by Richard T. Ritenbaugh
CGG Weekly, November 29, 2002
"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."
For those of us who are not scientists, the Second Law of Thermodynamics can be a brain bruiser. Technically, it describes the fact that the amount of work produced from energy is constantly decreasing because of a universal tendency for energy to diffuse to reach equilibrium, resulting in increased entropy. However, it can be simplified to state, as Isaac Asimov once wrote, "The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!"
Although evolutionists the world over become rabid over the thought, this law refutes the theory of evolution in one fell blow. If everything in this universe is tending toward breakdown—no matter how long it takes—evolution, a progression of organisms becoming more complex, is simply not tenable. Proponents of evolution have yet to formulate an adequate answer to the problem of entropy in organized systems; they continue to say that some force or energy from outside the system spurred evolutionary progress. They refuse to accept that a Supreme Being created life in all its complexity, and it, too, is tending toward disorder.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics also has a social parallel. Unless institutions and relationships are constantly maintained by infusions of energetic work, they tend to crumble and die. We can easily see this in the great empires of the past. The Roman Empire, for instance, rose to prominence on the foundation of the strong and conservative ethic of the Roman Republic. As the institutions of the Republic eroded, however, the power of the Roman Empire declined until barbarian tribes toppled it with little difficulty.
Entropy need not be seen in such grand examples; we have probably seen it at work in our own lives. For example, in college I had a fair number of friends that I considered close. However, once we graduated and split up to live all over the earth, we have rarely seen or spoken with each other. None of us has put much effort into keeping in touch. We are no longer close. A kind of entropy has entered our relationships, disintegrating our once close camaraderie.
Each year we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, and this once-noble occasion has also suffered the effects of this social principle. Thanksgiving has devolved from a feast day of solemn gratitude to God for His beneficence and blessing to our modern Turkey Day. Reflection on God's providence and thankfulness for His bounty upon us, our land, and our government has fallen to gluttony, football games, and planning one's strategy for the next day's Christmas shopping. In many people's minds, Thanksgiving has become just the opening day of the Christmas season!
We call it a holiday, but it has become a day of work. On Wednesday, a news report revealed that one-third of all working Americans will punch a time clock on Thanksgiving Day. Everything Americans do has become so commercialized that the nation cannot abide closing down stores and services for even one day. Yet, it was not all that long ago that finding anything open on this holiday was frequently a lost cause.
This question, then, must be asked: "If Americans will not take the time to reflect upon their blessings and express their gratitude on the one day of the year that we officially call 'Thanksgiving,' do they ever consider what they have and give thanks for it?" Call me cynical, but from here, it does not look very likely. We are too busy "running to and fro" over the face of the earth (Daniel 12:4); we have no time! We are overwhelmed by "the cares of this world" (Matthew 13:22) and cannot afford to lose our momentum by acknowledging our blessings.
A Christian is warned never to allow entropy a place in our gratitude toward God. Paul tells us to be thankful for everything, "for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (I Thessalonians 5:18). Giving thanks is edifying and beneficial because it recognizes the truth of our lives and reestablishes proper perspective in our relationship with God. Finally, as Paul intimates in Colossians 3:15, it paves the way for creating peace in our hearts. Are these not worth one day a year?