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Chaos to Order, or Creator to Order?

Earth from above showing thunderheads above the ocean reflecting sunlight, photo credit: NASA

[Originally published There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch]

It’s a never-ending battle. No matter how much effort we expend, things wear out, break down, or fall apart. Cars, houses, roads (not to mention kids’ rooms!) need continual maintenance to keep them in working order. Machines can’t run at 100% efficiency—some energy is always lost. Species are continually going extinct or being put on the endangered species list. No new ones are appearing to take their places.

These are examples of the fact that the universe is running down. At some time in the distant future our sun will burn itself out and life on earth will no longer be possible.

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These are all illustrations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, a principle of nature formulated by Carnot, Joule, and others mainly in the 19th century. This law of physics states that all systems tend toward disorder—that is, things tend to fall into disarray or run down.

Evolution Must be Exempt to be Real

Upward evolutionary progression compared to downward 2nd LawBut evolutionary thinking assumes contradictions to this law. Evolutionists say that things are getting better, that they can go from disorder to order by themselves, by random chance.


Evolutionists argue that the Second Law applies to isolated systems (that is, systems that cannot exchange matter or energy with their surroundings). The earth is an open system, because it can exchange energy and matter with the rest of the universe. Specifically, the earth receives energy from the sun.

But does this invalidate the Second Law? No. Raw energy radiating upon the earth alone cannot create order out of chaos. Indeed, it does just the opposite. Sunlight, in particular ultraviolet radiation, breaks organic molecules down into simpler components.

Even if more complex molecules were to form from simpler ones, in “some warm little pond” as Darwin imagined, they would quickly be broken down by solar radiation. The very energy that life depends upon would destroy it before it even got started. The potentially destructive power of sunlight is evident in skin cancer, in paint peeling off of walls, and in vegetation withering during a drought.

If anything in life is certain beside death and taxes, it is the Second Law. In short, it pops up everywhere. It says that no matter how much wishful thinking there may be, evolution cannot overcome it.

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On the contrary, no evidence has ever been presented that the Second Law breaks down under any circumstances. —A. B. Pippard, Cambridge Prof. of Physics¹

It takes more than just energy and raw materials to create life. It takes a mechanism, an ordering process. It also takes information. Raw energy just creates disorder. Undirected raw energy cannot create increased order any more than an explosion in a print shop can create a set of encyclopedias.

The new information required to create a new species cannot be generated through random processes. Information cannot create itself—it must have a source, an Intelligent Designer.

Evolutionist Fred Hoyle put it another way:

The chance that higher life forms have emerged in this way [by mutations over long periods of time] is comparable with the chance that a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 from the material therein.²

Evolutionists cite instances of apparent increasing complexity, arguing that these show the Second Law may be circumvented. Examples often cited are tiny seeds growing into tall trees, or complex patterns forming in snowflakes from simple water molecules. But there’s no increase in complexity here. The information required to grow a tree is already present in the DNA of the seed; the patterns in a snowflake are already found within the structure of water molecules.

Let Us Hear the Conclusion of the Matter

The logical conclusion of all this is that there must be a First Cause, an Intelligent Designer who supplied the necessary information for all of life In the Beginning. At that time there was perfect order. But ever since then things have been running down. Despite all the claims, no one has ever seen a new, more complex species evolve from a simpler one.

The ultimate question of course is, “Where did we come from?”

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The Second Law says we couldn’t have come about by random processes. The only alternative is Creation. This is unpalatable to some, but it’s time we give our Creator the credit, instead of trying to get rid of Him from our society.


  1. Elements of Chemical Thermodynamics for Advanced Students of Physics (Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press, 1966), p. 100.

Bruce Barton portrait 2014

Written by Bruce Barton

Bruce Barton has been actively involved in speaking and teaching in the creation–evolution controversy for over 15 years. Bruce combines his background in science, engineering, and theology to show how science supports the Genesis account of creation in a way that makes claims about origins understandable to everyone. He’s spoken at creation conferences and seminars, taught homeschool and Christian school classes, youth groups, and adult classes, and has led many creation science field trips in Washington State. You can find him at Bruce's Musings

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