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Discovery Magazine 6/1/2006

A Law that Leads to God

Imagine going outside on a snowy day, playing in the cold, wet snow for an hour or two, and going inside to warm up in front of a nice fire. The wood that is burning in the fireplace pops every now and then, and the heat from the fire warms you up and dries off your clothes. If you watch the fire long enough, the wood will burn up and more will be needed to keep the fire going. Have you ever wondered where the wood goes? Does it go out of existence? Is it changed into something else? What happens to the wood?

In thinking about these questions, you have just turned into a physical scientist—one who studies the physical Universe. Now, let’s see if we can answer some of those questions about the wood. If you were able to put that fire in a closed box and weigh it before the wood burned, and then weigh the box after the wood burned, you would see that it weighed the same both times. Even though the wood disappeared, it still exists, just in another form. The wood is changed into heat energy, which you can feel on your legs and hands, and certain gases that go into the atmosphere in the smoke that is released by burning. The energy in the wood is changed, but it still exists and none of it is lost.

This little experiment helps us understand one of the most basic laws in nature. It is called the First Law of Thermodynamics. The word thermodynamics comes from two Greek words: therme meaning “heat,” and dunamis meaning “force” or “power.” The First Law of Thermodynamics describes the “power” or “energy” contained in heat and its movement to other forms of energy. It says that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed in nature. Even though wood can burn, the energy is not lost, it simply changes form.

The First Law of Thermodynamics is quite a problem for those who believe in evolution. Here is why. If there is no natural process that can create matter or energy, then how did the material Universe get here in the first place? The evolutionist does not have an answer to this problem. But those who believe in creation do. If God is supernatural (which means He is above nature), then He could create matter and energy out of nothing. Belief in God is the only idea that fits with the First Law of Thermodynamics.



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