels, and reporting these events to the disciples. Peter examined the tomb of himself, but found only the physical grave clothes.
It’s interesting to speculate why Mary Magdalene saw and verbally interacted with angels when Peter and John apparently never knew they existed. Was any physical recognition of the angels hidden from the disciples but not to Mary Magdalene? Did the angels appear and disappear? Were they present all the time but were just not perceived by Peter or John? What does is this mean – when something from the spiritual realm is perceptible to one person but not to another? Was the doubt of the disciples greater than that of Mary? Are women intrinsically more spiritually discerning than men? Angels were seen by the disciples at the ascension of Jesus (Acts 1:10-11).
Physical appearance of Jesus. Something must have been physically different about Jesus after His resurrection; people consistently had trouble identifying Him. When they did recognize Him, it was after He had provided sensory information other than just visual – something that “spoke to them” on their level. Perhaps they were so not expecting Him that they blotted out even the possibility. Mary Magdalene did not recognize Jesus outside the tomb until He spoke her name (John 20:14-16). Jesus appeared to his disciples to His disciples in a locked room, and they recognized Him when he showed them His hands and feet (John 20:19-20) and ate a fish while they watched (Luke 24:40-42). On one occasion, Jesus was on the shore while the disciples were out in the lake fishing, but no one recognized Him until He provided a massive catch of fish, like He had done before (John 21:6-7, 12).
Another of these instances involving the physical presence of Jesus occurred on the road to Emmaus, as experienced by two men who apparently knew all about the current events and were also close acquaintances with the 11 disciples.
On the Road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-36)
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days?”
19“What things?” he asked.
“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”
25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus acted as if he were going farther. 29But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.31Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
33 They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together 34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
There are many interesting lessons that can be drawn from this account of the interaction with Jesus. We will concentrate more on those observations that can illustrate opportunities for generating entropy within an isolated physical system or energy from outside.
Twelve steps from entropy to energy. Notice the progression of 12 steps during the development of the account of this interaction with Jesus.
 The men discussed the information they had from an entirely human perspective.
 The men were so involved in human thinking that they didn’t even recognize Jesus, except as another human.
 They were willing to include Jesus (as a human) in their discussion.
 Since, in their own minds, they were obviously knowledgeable and Jesus was not, the men began to lecture Jesus.
 They included all the details in an accurate description of events to Jesus, but their analysis of their information reflected only humanistic thinking.
 The men revealed that they were viewing current events though a traditional doctrine that had been locally accepted – taught and endorsed by both Jewish leaders and followers.
 Jesus took the same information that they had incorrectly interpreted from their human viewpoint and taught them a new interpretation – one from the perspective of God.
 Even though the two men must have been pretty impressed by the insights and wisdom of this person who just “randomly” appeared on their walk to Emmaus, they still did not recognize the person of Jesus – they remained on the knowledge/data/reason level.
 However, to their credit, they were impressed enough to want to continue the conversation when they stopped for the night.
 The light dawned on them at the point when the information went from cognitive reasoning to cognitive intuition – they recognized the example, the action of Jesus breaking the bread and praying – something that they had experienced before – they recognized the person of Jesus when they had fellowship with Him– when they had personally experienced the power of His presence.
 They realized in retrospect that their hearts were burning because of the presence of Jesus, but they didn’t recognize it, perhaps because they were still too caught up in their humanistic interpretations.
 Because of the power of this experience with the person of Jesus, they were motivated to share the news with others.
This was a process of Gather, Grow, Go. They gathered information and heard the words of Jesus; they spiritually grew when they had fellowship with the person of Jesus; they went and told others about their encounter with Jesus.
Just a little more discussion. These two men knew their facts – they were knowledgeable about all the details of current events. There was no shortage of information – they just couldn’t understand the data; they couldn’t see the plan. It was confusing; it just didn’t make any sense. It was confusing because they were bound by their traditional doctrinal interpretations – by the established and accepted hermeneutic of the day – proven and taught and passed down by the experts at the academic institutions and by the synagogue editors and the gurus at central headquarters. The Messiah was to come to free Israel from the bondage of Rome and establish it as its own kingdom. Things were going great, with miracles of healing and feeding of multitudes – until He got himself killed – now everything was in a tailspin. And now they said He’s missing? All this information did not fit with their preconceived ideas. But they had their facts straight, and they “knew” how things were supposed to be. Then walked up this person who knew nothing. “What? Do we have to explain it to you? What zone are you from, anyway? Oh, okay. Good thing we’re patient people.”
Jesus set them straight on how to interpret the events in the light of scripture – information that obviously they had never heard before. The text doesn’t say that they understood what Jesus said, that they were convinced by it, or that they got sensory overload and couldn’t comprehend it. But it does say they had a heart reaction to the power of the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had dealt with both their cognitive intuition as well as their cognitive reasoning. Their hearts had burned within them. Still, by continuing to operate in their intellectual, humanistic, traditionally interpretive mode, they did not recognize Jesus, even though He was standing and walking with them.
They had plenty of head knowledge. They had had it explained to them by an expert – an off-line personal tutorial and remedial instruction by God, Himself. But, at that time, they were still in the entropy of their brain-locked human thinking, and, if given a final exam of what they had retained, they would have failed.
The power of the energy of God wasn’t received until there was a personal knowledge and recognition of Jesus, Himself. They had to recognize who He was, not just what He was about.
They did not receive power until they had established a fellowship relationship with the body of Jesus Christ.
What they did not do. The men did not argue about who was sitting closest to Jesus. They did not divide over an argument about who was the greatest. They didn’t fight about who had a doctrine that was closer to the truth. They didn’t argue over a church name, a church doctrine, how often the bread should be broken, or whether or not women could be invited. They did not go get their ecclesiastical robes or which one had been dunked the further under the water when baptized. They didn’t compete for approval or argue about who God liked better.
How could they have done these things? They had been in the presence of Jesus; they had had fellowship with Jesus – the actual body of Christ. How could they even think about competition between themselves or division? They thought of the impact the presence of Jesus had made on them, and they hurried back to Jerusalem, even though it was probably dark by that time and travel was risky.
They recognized the body of Jesus Christ when He broke bread and prayed.
The source of power for the church today is the body of Christ -- the same as on the road to Emmaus. Unity brings the power of the Holy Spirit – the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:24). This is what the church did when it was first established.
Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
The men on the road to Emmaus would have been mired in entropy if they had never recognized
Jesus. What if they had let Jesus go on His way; what if they had not invited him to stay? What if they had been too busy thinking about their own private human interpretations and had only been hearing Jesus intellectually? What if they had been thinking about their business in Emmaus? What if they never had fellowship with the body of Christ? What if they wanted to have a church split and meet with Jesus privately, because the other person wasn’t worthy? They would have gone down the path of destruction to entropy.
What about the church today? What sort of fellowship goes on within the body of Christ? Does the church today recognize the body of Christ or does the church split it up? Are there parts of the body of Christ that would not observe the fellowship of communion with another part? Are there parts of the body that do not recognize other parts as even being of the body?
1 Cor. 11:27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32 When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
The men on the road to Emmaus could have kept thinking about their doctrine and their hermeneutic and their traditional way of interpreting the scripture concerning the coming of the Messiah. They could have stayed in their preconceived ideas handed down to them from their religious leaders. Jesus could have given them an interesting intellectual lesson on scriptural interpretation. Jesus could have then gone on His way and the men on their way to Emmaus. They knew the scriptures; they had the head knowledge. But they had not transitioned head knowledge to the heart until their eyes were opened to see Jesus.
What do the eyes of the institutionalized church see today? Can the church see past the walls of its own buildings? Can the church see past the name of a particular group or denomination? Can the organized groups who call themselves the body of Christ see past their own doctrinal beliefs, past their own traditions, past their own hermeneutic to recognize the true body of Christ? Can the various groups within the body of Christ maintain the fellowship of Jesus and receive the power of God by the Holy Spirit dwelling within the church? Or, will the parts of the body of Christ divide and compete and not accept one another as even being in the body?
Do our hearts burn within us, or do our hearts only burn when in the church building on Sundays during “praise and worship?” Then do we head for Emmaus, and Jesus is free to go about His other business?
Humanistic thinking produces the works of the flesh, adversarial relations, selfishness, competitiveness, conflict, and division and entropy, which yields destruction.
Order is the opposite or disorder or confusion; peace is the opposite of chaos and conflict; unity is the opposite of division. Things in the natural realm obey the laws of thermodynamics. As things increase in entropy, things become less ordered and more chaotic.
Fellowship within the body of Christ produces the power of the Holy Spirit undiluted by division. The power within church comes from the cycle of love, peace, and unity.
How is this one working for us? Is the church reaping energy or entropy unto itself?
113. SOME BLOGS DESCRIBING ENTROPY IN THE CHURCH (WITHOUT USING THE WORD)
RossDouthat published an article in the New York Times Sunday Review about the reduced membership in those churches considered practitioners of liberal Christianity and uses the Episcopal church as an example.
Douthat says -- …the Episcopal Church looks … [as if it] … adopted every reform ever urged … by liberal pundits and theologians. It still has priests and bishops, altars and stained-glass windows. But it is flexible to the point of indifference on dogma, friendly to sexual liberation in almost every form, willing to blend Christianity with other faiths, and eager to downplay theology entirely in favor of secular political causes.
Paraphrasing Douthat somewhat --Liberal churches have adopted worldly standards so as to be seeker friendly, but that has failed because membership has declined, anyway.
The comments following this post are also interesting. The comments of some admit this is a problem. Some defend the liberal position and say they would not go to church otherwise. One, who went through membership in such liberal Christian groups into atheism, asked why he should go to a church to get the same thing he could get without church. One justified the liberal church by asking where else could one get such up-to-date discussions about social concerns and great classical music.
Atheists can sometimes ask the most relevant questions about the church. When the church changes to be like the world, why should the world bother with the church? The church just represents another building in which to have a concert or provide a pretty background for some wedding pictures. Listen to the concert over your iPod and get married while skydiving.
Jay Guin then takes this article to another step in a post saying that conservative churches shouldn’t think they are any better off. A decline and a little slower decline are still both in the same direction.
Our standard is not negotiable and flexible relative to comparisons to one another; our standard is the Lord Jesus Christ.
While liberal churches offer little more than secular wisdom, the more conservative churches offer little more than a free pass to heaven conditioned on regular attendance and tithing. Some will even throw in cappuccinos and Pilates in case the promise of heaven isn’t enough to get you there on time. Attendance is the number one goal, you see.
Let’s be honest. Most churches have been highly secularized, even those that teach inerrancy from the pulpit every Sunday. If the motivator for Christianity is to form relationships, or to get to heaven, or to keep a book of rules to earn our way into heaven, or to look down on others who are less perfect in their biblical understanding, or to feel superior because we paint houses for the poor, then we’re selfish people acting selfishly, hoping to be rewarded for our superiority. It’s not going to happen.
None of this remotely resembles the Christianity taught by Jesus.
The above posts and the comments are worth reading, because, even though the word is not used, they both describe a process of increasing entropy. The church that sows to the flesh shall from the flesh reap entropy. Changes in internal attitudes and thinking precede changes that are more obvious externally. A decreasing attendance in churches isn’t because all the people made the decision last week to do something else other than go to church. This has been coming and developing for many years as more and more churches decided to pattern their doctrinal gospel after the world.
We have said that God is the only definition of righteousness. God is righteous, and He is the definition. He alone is righteous, so He alone is truly holy. We have said that one of the characteristics of righteous is “perfect balance.” When churches concentrate on one fragment of the doctrine and circle and defend that doctrine instead of continuing to be led into all the truth (John 16:13), these churches are not reflecting the righteousness (perfect balance) of God. Unity in the body of Christ is when all parts of the body put their fragmentary viewpoints together. The power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the church is revealed through unity of the body, which is what Jesus prayed for (John 17). That is power; that is energy; that is a power source outside our isolated system. What about parts of the body defending their view and castigating others for not agreeing with them? What about parts of the body that would not accept other parts as legitimate members of the universal church? What about division that produces confusion and chaos and selfish ambition and idolatry of doctrine?
Imbalance and competition and the chaos it produces reflect increasing entropy. It is the work of the flesh. The scripture calls it sin, and the scripture says what direction sin is travelling.
Some parts of the body emphasize compassion and a “social gospel.” Other parts emphasize prayer and external manifestations of God’s power. Other parts emphasize eternal salvation and a relationship with Christ. Other parts emphasize obedience and a careful exegesis of the word. Other parts emphasize scholarly investigations into the scripture as it was written and understood by the people who received the message. Some emphasize grace, some emphasize works. Are all of these topics in the scripture? Didn’t Jesus give a command to do these things and didn’t He give examples of doing them Himself? It’s all important, but none of these things are important in and of themselves – they are products and fruit of the Spirit when we put Jesus Christ as Lord. Centralizing on Jesus is spiritual energy; centralizing on our different doctrinal approaches to Jesus produces entropy.
The posts referenced here give a description of what the force of entropy looks like when it plays out in the church.
Different groups may have different rates of entropy production. But let’s not have anyone going around with an “entropy meter” pointing at other groups to compare ourselves. Tube city is tube city no matter how steep the slant of the tube is.
People arguing over who has less membership loss is like arguing over who has more entropy. Both are like two guys about to die of dehydration in the desert arguing over who has the better tan.
114. A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF PHYSICAL THERMODYNAMICS TO APPLY TO PRINCIPLES IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM
In order to understand the significance of the immeasurable energy that God has given to us (Acts 1:8; Eph. 1:19; 3:20) discussed in the next section, we need to cover some basics about the laws of thermodynamics operating in the physical realm. We have introduced entropy and its significance in the life cycle of a bacterial culture, which was used as a simple representation of the much more complicated social cycles of human cultures. The principles are the same. We’ve talked about the destructive results of entropy accumulation in individuals, groups, churches, or societies who operate out of the fleshly desires instead from out of the control of the Holy Spirit. We have talked about how energy and entropy can wax and wane in a reciprocal fashion as people cycle in their attitudes of either obedience or rebellion in their chosen responses to God.
But we need to set the thermodynamic stage just a bit more before discussing an absolutely incredible intervention of the power of God from the spiritual to the physical realm that is given to those who believe. This is another example of a correlation between the laws of the natural and the spiritual realms being better understood when considered together. Admittedly, there is not a “one size fits all” discussion of thermodynamics. The following may be a challenge for some to understand while for others it may be offensively oversimplified.
The technical detail of this discussion is aimed at particular level and intended mainly for people who already have a certain presupposition – that the physical world (science) and the spiritual world (the scriptures) are both true and valid expressions of the divine nature of God. The person may know more about science than theology, or vice versa. They probably haven’t thought about the new ideas that could open up about how God works by expanding our consideration of all the things that God has done. They may have training in science and/or theology, or not. Hopefully, the discussion here might open up some new insights for further thinking. A person who thinks that science is everything and the Bible is myth will probably not find much here except things to criticize. There will be plenty of opportunities. A person who thinks science is for atheists might approach these ideas similarly, but just maybe they will at least see some rationale for considering God's natural creation and God's spiritual word together. This is not the brainstorm of Dr. A. Steineisen, and this is not the “Theory of Relaspiritivity.” These are just some possible ways of considering and understanding more of God’s revelation to us.
The concepts of thermodynamics can be described verbally using pictures or with mathematics about as complicated as one can handle. Fortunately, concepts from words and pictures will be enough to compare to the scripture.
Thermodynamics deals with the transfer of energy and is measured in terms of heat which is in proportion to energy. When energy is absorbed by a mass, the molecules of that mass have a higher motion, which generates measurable radiation called heat. Heat can be transferred from one mass to another, such as water from a reservoir heated by a flame that transfers heat from combustible materials to the water which transfers the heat to your skin when taking a shower.
A system is what is defined as the limits of energy flow. A system may be literal and physical or it may be conceptual; it is what is being studied or analyzed. A physical system may be an air conditioner, or a turbine, or a bacterial colony growing in a culture dish. A conceptual system might be a person, a group of people, a nation of people, or a world of people. It may be past, present, or future. A process describes how a system changes from one state to another; a state describes the properties of a system at the beginning and end of the process. This process of change in a system is done in an environment called the surroundings. A system into which no outside mass or energy can pass is an isolated system. One into which energy can pass, but no mass, is aclosed system, and one into which both mass and energy can pass is an open system. (Sometimes, “closed” is used for both “closed” and “isolated” – i.e., neither mass nor energy can enter).
Comparison of the measures of properties requires dimensions and units. Dimensions are spatial (length, width, breadth), mass, temperature, and time and, secondarily, volume and pressure. The physical realm is defined by what can be observed, measured, and described within time and three-dimensional space which are properties of our universe. The spiritual realm, and perhaps universes other than the one in which we exist, do not have such limitations.
Entropy is a measure of a decline in the usefulness of energy. Entropy is a measure of disorder and generally is directly related to temperature. The higher the temperature, the higher the disorder, the higher the entropy. Quantum mechanics involves a measure of description of the probability of order within disorder. Since one doesn’t know exactly where an electron is in space around an atomic nucleus at any point in time, molecular orbital theory predicts the spatial dimensions with a certain probability that an electron would be found in this particular shape of space at any time. It is a prediction of order in an otherwise random system. Sometimes at high enough temperatures of certain molecules, entropy, randomness, and disorder get so far beyond predictable order that something like an explosion occurs. (The “big bang” occurred at extremely high energy and temperature).
Enthalpy involves a fluid flowing through a device into a system and performing work on the system and producing changes in the internal energy within that system. Water, for instance, can flow as a vapor, or gas, as a liquid, and as a solid, ice – a mist, a stream, or a glacier. Enthalpy represents a flow of energy into a system.
It is interesting to consider all the references in the New Testament about the Holy Spirit being poured out(Acts 2:33) and God’s love being poured into (Rom. 5:5). In some verses, a preposition is used (dia) that means to flow through a conduit, such as a pipe. Jesus talked about the flow of living water and the baptismwithin the Holy Spirit. [This little tidbit is just to let you know that there will be some scriptural relevance to all this science stuff.]
A cycle is a repeating process that ends up at the essentially the same state at which it started. Two thermodynamic processes may be combined, one involving transfer of heat in one direction and the other transfer of heat in the opposite direction so that a repeating process, or cycle, is produced. We will later use an air conditioner as an example. In a more conceptual cycle, such as an economic cycle, time passes between repetitive phases so that the different surrounding may be a factor. Certain stocks cycling in and out of favor may be affected by technological changes over time, for instance.
We can pause at this point and match some of the above terms with the cycles of the judges of Israel. Thesystem could be the Israelites, the people of God. The states were oppression and peace, and the processwas the change from oppression to victory and peace to oppression again. The dimensions were within the promised land of Canaan, and the surroundings were the neighboring Canaanite people and tribes who attacked and oppressed them. Energy (enthalpy) was high during times of obedience, peace, and blessing and entropy was high during times of oppression and confusion and disorder. Peace is the opposite of chaos. Entropy is the enemy of peace. The people of Israel cut off their own energy by disobedience to God, and they were an isolated system with no outside energy source. Entropy increased with disorder and chaos. They were overcome by enemies and oppressed. When they cried out to the Lord, He opened their system andenergy flowed back in through a judge that God raised up. “Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon him [Samson] in power” (Jud. 14:19; also 15:14).
Laws of Thermodynamics
The three laws of thermodynamics are actually four. These laws form the basis for natural cycles.
After the three laws of thermodynamics had been developed, the laws were associated in the literature and textbooks as 1, 2, and 3. That made perfect sense until it was recognized that mathematically there needed to be another law that was actually more fundamental than the three that already existed. Well, so much for naming it number 4, so it is called the “zeroth” law. But, the “three laws” term has been used so long that it still sticks, and the “zeroth” law is sort of assumed.
All the laws are pretty intuitive; the second law (entropy) needs more explanation than the others.
The “Zeroth” Law makes a thermometer a valid instrument to measure temperature. Two objects in thermal equilibrium with a third object are in thermal equilibrium with each other. That statement is like an axiom of analytical geometry.
The First Law concerns the flow of energy. Energy within a system cannot be created or destroyed; it can only change form. If energy enters into a system from the outside, it must either leave the system so that a balance remains or it must change the energy of the system by performing work, producing heat, or adding or removing mass (mass contains energy.) The First Law presumes that the universe is a closed system.
The Second law can’t be described by a short statement, but a number of statements that are based on the same mathematics. There is no such thing as a perpetual motion machine. No cyclic process can be 100% efficient. All the energy used in a process cannot be regenerated and recovered -- some will be lost to entropy. Entropy is a measure of disorder or chaos in a system. Energy is consumed to create order or to organize chaos. Things left to themselves without new energy tend to run down with increasing entropy. Energy can be drawn from larger cyclic processes until the all universe is involved. The universe is running down.
The change in entropy (magnitude and direction) in a thermodynamic process is more important than a static value.
The Third Law states that at a temperature of absolute zero (zero degrees Kelvin), all molecular motion stops; material is perfectly ordered; and entropy is zero.
An assumption from classical thermodynamics is that the universe is a closed system (First Law) and with no outside source of energy; therefore, over time, the energy within the universe is decreasing (Second Law). What was introduced (from wherever) by the “big bang” was all the energy this universe will get. This assumption may be right, partly right, right under some (or most) conditions, or wrong. It’s difficult to prove that there is no source of new energy in a universe when the limit of the universe is also an assumption. Experiments designed to answer these questions have only discovered more data that raised more questions. While the questions about the universe are interesting, they don’t affect most things in our lives or the corresponding application of scripture.
Generally, application to spiritual principles will come from Laws 1 and 2 -- the conservation of total energy within a closed system, and all natural processes are inefficient and without an outside energy source will run down producing more and more entropy. Entropy results in processes coming to a stop with death and decomposition.
A simple example of “every-day entropy” in action
If anyone would like to see an active production of entropy (confusion, disorder, chaos, bedlam, and mayhem), all they have to do is watch the dynamics within a class of 2-year olds. Surely, the reason that God created 2-year olds is to help us understand entropy and destruction. I used to occasionally help my wife teach a class of 2’s. As a generalization, it seemed that boys felt more compulsion to generate entropy than girls. There were several boys in one class who couldn't tolerate seeing any toy on a shelf or on a table. They would even extend their arm out like a snowplow and scrape everything off the table with one fell swoop. A toy on at a table elevation has more potential energy for possible work than a toy on the floor, and a toy stacked on another on the floor has more potential energy than just resting directly on the floor. A toy positioned in contact with the floor has the least potential energy and highest entropy possible under these conditions, save demolition of the building. Understanding this law of nature, the budding engineers would reposition with force of foot any toy not in direct contact with the floor. Not only were objects reduced to their lowest energy level, but everything needed to be in maximum randomness and chaos – meaning toys has to be dispersed as widely as possible all over the floor of the room to keep order and toy density low. The goal was to produce as high an entropy level as possible. Satisfaction with one’s work was directly proportional to the magnitude of entropy produced. All this, of course, involved an expenditure of their energy to produce chaos, but this usage was insignificant compared to the energy reservoir they naturally maintained. Energy efficiency was considered, however, when it came time to clean up. Any energy that might be devoted to picking up toys and repositioning them in their proper place was very transient and difficult to observe, like dark matter.
I once tried a little experiment. While the class was next door watching a Boz video for the “nth time,” I picked up the random scattering of toys and put them all in their orderly places. My effort was the outside energy source overcoming the effects of entropy. I wanted to see their reaction when they came back into the room. Well, El Destructo and his snowplow friend were the first ones to run into the room, and when they saw the orderly state of the room, they actually froze in their tracks (for 175 milliseconds – brief, but measurable compared to the Higgs Boson). They immediately ran over to the table and shelves and began raking all the toys off onto the floor and performing the kick trick until all the toys were at maximum entropy – no useful energy and maximum chaos. One boy looked around at the chaos he had created as if to say, “This is very good.”
Entropy – maximize chaos, disorder, disorganization, confusion, and randomness and minimize any remaining useful energy from the material. The above illustration is only slightly exaggerated.
The above describes an “early two.” There is an observable behavioral evolution with age. By “late two” (or almost three), kids distinguish between general chaos and something on which they are spending their time and effort. An “early two” may with reckless abandon knock down everything, including something that a “late two” is building. That’s not good, and a new form of entropy called “conflict” usually results.
This is a side note worth making because we will come to this point later. Production of entropy is a sign of immaturity, no matter the age of the person. There are some general stages of a social maturing process that can be seen as the brain grows and more neuronal connections are made.  I can do whatever I want to, anywhere, anytime, to anybody;  you do whatever, just don’t mess with me;  we’re both doing something, but mine’s better;  you do your thing and I’ll do mine;  we can work together;  I’ll help you build yours, as long as I can build mine;  I help you instead of building mine;  I’ll build one and give it to you.
Entropy and the works of the flesh go together. Both come from pleasing the sinful nature and rebellion to God. Both reflect spiritual immaturity. In the church, division, quarreling, chaos, unresolved conflict, disorder, uncharitable judgments, and such-like are expression of spiritual immaturity. Sometimes the worst immature behavior can come from people who have been Christians for a long time, from congregational members since Noah was a little boy, from people who contribute more than average, who have a sense of entitlement to importance and control.
Some examples of the laws of thermodynamics at work in systems
Example 1: Shut that refrigerator door!
You’re in a room that’s getting hot because it’s all closed up. Someone says, “Let’s move that refrigerator in here and open the refrigerator door and leave it open. That’ll cool things off, won’t it?” Is your answer “Yes” or “No?”
The answer is “No.” If the refrigerator is in the room and the door is open so that the cool air escapes from inside the refrigerator compartment, the overall room temperature will rise – the room will get hotter. The heat is removed from the air inside the refrigerator is transferred by the cyclic expansion and compression of the Freon out the back of the refrigerator. More heat is produced in the process than is extracted because the process is not 100% efficient. The difference is lost to entropy.
If a vent is placed in the back of the refrigerator so that the heat is removed from the room and if a fan is placed insider the refrigerator compartment to distribute the cooler air, the room might become cooler depending on the heat production of other things in the room, including people. This would be the same principle as a window air conditioner. But this is not a closed system, because by-products of the process are removed.
Example 2: Can there be a “self-regenerating battery?”
Inside a closed system, a battery powers a fan motor which turns fan blades which produce air currents. These currents strike other blades and cause them to turn which turns the shaft of a generator that produces electricity. This electricity is conducted to the battery to recharge it. Will the battery ever run down? As the diagrams for this example explain, the battery will run down because the use from the battery is greater than the charge to the battery. Some of the battery power must be used to overcome resistance and friction and inefficiency in the process.
However, if an outside energy source is hooked up to the battery, such as a solar panel, the difference between output and input of the battery can be made up, or even more. But this system is not closed, because an outside source of energy has more than compensated for the inefficiency of the process.
Example 3: Is there such a thing as a ‘self-regenerating person?”
115. THE LAW OF PHYSICAL ENTROPY AND THE LAW OF SPIRITUAL REGENERATION
The Christian’s view of thermodynamics
The four laws of thermodynamics, covered briefly in the previous post, describe the energy within the universe and how this energy is changed between its different forms. Working together, these laws control the universe.
The above paragraph is how the universe might be described in an introductory textbook about thermodynamics. The laws of thermodynamics rule the universe. That statement is made from a human perspective. People have looked at a universe that existed before they did; they have studied and characterized this universe and its components in detail; they have made precise measurements of natural phenomena of many types and under many conditions; and they have derived mathematical formulas that accurately describe these observations. The universe is so predictable that these mathematical formulas can be used to calculate what will occur in the future – for calendars, weather predictions, planetary movements, the temperature and pressure at which water will boil, etc. Looking from a human perspective, these formulas describe mathematically the forces that control the universe in an orderly and precise manner – therefore they are “laws.”
That’s fine. But from a perspective of making correlations between the natural laws of the universe and the principles in the scripture for application in the spiritual realm, the human view is inadequate. What came first, the universe or the laws? Did the laws form the universe or do the laws describe the “programming” of the universe from the beginning. Did predictability and order for the universe come from the laws of thermodynamics, or was there another source of origin that was common to both?
There are some terms used today that conger up conflicted definitions in different people’s mind – creation(create, created), evolution (evolve, evolved), natural (physical), and spiritual (supernatural). These words are, like thermodynamics, our human terms to describe and try to understand observations we have made during our experience in the world. But when the universe began around 13.6 billion years ago, none of this had happened, natural time of our future universe was at zero, and all of future creation, evolution, the natural, and the supernatural were packed into one finitely small bunch of energy of such incredible density and temperature and pressure that an explosion occurred that began a chain of events that were already preprogrammed into it. In a sense, the DNA of the universe had been placed by God into that ball of energy and the “big bang” distributed the elements of the DNA of God everywhere. Where then are the “laws of thermodynamics” in this? What about quantum mechanics? What are the stars and the rules of celestial mechanics and the Higgs Boson and dark matter and particle physics? What about the human brain—planned or random? What about the formation of the universe, including at least one planet that can sustain life? What about the physical evolution of life and of the highest form of God’s creation, a human being? It is all an expression of the DNA (the divine nature) of God. It has been the design, the plan, of God from the beginning of material existence.
God is therefore the single source for all things natural or spiritual. It only makes sense that laws within the physical realm will correlate with those in the spiritual realm. They have the same source. It is like the laws of thermodynamics and the laws in the spiritual realm are “cousins.” They operate under similar design.
So, from the Christian perspective, the laws of thermodynamics do not control the universe. God through Christ controls the universe, and the laws of thermodynamics characterize the way it is done. God has ordained that in this world our natural selves will be subject to the laws of thermodynamics. We don’t have much choice in the natural, but, in the spiritual realm, we have been given significant choice.
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made…” Rom. 1:20
We can look at the physical universe and see the divine nature of God, because the natural realm reveals His nature and testifies to it. But Romans 1:20 does not say that the physical creation reveals all of God. It is a partof the plan of God. The revelation of God the Father was completed by Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ demonstrated His authority over all things, including the creation.
Therefore, the words “creation,” “evolution,” and “design” are all peas from the same pod. We as Christians should show how to use the brains God gave us and lead the way in searching for God and stop arguing over the meaning of words that humans have created for themselves. Let people who don’t understand the nature and dimensionless character of God fight about these words. Don’t we, who claim that we know God, have better and more urgent things to do?
In addition, other words, such as natural, supernatural, miracle, etc., may have a more overlapping meaning than as commonly used in our vocabulary. If God controls the natural, then what is “super” natural? Usually we use “supernatural” to describe something that we don’t understand yet. That’s another “human perspective” definition. Not good.
Continuing the examples of entropy from the previous post
We discussed in the previous post how a battery running a fan motor could not sufficiently recharge itself and would eventually run down without an outside energy source to compensate for loss of energy to entropy.
Example 3: How about a self-regenerating person?
What would be “the fountain of youth?” An artesian well flowing forth with omega fatty acids, Co-enzyme Q, and Vitamin D, all in one big anti-oxidant free-radical scavenging, high fructose free, cholesterol free, good-for-what-ails-you energy drink and Geritol tonic? Uh, oh! Here comes the FTC for false advertising. Here comes the FDA to put it on prescription or the DEA to put it on Schedule 5 and make you sign for it. Here comes the SEC to make a stock exchange out of it. Here comes a group to build a shrine over it. Not gonna happen.
Many Americans lead fairly unhealthy fast-food, low exercise, high stress lifestyles, but also take supplements as if that would make up for their non-optimal habits. Some years ago, a lady of this description came up to the pharmacy holding a product off the shelf named “Exercise in a Bottle.” She asked my opinion. I told her it was an ingenious name for marketing, but a fraudulent product inside. Of course, it was also expensive. I told her a few more things I thought about the product as she looked at it in amazement as if to say, “Could it be that bad?” Obviously, she had only asked me assuming that I could confirm the decision she had already made, because when I turned around to go back to the pharmacy, she slipped the bottle into her basket and quickly headed for the checkout counter.
As indicated in the drawing, we generally want to do what we can to prolong a quality life and delay the effects of the inevitable aging process. Our bodies are composed of millions of tiny chemical reactions using energy to produce materials we need for life. But we are not 100% efficient in doing this. Entropy is produced. We can exercise and eat right, but the aging process goes on, with a slightly adjustable rate depending on environment and our genetics. There is no way yet discovered to reverse the aging process. This is the natural course of events. This is a life cycle composed of smaller cycles of energy input and work output with the process inefficiency being entropy. Entropy accumulates. It is our physical destiny.
Like the bacterial colony, we are using up resources and growing and doing great up to a point. Then we level off a bit. There the 25 year old mark, when one becomes a quarter of a century. Then there’s 30, a time that once was considered as “middle-aged.” Then comes the 40’s, as in “life begins at.” It’s also when one realizes they have about as long to live as they have already lived and one wonders if the second half will pass as quickly as the first half did. Then there’s the 50’s, when one realizes time passes even faster and they become more interested in trying to hang onto what they’ve got or used to be able to do. Then there the 60’s, when one realizes they’re not going to be able to do that. Then there’s the 70’s, and one just “takes it one day at a time.” Every year that passes one feels like they’ve aged 5 years; then 10 years. Seems like everything either stops working or it hurts or both. “Life starts off pretty bad; then things get better; then they get bad again.”
Does the chart of physical human aging resemble that of the bacterial culture in a closed system? But is this all there is for the Christian? Even the bacterial culture had hope if a superior entity interceded with an external source of energy added to the culture dish system and with a washout and removal of toxic waste products. And, with a translocation of cells to a new plate, the culture could just keep growing, because the system was open, and not isolated, thermodynamically. How could this model from a bacterial culture apply to us?
Matt. 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Here is the answer.
God has provided His energy in the form of the Holy Spirit to empower us to grow more and more upward into Him; and God has provided through Christ an atonement for our sins, so that this toxic waste can be washed away and we can be free to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is only through the power of God that entropy is overcome. The energy of this world will pass away. The only energy that does not obey the laws of nature is the energy from God. The energy of God created this universe. This energy is not subject to anything within the physical universe or to the natural laws controlling the universe, including entropy.
This energy was embodied in Jesus Christ, who is over all things, through whom all things were made, and by whom all things hold together. Jesus Christ became subject to entropy in the flesh, so that entropy could be overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit. The final hurdle of entropy was death, overcome by the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Entropy is overcome in this life by the rebirth of the New Creation and the process of sanctification by the Holy Spirit.
The law of sin and death and the law of the Spirit
In Romans, Paul relates the natural man of Adam with sin and death. The Old Law defined sin by giving specific actions that were acceptable to God and those that were not. The Old Law had physical ordinances and actions that were representations of the real spiritual entities in heaven. The Old Law was righteous, but it made it impossible for humans to be righteous, because they could not keep the law perfectly. Under the Law, therefore, we stand condemned because of our sin.
But the coming of Jesus Christ changed all that. Jesus removed the guilt of our sins, nailing them to the cross, and washed away toxic waste from the mortality of our earthly human nature, so we could be free, unencumbered, to live according to the control of the Spirit, receiving the transforming power of the Spirit.
Rom. 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Heb 10:11 When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death so that we may serve the living God!
Therefore, our mortal bodies are subject to the law of entropy the same as the rest of the physical realm, with eventual death and decay – and back to the dust of the earth. But inwardly, we are being transformed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit – an energy source outside the physical system of this world and not subject to the laws of this universe, including entropy.
This is the message given in two passages in 2 Corinthians. Taken together, these passages say that our bodies are subject to entropy but our spirits are being renewed continuously by the power of the Spirit of God, as we are transformed by an energy source outside of our physically closed system – an eternal power not subject to natural law or measure.
2 Cor. 4:16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Cor, 3:16 But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness
with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
So, there is a regenerated person, but it is not from self, it is from the Spirit.
Correlation between the physical laws of thermodynamics and the spiritual realm
The correlation is that the power from the spiritual realm is not subject to the laws of the natural universe, but this power resides in our physical bodies.
But, didn’t we already know that? Why is this news? All this thermo-dyno-stuff for something that is already obvious?
To whom is it obvious? If it’s obvious to Christians, they haven’t made it obvious to the world. If Christians know about this, why are there so few who live it? There is a separation in the church between head knowledge about the power of God and how Christians exercise this power in their lives. We were created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:24), and this is the power for us to get there. Certainly this power will be exerted in the resurrection, but, even more, this is the power of regeneration and renewal for transforming our lives here and now. Does the church believe this? There are more and more organizations who call themselves Christian who demote the divinity of Christ to a good person and disclaim His bodily resurrection. Their gospel is diluted with humanism and postmodernism and worldly values. Their “seeker friendly” values will become “sinker friendly,” because these groups are placing themselves under the law of entropy. That is the consequence of the works of the flesh. It is the force that propels a downward natural cycle because the outside energy of God is not in it.
There needs to be a change.
116. THROUGH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD, WE ARE MORE THAN CONQUERERS OF ENTROPY
The destiny of the physical universe was set at creation by the “big bang”
The laws of thermodynamics were set into motion when energy and matter were created in the beginning by God. Over the past 13.6 billion years (more or less) these and other natural laws have fulfilled their purpose and destiny as set forth by God, and the design of God for the universe was revealed evident as a testimony to his divine nature (Rom. 1:20). Physical changes occurred in life on earth, fueled by energy from the sun, as a living part of creation was formed, made in God’s own image. The laws of thermodynamics, with their enthalpy (energy) and entropy (useless energy residue), still ruled the earth and everything on or in it, as directed by God’s plan. God had a plan for man, the highest form of His creation, to be like Him, because that was how man was made from the beginning.
Cyclic processes. Cyclic processes working in nature influenced cycles in societies, as cities and tribes and groups of individuals were formed. A physical evolution became more of a cultural and social evolution. Thermodynamics and entropy still controlled the natural realm as social evolution moved from individuals to tribes to a nation of people. Social cycles began to take shape, reflecting that human behavior and social interactions were controlled by natural law, including entropy, as well.
Religious evolution continued, as rules and guidelines were given by God to differentiate between those behaviors that were pleasing to God and in keeping with His plan and those that were not. We might say now that the choice was obedience building toward the holiness of God or disobedience decaying toward entropy. Religious evolution continued and became the civil government as far as the Jews were concerned. Overcome by the political systems of Greece and Rome, the local enforcement of civil behavior for the Jews was the Sanhedrin, composed of the upper crust of Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, or teachers of the Law.
By the time of the New Testament, the Jewish people had been through many cycles involving rebellion, entropy, and times of obedience and blessing. The Jews had evolved a tight network of religious rules and laws and a hierarchy of prideful religious leaders that had taken the short-comings of the Old Law and multiplied them by 100 into legalisms that consumed so much attention that the original purposes God had for the laws were forgotten. Into this prime time mix of political, social, technical, and religious factors, God’s final phase of evolution began, as prophesied since the beginning of mankind (Gen. 3:15). The time had come for the fulfillment of the Promise of the Father.
The time prepared in advance had come. “When the fullness of time had come” (Gal. 4:4), means a lot more than a Roman political order, civil programs of transportation and communication, imposed peace (quelled conflict), legal and court system, and a highly precise language (Greek) using a system of writing and documents so that an accurate description of what happened in the first century could be recorded. The timing was perfect for God’s will to be effected. Everything that Jesus did and said was according to God’s plan, and it produced the result that had been foreordained before creation and prophesied centuries and millennia before.
The gospel of grace was even more starkly contrasted against the backdrop of the amplified legalism that the Jews had constructed than it would have been contrasted against the Law of Moses, itself. The people were used to the authority of men, so they were really impressed with someone who taught with the authority of God. The Jews leaders were used to being in control of the people and of their money, so their natural jealousy and fear of losing their place of authority were obvious drivers in their plan to kill Jesus. This new “kid on the block” was a threat to their wealth and lifestyle and pride and ego, which were their idols. It was a row of dominos all set up in a chain ready to fall in progression once the first one got pushed over. The dominos began to fall when God assumed the form of a human and came in the flesh, being born in a stable and put in a feeding trough. The timing coincided with a one-time celestial formation that was recognized as a signal by “foreigners” trained in Hebrew prophecy and astronomy.
Behavioral predictability. During Jesus’ ministry the dominos fell along a path prophesied years before. Jesus did and said things, and the Jews’ reaction was predictable because it had been foreordained. It’s not like their mouths were controlled like little robots, but circumstances had developed so that was the only response to make. The Jewish leaders were essentially controlled by their circumstances that affected them. They were controlled by the attitudes they had developed; they were controlled by their sinful nature, by their pride and arrogance and self-idolatry. Jesus knew what was going to happen. This is why He came into the world. Man was trapped in the entropy resulting from his own sin. The Old Law had run its course – it had “done its thing” – it had defined sin (Rom. 3:19-20)– it had “brought us to Christ” (Gal. 3:24) and showed the need for Christ. Now was time for the final step.
The need for Jesus. The situation was grim. Man was dead in his own sin, separated from God (Isa. 59:2). Man cannot not atone for his own sin. Man cannot exist without sinning. Why? What is the definition of sin? Overt disobedience, rebellion, denial of God, taking over control of oneself without God, committing bad behaviors like killing or injuring or cheating or lying, being unfaithful to a covenant ordained by God? Yes, all of these things and more – all pointed out and defined by the Old Law. But Paul said that “all men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). There is no time that man can, from out of his own human effort, match the glory of God. That is why sin is “missing the mark” or “falling short of the target.” Sin is the difference between our best human effort and God.
Okay, now I am really toast! I sin because I can’t possibly please God in my flesh, but yet I live in my flesh; then God can’t live in me because of my sin. Catch 22.
Rom. 7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Rom. 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. 3For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, 4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
Jesus paid the sacrificial price to free us from the continual accumulation of the toxic waste from unforgiven sin that the Law could only disclose and condemn – the burden of guilt, the bondage of shame, and the isolation of separation from fellowship with God. Unencumbered by the weight of these chains, we are free to grow to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, as we love, forgive, serve, and reconcile with one another as God through Christ did for us. This process is walking in the light, walking in the Spirit, living according to the Spirit, renewal, transformation, and other terms.
The power for change. May we at this time introduce another term to express this idea of change from one state to another that is more advanced– “spiritual evolution?” That may sound like an oxymoron to some people. But the change internally is not physical; the internal change is spiritual and the behavioral outcome can be physically observed – the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5).
That brings us back around to a source of energy from outside the physical realm – energy that is not subject to the natural law of universal decay, which is entropy. Jesus overcame the ultimate entropy – death – by His resurrection by the power of God. We had been cleansed and washed clean by the blood of Jesus, and Jesus completed the victory over sin and death. Entropy in the physical realm will still claim our mortal bodies, but it is powerless to limit our immortal bodies when we, by the power of God, are resurrected in the same way that Jesus was (Rom. 8:11). This is the promise. To guarantee this promise, the Holy Spirit was given as an “earnest payment” (2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; Eph.1:13-14); and the power of the Spirit from God through Jesus lives in us and works mightily to change us into the likeness of Christ, the image of the invisible God (Col.1:15).
This change toward the divine nature is analogous to the thermodynamic process; the Spirit is the outside energy (enthalpy) for the process; this energy does not run down; this energy is not subject to entropy; the work or product of this process is the character of God in true righteousness and holiness. The waste products of sin are washed away. This is the final step on this earth – the formation of the new creation to evolve spiritually into the likeness of God, into God’s image, the intent for man’s creation.
Jesus came to earth and personally set everything up according to perfection – all prophecy was fulfilled; sins were atoned for and cleansed, hearts were purified before God; the revelation of the character of God the Father had been completed by teaching and by example; the relationship between Father and Son was modeled as the fellowship God wants to have with us; by His resurrection, Jesus overcame the entropy of this world and the final tool of Satan, which is death; Jesus returned to the Father so that the Promise of the Father could be delivered.
And on the Day of Pentecost, in approximately 30 AD, in a period of milliseconds, in a crowd of 120 or more believers gather together in some hundreds of square feet of space in an upper room in Jerusalem, in such a finite time and dimensional space, a wind and a mighty sound appeared that introduced the most significant display of power since the “big bang.” The pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was a “bigger bang.” The “biggest bang” will be the last coming of Jesus to claim His own at the resurrection for eternity. We are now in the dispensation of the “bigger bang.”
So, as discussed in the previous post, we have two opposing forces that act upon us for thought and behavior control. One force is the enticement to please our natural desires – selfishness, pride, arrogance, self ambition, judgment of others for self-elevation, materialism, idolatry – all of which lead to entropy, degeneration, disorder, chaos, and death. The prime example is the successful marketing job the serpent did on Eve. The other force is the power of the Holy Spirit to operate by the control of the Spirit and to overcome the force of entropy as we cloth ourselves with the characteristics of God as we are changed day by day into increasing glory.
It’s those bacteria, again! Those without the energy of God are destined to follow after the pattern of the bacterial colony life cycle in a closed system, complete with energy depletion and waste buildup and demise by entropy (discussed in a previous post). Those with the energy of God have a new power source operating within for renewal of our spirit by the Holy Spirit.
Rom. 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
God has intervened in another way which correlates with the culture experiment. In addition to providing new energy and washing away toxic waste, the life of the bacterial colony could be maintained by transferring the cells from the old depleted culture dish to another culture dish so the colony can start anew.
This is a physical analogy to what God has done for us spiritually.
Col. 1:11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who
has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Greek word translated “rescued” in the NIV is methistemi, which means to transpose, to transfer, to remove from one place to another with a change of environment or situation or both. (cf. Thayer’s Lexicon). The prepositions on each side of the verb help to tell the story. On one side of the verb is the preposition “ek,” which means “from out of,” something previously enclosed. The bird flew from out of the cage. On the other side is the preposition “eis,” which means a movement from one location into another. (It is the same word used in Acts 2:38 – “into” the forgiveness of sin.) God removed us from out of a box, within which we were hopelessly surrounded, and He transferred (relocated) to a new location. The old box was the dominion of darkness (filled by entropy) and the new location is the kingdom of the Son – the kingdom of light (filled with energy). Not only that, but since the tense of the verb is Aorist, this action was at a point in time – it was a fast strike, like a surprise attack that started and finished the job before the enemy knew what was happening. But there’s more. This was a quick snatch. It was like “the jaws of life” that smash into a car and quickly remove the victim of an accident. It was like the jaws that were part of the Apollo launches that were to the side of the command capsule containing the astronauts, developed after the three were tragically burned in a launch accident. In a life threatening emergency, the jaws would quickly extend and snatch the command module and yank it back away from a fire or other danger.
God made a quick strike with the jaws of life and snatched us out of the realm of darkness and placed us into the kingdom of light – all done before Satan knew what was happening. The provision for this maneuver was made by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and this provision lasts forever, as King Jesus reigns forever. This path is repeated each time the Lord adds another believer to the body of Christ, as someone is born anew into the spiritual kingdom to start a new life of continual renewal into the image of God, which we were created to do (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10) by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Just a few words about enthalpy. We have talked a lot about entropy and how the Christian overcomes entropy in the spiritual realm by receiving the power of the Holy Spirit which renews and transforms us in increasing fashion (not decreasing) into the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18). The physical analogy to the power of the Holy Spirit is the thermodynamic term, enthalpy. Enthalpy is a source of energy outside a system. Enthalpy involves a thermodynamic process in which a fluid flows through a device into a system, changing the internal energy of that system and performing work on that system (cf. Thermodynamics for Dummies by Michael Pauken, Wiley Publishing). These terms can be compared to verses that describe the Holy Spirit in terms of a liquid (water or oil) being poured or flowing through a conduit into our life or heart (The Holy Spirit poured out –Acts 2:33; Acts 10:45; Tit. 3:6; God’s love poured through the Holy Spirit -- Rom 5:5). Jesus also described living water flowing from out of us (John 7:38). The cup of communion represents the blood of Jesus, poured out for us (Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20). Rivers watered the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2:10-14) and river of life is in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 22:1, 2).
Analogies and correlations? So far, analogies between natural laws of the physical realm and principles in the spiritual realm have included  Newton’s 2nd law of motion and Satan being allowed to test the church in order to purify out the works of the flesh,  the laws of thermodynamics with entropy being the fate of the physical realm but entropy overcome by the power of God in the spiritual realm, and  transferring bacterial cells from a dying environment to a new culture dish being like God transferring us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.
Hopefully enough of these physical/spiritual correlations seem logical enough that it does not appear we are being selective in presentation and stretching of facts in order to justify a point. But, if so, there are many more examples to discuss which may overwhelm the doubts (or the attention span, whichever occurs first).
In this respect, there are more topics to cover than can be addressed here at this time. Some are:
 God wants it clear that the power for transformation and for the individual, as for the church as the collection of individuals, comes from Him and not from human effort. This power, therefore, shines through cracked pots (2 Cor. 4).
 The laws of thermodynamics (entropy) produce cycles, and cycles run the natural universe. People, behavior, political and economic structures, and societies all cycle from good to bad to good to bad. God has given the Christian and the church a choice to follow God’s will with obedience and be empowered to grow into Him or to follow the human way and cycle in entropy with the rest of the natural realm. God does not cycle, nor does His power. The wide gate leads to wide cycles that go down; the narrow gate leads to a linear path to God.
 The natural evolution of man came about from the divine nature of God (His essence, His DNA, evidence of His presence and character) which was within the big bang creation of the universe. The physical substrate of man’s body and brain was in the image of God, perhaps because man had the capacity to be like God. In a rebellious act, Adam and Eve usurped this knowledge. During the time of separation from fellowship with God because of sin, mankind evolved socially from a few tribes to nations with organized governments. The capacity of man to comprehend God and His nature also evolved through the periods recorded by the Old Testament. The DNA of God in the natural realm became expressed through physical, social, and religious evolution until the final stage made possible by Christ.
 Because of Christ, the Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost, and the Promise of the Father was delivered. The Holy Spirit bore a gift, the gift of the Holy Spirit, which was given to the new creation at the time of rebirth into the spiritual kingdom. The final spiritual evolution involves expression of genes, just as in the physical evolution. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the genes of God, the same spiritual genes given by the Holy Spirit to Jesus Christ on this earth. The Holy Spirit expresses these genes into the phenotype called the fruit of the Spirit. SEE- http://www.intheimageofthecreator.com/created-in-the-image-of-god/the-new-creation/
 The genes of God are evidenced in a study of the book of Acts, together with the letter and epistles of John, the book of Luke, and the writings of Paul and Peter. (That covers most of the NT). It will involve the gift of the Holy Spirit, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, filled with the Holy Spirit, coming upon by the Holy Spirit, the baptism within the Holy Spirit, being born again or born from out of above, being baptized into the body, the role of water baptism, the purpose of Luke-Acts, the power of unity, and the authority in the church.
 The genes of God expressed by the Holy Spirit are involved in renewal, transformation, and sanctification.
 All of this, and more, relate to the defeat of entropy by the power of God living in us. The Bible’s got thermodynamics; the Bible’s got physics; the Bible’s got chemistry; the Bible’s got physiology; the Bible’s got genetics; the Bible’s got evolution; the Bible’s got human behavioral psychology.
Why should the Christian be incomplete in understanding of anything? The Christian has been given the full revelation of God. The Christian has the genes of God expressed in the natural realm through physical creation by evolution and the Christian has the spiritual genes of God in the gift of the Holy Spirit poured out by Jesus Christ on the Day of Pentecost for all people and all time.
Christians have the widest bandwidth to the knowledge of God. Christians should be in the lead in discovering the details of the physical universe and the spiritual power of God and correlating them together. It is all from the same DNA. We can talk about power from outside the natural realm until we are hypoxic, but it doesn’t mean diddly to the world if the results of that power cannot be seen in the life of the church. If it doesn’t make any difference in us, why should anyone else listen? How’s this been working for us?
It may take more than a few posts to cover all of this.
117. INNER LIGHT, OVERCOMING ENTROPY, CRACKED CLAY POTS, AND BAND-AIDS
A discussion about clay pots is sandwiched between the passages about being transformed into the Lord’s likeness with ever-increasing glory, with a power that comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18) and while outwardly what is seen and temporary is wasting away while inwardly what is unseen and eternal is being renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). The Christian has the energy of the Spirit for overcoming entropy, to be inwardly transformed into the glory of the Lord; but Paul makes it clear that this power does not come from a human source. The inner power is reflected in the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ, and this power radiates out of the Christian so that all can see the source – all but those who are spiritual blind and in denial that the light exists. The god of this age is themselves, and they blind themselves by their own choices. They cannot see past the temporary – past what can be physically seen and documented to human satisfaction – past those components of the natural realm that are under the law of entropy. They are under subjection to entropy, so everyone else must be, too.
2 Cor. 4:1 Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. 2 Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
In the story of Gideon’s defeat of the Midianites (Judges 7), 300 men circled the Midianite camp at night and broke jars containing burning torches inside and blew trumpets. The Lord incited the Midianites with chaos and fear and they fought against and slew one another. The light was not seen as long as the jar was intact. This was part of God’s plan, and the victory was clearly His.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 11 For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12 So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
We are as clay jars, formed by the master potter. But, because of the weakness of the human nature, over time and use, we get cracks. (Then, we aren’t all that we’re cracked up to be.) A cracked pot may be worth less at a market than a perfect pot, but the cracks let the light that is inside shine out. The pot, itself, blocks the light, but the light shines through the cracks and imperfections. People see the light; they recognize the source of the energy of the light is from within the pot and not the pot, itself; the power on the inside will raise us like it did Jesus and present us all in His presence; and the result is thanksgiving that overflows the capacity of the pot to the glory of God.
The value of cracked pots can be illustrated in a lighthearted way by having a jar of clay appraised at a well known event shown on public television called “Antique Roadshow.” However, to avoid any copyright infringements, we will call our show, “Antique Roadkill” and will use the cartoon characters of “the 2-dimensionals.”
Several years ago, I saw an Internet ad for the sale of a “large antique clay jar from the Turkish countryside,” which had been price discounted from $3238 to $2331 – a whopping 28%, including free shipping -- just for you! These beautiful vessels once may have held grains, olives, or other things and may have been buried in the ground. Or, maybe not. But, whichever, you could “get one today” – while supplies last!
Let’s say that someone found one of these clay jars in an old barn, and this discovery was brought into the Antique Roadkill show to have its value ascertained from an expert in the field. Let’s say that the appraisal goes as usual – “You see here a bump, which is characteristic of the type of pottery wheels of those artists living on the Turkish countryside used to manufacture jars back in those days. This one has a stain on the inside where an olive once sat, which means this jar was used for mundane purposes, and this reduces its value by 28%, but if you sold it by advertising on the Internet, you could ask $2331.00, if you offered free shipping.” (Followed by an appropriate response from the owner of the clay jar from the Turkish countryside.)
In the next scenario, let’s say that the clay jar has a chip along the rim. Collectors don’t like chips; they want perfection, called “choice.” One chip in a piece of pottery or cut glass can reduce the value drastically. The verbal exchange between the expert on clay jars and the owner is quite different this time.
In the next scenario, the owner presents a clay jar that has major cracks through it. If a chip is bad, think what cracks would do to the value of a clay oil jar from the Turkish countryside.
What -- Me Cracked?
Sometimes we will rather put a mask over our cracks than let the light shine through them – like we think we are supposed to be perfect so we’d better act like we are – especially in the church building on Sunday mornings. It is as though we think that the perfection comes from our own effort, and it becomes a matter of pride to avoid showing any weakness. It’s like we feel more of a need to maintain appearance on the outside than to let the light shine through from the inside. The problem is that it just doesn't work. People recognize Band-Aids when they see them.
The light may be inside a clay jar, even one from the Turkish countryside, but no one will see it through a pot that does not have cracks through its surface. But through the cracks the light will shine….for the glory of God.
This is what Paul is talking about. Our energy comes from the inside; our renewal comes from the inside; we are transformed from the inside outward. That is what Rom. 12:2 says – Do not let your behavior be molded and shaped into a form that is compatible with the pressure of the world, but be changed in your behavior so that your outside appearance is consistent with the energy and spiritual programming that is inside of you. The Greek word for transformation – this inside to outward change of form – is the word transliterated as “metamorphosis” in English. The change of a larva into a butterfly is done according to the programming recorded within the insect’s DNA.
The light that shines through the cracks in our human nature is the power by which our spirits overcome entropy, the power that transforms us into the likeness of Christ, and the power that renews our minds into the image of the Creator.
This little Christian light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine ……
Hide it under a Band-Aid, No! I’m gonna let it shine…..
Finally, do not look at someone else’s Band-Aids and compare them to your own.
What? Me Band-Aids?