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GENESIS 1:1—How can the universe have a “beginning” when modern science says energy is eternal?

GENESIS 1:1—How can the have a “beginning” when modern  says energy is eternal?

PROBLEM: According to the First Law of Thermodynamics, “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.” If this is so, then the must be eternal, since it is made of indestructible energy. However, the Bible indicates that the had a “beginning” and did not exist before God “created” it (Gen. 1:1). Is this not a contradiction between the Bible and ?

SOLUTION: There is a conflict of opinion here, but no real factual contradiction. The factual evidence indicates that the is not eternal, but that it did have a beginning just as the Bible says. Several observations are relevant here.
First of all, the First Law of Thermodynamics is often misstated to the effect that energy “cannot be created.” However, is based on observation, and statements such as “can” or “cannot” are not based on observation, but are dogmatic pronouncements. The First Law should be stated like this: “[So far as we can observe] the amount of actual energy in the remains constant.” That is, as far as we know, the actual amount of energy in the is not decreasing or increasing. Stated this way, the First Law makes no pronouncement whatsoever about where energy came from, or how long it has been here. Thus, it does not contradict the Genesis declaration that God created the .
Second, another well-established scientific law is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It states that “the amount of usable energy in the is decreasing.” According to this Law, the is running down. Its energy is being transformed into unusable heat. If this is so, then the is not eternal, since it would have run out of usable energy a long time ago. Or, to put it another way, if the is unwinding, then it was wound up. If it had an infinite amount of energy it would never run down. Therefore, the had a beginning, just as Genesis 1:1 says it did.

Geisler, N. L., & Howe, T. A. (1992). When critics ask : A popular handbook on Bible difficulties (27). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

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