Alan Guth and the Kavli Prize

Alan Guth and the Kavli Prize on the Nature of the Cosmos

The evidence is massive that there was a beginning to the cosmos. The cosmological argument for God’s existence is that there had to be a cause of that beginning and that the nature of the cause was an intelligence. The phrase “big bang” was invented to describe the beginning, but the big bang theory never tried to answer the question of what banged and who banged it. The April 2020 issue of Scientific American (pages 4-7) carried an article about the work of Alan Guth, who received the Kavli Prize in astrophysics in 2014. The main objective of the Kavli Prize is to honor, support, and recognize scientists for outstanding scientific work in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience, and neuroscience.

Alan Guth’s work has been to develop the theory of cosmic inflation to show that the universe is eternal and had no beginning. The chief problem with any suggestion that the universe is eternal is something called entropy. Entropy is a measure of disorder. Whenever energy is expended in any way, disorder is introduced to the system. Unless organizing energy is applied externally on the system, the disorder will grow until there is no available energy left. We call that “heat death.”

A simple example might demonstrate this. If you took a bottle of hydrogen into a room that was completely isolated from the outside and opened the container, the hydrogen would escape and spread throughout the room. If you now wanted to get the hydrogen back into the bottle, could you get every atom back? The answer is “no,” because some of the hydrogen would have morphed into something else. Protons have a half-life, and other changes could take place. The measure of what couldn’t be put back in the bottle is called entropy.

Guth gets around the need for a beginning by saying that there is no difference between the present and the past. Using black holes, dark matter, and probabilities, he proposes a model that avoids a beginning. Alan Guth received the Kavli Prize because of his imaginative, creative thinking. The fundamental problem with Guth’s proposal is that it is not testable. No experiment can be done, and no evidence can be examined to test his theory. It is not falsifiable, and thus it really does not qualify as science. Guth is a brilliant scientist speculating on what he calls “a backward world where the past is the future and where infinite parallel pocket universes pop into existence without cause.”

While Guth’s work is interesting, it is of no apologetic significance. If God has created many pocket universes, they are so isolated from us that they do not impact our lives. Guth relies on probabilities to make many steps in his theory. When we apply probabilities to what we see in the world around us, the strong suggestion is that an intelligence has been at work to produce the cosmos.

In addition to the design we see in creation, our spiritual makeup and our creativity are not connected directly to how we got to this point in time and space. Quantum theory is based on probability, and the article ends by saying, “We had better know what they (the probabilities) mean.” We would suggest they mean, “In the beginning (of our cosmos) God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Law We Must Obey

Entropy - A Law We Must Obey
Have you noticed that things wear out? Whether it’s your clothes, your car, or your favorite easy chair, they all decay over time. Iron rusts, wood rots, food spoils, and everything becomes disordered. We think of it as a normal part of life, and we refer to it as getting old. People get old too, and our bodies are not what they used to be. There is a law for this, and it’s called the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It’s a law we must obey!

The principle of increasing disorder or decay is called entropy. It is unavoidable. More than that, it’s necessary for the world in which we live. Because of the principle of entropy, heat energy can be transformed into mechanical energy to perform work. That’s what happens in the engine in your car. It’s also what happens in the muscles of your body. In other words, without entropy, you would not be able to move, or digest food, or breathe. Your heart could not beat. Every process that sustains life requires work and work requires entropy.

Decay is the inescapable result of entropy. The principle of entropy proves that there was a beginning to the universe, as the Bible says from the very first verse. If the universe were infinitely old—if it did not have a beginning—it would be completely disordered today, and no life would exist. Because of entropy, we know that the universe will end. “The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the ONE WHO SUBJECTED IT (God), in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:19-21, emphasis added).

The Second Law of Thermodynamics was part of the physical laws God created in the beginning. “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to the sonship, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8:22, 23).

In other words, for now, we must obey the Second Law of Thermodynamics and its resulting entropy. But, here’s the good news, the law we must obey, will be abolished! “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away…” (Revelation 21:1).
–Roland Earnst © 2018