Atheism Hits a Brick Wall:
The First Law of Thermodynamics
By Chuck Missler (From his Book "The Creator Beyond Time
The First Law of Thermodynamics asserts that matter or
its energy equivalent can neither be created nor destroyed
under natural circumstances.1 One of the
logical outcomes of this law is that there is no new matter
or energy appearing anywhere in the universe, nor is there
any matter being annihilated. All matter and energy in the
universe is conserved. Consequently, this law is often
referred to as the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy.
Although matter can neither be created nor destroyed, it can
be converted from one state to another, i.e. from a liquid
to a gas, liquid to solid, solid to gas. The overwhelming
experience of experimental physics confirms this First Law
to be a fact. As we shall see, this law has enormous
implications regarding the origin of matter in our universe.
Protons are positively charged particles which reside in
the nucleus of every atom. Each proton consists of a least
three quarks. For decades it was assumed that protons were
eternally stable. However, physicists now believe that
quarks decay into antiquarks, pions and positive electrons,
and electromagnetic radiation.2 This decay
process occurs at a rate of only once per proton per
1032 years. Consequently, since this process is
irreversible, all the atoms in the universe will eventually
decay into irretrievable matter. Even though this process of
decay will take an enormously long period of time, it is not
Cosmic Evolution and the First Law
Skeptics often scoff at the biblical creation account
because it invokes a supernatural event for the origin of
time, space, and matter. Yet, if we search the field of
cosmology in the last one hundred years we find that the
theories on the "natural" (as opposed to
supernatural) origin of matter are few and far between.
There are only two options for the origin of matter: it is
either eternal or it appeared at a finite point in the past.
With the elucidation of the First Law of Thermodynamics the
implications of this debate, as we will see, have been
Faced with the evidence of a finite, expanding universe,
cosmologists began to look for a way to salvage the
existence of an eternal universe. In the 1940's Hermann
Bondi, Thomas Gold and Fred Hoyle proposed a mechanism that
would allow the expanding universe to still be
infinitely old3,4 This model for the universe,
called the "Steady State Model," asserts that as the
universe expands, hydrogen atoms arise spontaneously from
nothing in the deep recesses of space. The result is
that the universe appears about the same (in a "steady
state") in all ages.
In the last forty years this model for the universe has
been discredited by a number of scientific discoveries. The
first of these has to do with the age of the galaxies. If
the universe is infinitely old then we should expect to find
galaxies of all ages. However decades of observations reveal
that all the visible galaxies in our universe are "middle
aged." Secondly, there is no physical (natural) mechanism
for the spontaneous origin of hydrogen atoms. In fact,
hydrogen atoms have never been observed to appear
spontaneously anywhere in the universe.5 Thirdly,
Isaac Newton's Law of Inertia declares that a body at rest
will remain at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.
In the Steady State Model there is no mechanism to explain
the motion of the galaxies.
The First Law of Thermodynamics is called a "law" because
within the bounds of scientific observation it has been
proven true beyond all reasonable doubt. In effect, the
First Law states that you and I can neither create nor
destroy matter. Therefore, it follows that if something
which exists (you and I) cannot create matter, then
something which doesn't exist cannot create it either!
Matter cannot create itself and, in the real world,
cannot arise from nothing. Within the bounds of natural law
all effects must have a cause.6 Because of this
fact, the spontaneous appearance of hydrogen atoms out of
nothing (ex nihilo creation) is a definite breach of
the First Law of Thermodynamics which asserts that matter,
under natural circumstances, can neither be created
nor destroyed. Therefore, since it is not a natural event,
it is by definition a supernatural event-a miracle! This is,
we believe, a rather weak starting point for a materialistic
scenario to begin.
To avoid this conclusion, a number of physicists have
proposed that the laws of physics are different elsewhere in
the universe.7 However, this assertion is not
supported by even a shred of scientific evidence. Such
appeals reveal the lengths that some will go to avoid a
finite beginning for the universe.
Since matter is not eternal, we are left with only one
option- it arose out of nothing at a finite point in the
past! Ironically, the scientific materialist who argues that
all matter in the universe arose out of nothing is in
agreement with the biblical creationist. However, biblical
creationists readily admit that the appearance of matter out
of nothing was a miracle, performed by a "First Cause" that
transcends the physical universe. The scientific
materialist, who believes, as Carl Sagan does, that "the
Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be," is
forced to conclude that the Cosmic egg arose from
nothingness apart from any causal agent.
The atheist immediately protests, "If God made the
universe then who made God?" The Bible indicates that God is
an eternal, transcendent Spirit.8 Consequently,
because time is itself a physical property of the universe
which God created, then questions about God's origin are
meaningless. This is because God existed before time and He
is, therefore, not subject to time-bound concepts such as
birth and death. He is outside of time!
Furthermore, because God always existed prior to the
creation of the universe and the laws by which it is
governed, He is not subject to them either. This means that
God was never "young" nor is He aging as dictated by the
Second Law. He is outside of our space-time domain and
outside of the aging effects altogether.
At the beginning of the atheist's scenario, there is an
equally difficult question. "Who or what made that ball of
matter that exploded in the Big Bang?" The answer is that
the Cosmic Egg made itself, which is impossible on the basis
of natural law.
So at the beginning of each model of origins we have
unanswerable questions. Atheists may then argue that they
are equal starting points. But are they?
The creationist's model begins with an infinitely
intelligent, omnipotent, transcendent Creator who used
intelligent design, expertise or know-how to create
everything from the sub-atomic particles to giant redwood
trees. Was it a miracle? Absolutely!
"In the beginning (time), God
created the heavens (space) and the earth
The atheist's model begins with an even more impressive
miracle - the appearance of all matter in the universe from
nothing, by no one, and for no reason. A supernatural event.
A miracle! However, the atheist does not believe in the
outside or transcendent "First Cause" we call God.
Therefore, the atheist has no "natural explanation" nor
"supernatural explanation" for the origin of space-time and
matter. Consequently, the atheistic scenario on the origin
of the universe leaves us hanging in a totally dissatisfying
position. He begins his model with a supernatural event.
This supernatural event, however, is accomplished without a
supernatural agent to perform it.
Atheism Hits a Second Brick Wall: The Second Law of
see: Scientists Abandon the
Oscillating Universe Theory
To order this book "The Creator Beyond Time and Space" go
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Missler, Chuck, Eastman, Mark, M.D."The Creator Beyond
Time and Space", The Word for Today 1996, p.12-17
Chuck Missler and Mark Eastman M.D. references:
-1. As opposed to supernatural circumstances
-2. James S. Treifel, "The Moment of Creation",
Scribner's and Son. p 141-142
-3. H. Bondi and T. Gold, "The Steady State Theory of the
Expanding Universe," Monthly Notices of the Royal
Astronomical Society, 108:252-270 (1948).
4. Fred Hoyle, "A New Model for the Expanding Universe,"
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,
-5. For a detailed discussion see Gerald Schroder,
"Genesis and the Big Bang, Chapter 4. Bantam Books, 1990.
-6. In the realm of quantum mechanics some particles have
apparently arisen spontaneously as a result of a "quantum
fluctuation." However, they quickly annihilate themselves.
-7. Fred Hoyle proposed that the continuous creation of
matter be considered a natural law itself. He included a
creation constant in Einstein's theory of relativity.
-8. This is developed further in later chapters.