Apologetics Press Articles
Did the Laws of Science Apply in the Beginning?
It is relatively easy to disprove the idea that matter can spontaneously generate. Of course, even intuition does not back spontaneous generation. It matters not how long you sit in your chair and stare at an empty desk. A pencil will not eventually materialize on the desk before you. Things—no matter how simplistic—do not pop into existence from nothing.
The idea of ordered, physical law-abiding matter (i.e., like that which we see all around us in the created order) coming into being from nothing is even more far-fetched. Beyond intuition, this matter is laid to rest when we consider the implications of the First Law of Thermodynamics and the Law of Conservation of Matter. To paraphrase, the amount of energy and matter in a system will remain constant unless there is input from some outside source. In other words, it does not matter how long you stare at the table, unless someone comes by your table and puts an already existing pencil on it, or you put the pencil on it yourself, or it falls on the table from some other place, a pencil will not appear on the table. This idea, applied to the origin of the Universe, indicates that the Universe has either always existed (an idea which violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics) or Someone put it here (see Miller, 2007 for a more in depth discussion of the Laws of Thermodynamics and their application to the Creation/Evolution controversy).
In response, some scientists boldly make the claim that, concerning the origin of matter, “one usually assumes that the current laws of physics did not apply then” (Linde, 1994). Granted—certain assumptions are often necessary in science. Granted—no one was around to make scientific observations about the origin of matter. But wait…that’s the point. How is it scientific to make such a claim when all empirical evidence that has ever been observed by scientists leads to the conclusion that the laws of physics are and always have been immutable? Scientific assumptions must carry the quality of being reasonable in order for them to be permissible in scientific discussion. The only way the claim that the laws of science did not apply in the beginning can be made and considered to be reasonable is if the person has made another equally unscientific assumption upon which that claim is based. The person would have to assume that there was no One here at the beginning that could have organized matter in keeping with the Laws that that Being set in motion. The creation model in no way contradicts the laws of physics. On the other hand, the atheistic evolutionary model contradicts the laws of physics in a myriad of ways. Yet, creationists are the ones who are somehow branded as unscientific.
Linde, Andrei (1994), “The Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe,” Scientific American, 271:48, November.
Miller, Jeff (2007), “God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective,” Reason & Revelation, 27:25-31, April, http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/3293.