"THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS" The Works Of The Flesh - III (5:19-21) by Mark Copeland

                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS"

                 The Works Of The Flesh - III (5:19-21)


1. For several lessons we have focused on the "works of the flesh"
   listed in Ga 5:19-21

2. We have broken them up into several categories, including...
   a. Sins of moral impurity (adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
   b. Idolatry and sorcery
   c. Infractions of the law of love (hatred, contentions, jealousies,
      outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,

3. In this study, we shall end our study of the works of the flesh by
   considering two sins...
   a. Drunkenness and revelries, which can be classified as sins of
   b. We shall also make an observation on the manner in which Paul
      concludes his list of the "works of the flesh"

[We begin by considering the two...]


   A. DRUNKENNESS (Grk., methe)...
      1. This word describes the state of intoxication due to alcohol
      2. The Bible is very strong in...
         a. Its condemnation of drunkenness - cf. 1Co 5:11; 6:9-10
         b. Its warning about the dangers of drinking - cf. Pr 20:1;
      3. What about "drinking" that does not lead to "drunkenness"?
         a. The level of alcohol in modern day alcoholic beverages makes
            it difficult to distinguish between the two
            1) Levels of alcohol are much higher today due to advanced
               distilling techniques
            2) Some of the strongest drinks in the past were not much
               stronger than our mild beers today, thus making it much
               easier to get drunk today
            3) In ancient Greece there was very little drunkenness, for
               the normal practice was to dilute two parts of wine to
               three parts of water
         b. The Christian is also bound by the principle of influence
            - cf. Ro 14:13-21
            1) Should Christians engage in an activity (social drinking)
               that contributes to...
               a) The number one drug problem in our country? (1 in 9
                  are alcoholics)
               b) The senseless killing of 25,000 innocent victims a
                  year? (half of all driving related accidents involve
                  driving under the influence of alcohol)
               c) An estimated 25% of divorces? (which God hates 
                  - Mal 2:16)
            2) The responsibility of the Christian regarding influence
               is clear - Ro 14:21; 1Co 10:31-33
               a) Only the insensitive and selfish Christian would try
                  to justify engaging in social drinking today
               b) The mature Christian considers whether the practice
                  glorifies God, and benefits his fellow man

      1. This word refers to feasts and drinking parties that were often
         extended till late at night and indulge in revelry
      2. Such behavior is condemned not only here, but also in Ro 13:
      3. Modern day forms of this sin would include what goes on at...
         a. Mardi Gras in New Orleans
         b. Many New Year's parties
         c. Some office Christmas' parties
         d. Some music concerts
      4. It does not require too much wisdom to see why such behavior is
         a. How many friendships, marriages, etc., have been destroyed
            by unrestrained behavior
            that goes on at such functions?
         b. Even the "innocent" can often get caught up in the
            excitement and do something that ruins the rest of their
      5. In 1Pe 4:3-4, Peter states that...
         a. Such behavior as Christians is unbecoming
         b. The world thinks us strange for not engaging in such things

[The world may think us strange because we refrain from such things as
drunkenness and revelries; but as Peter goes on to say in 1Pe 4:5, all
will have to give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and
the dead.  It is in view of the Judgment that prompts Christians to take
the "works of the flesh" seriously.  And not just those specifically
mentioned in Ga 5:19-21, but as Paul goes on to say...]


      1. Paul's list is not to be taken as all inclusive
      2. The sins listed are to give us a basic idea of the kind of
         things we are to avoid
      3. We must apply discernment on many activities which may not be
         specifically condemned in the Scriptures
         a. Many people want a "Thou shall not..." for anything to be
         b. But the Bible does not list everything that is wrong (if it
            did, you would have to carry it around in a wheel barrow)
         c. Instead, we are given basic principles of conduct, with some
            specific examples to illustrate such principles
         d. We are expected to exercise discernment concerning good and
            evil using the principles found in the Scriptures 
            - cf. He 5:12-14

      1. Today we are often faced with issues that may not be
         specifically mentioned in the Bible
         a. E.g., questions related to dancing, drugs, movies, music,
            smoking, television programs.
         b. How do I know when something not specifically addressed is
            right or wrong?
      2. One helpful way is to compare the activity in question to the
         two lists found in Ga 5:19-23
         a. Is the active "like" the works of the flesh?
         b. Or is it "like" the fruit of the Spirit?
      3. The better we understand these "works of the flesh" (as well as
         what constitutes the "fruit of the Spirit), the better we are
         to make decisions conducive to godly living


1. Such has been the purpose of our study:  to learn what sort of things
   constitute the "works of the flesh", so that we know what to avoid

2. For remember what Paul has written...

   "Those who practice SUCH THINGS will not inherit the kingdom of God"
                                                            (Ga 5:21)

3. Whether it be one of those things specifically listed, or something
   "such like" them, the consequences will be devastating!

4. In addition, the practice of such things makes it impossible to
   produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives - cf. Ga 5:17

5. Finally:  the use of the word "practice" (Ga 5:21) implies that Paul
   is warning against those who persistently engage in such sins and
   refuse to repent...
   a. We have all been guilty of one or more of things that can keep us
      out of the kingdom of heaven
   b. But by God's grace anyone can receive forgiveness, as implied in
      this passage:

   "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom
   of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor
   adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor
   covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit
   the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed,
   but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the
   Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." (1Co 6:9-11)

If you are willing to give up the "practice" of such sins, you too can
have your sins washed away, finding sanctification and justification
through Jesus and the Spirit of God! - cf. Ac 2:38; 22:16

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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Did Moses Make a Scientific Mistake? by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


Did Moses Make a Scientific Mistake?

by Wayne Jackson, M.A.


The Bible speaks of two animals, the coney and the hare, as “chewing the cud.” Isn't the Bible mistaken on this point? These animals do not actually chew the cud, do they?


An infidel once wrote: “Something that has long perplexed me is the way that inerrancy proponents can so easily find ‘scientific foreknowledge’ in obscurely worded Bible passages but seem completely unable to see scientific error in statements that were rather plainly written.” This skeptic then cited Leviticus 11:5-6, where the coney and the hare are said to chew the cud, and boasted that since these animals do not have compartmentalized stomachs like those in ruminants (e.g., the cow), Moses clearly made a mistake. What shall we say to this charge?
First, no scientific mistake can be attributed to the Bible unless all of the facts are fully known. In such an alleged case, the biblical assertion must be unambiguous. The scientific information must be factual. And an indisputable conflict must prevent any harmonization of the two. Do these criteria obtain in this matter? They do not.
Second, we must note that the words “coney” (Hebrew shaphan) and “hare” (arnebeth) are rare and difficult words in the Old Testament. The former is found but four times, and the latter only twice. The etymology of the terms is obscure. In the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament), shaphan is rendered by dasupoda, meaning “rough foot,” and arnebethbecomes choirogrullion, literally, “swine-pig.” Hence, identification becomes a factor. It is commonly believed, however, that the arnebeth is some species of hare, and that shaphandenotes the Syrian hyrax.
But, so it is claimed, neither of these chews the cud. A number of scholars have noted that both of these animals, even when at rest, masticate, much like the cow or sheep, and that Moses thus employed phenomenal language (i.e., describing something as it appears), for the purpose of ready identification, inasmuch as these creatures were ceremonially unclean and thus prohibited for use as food (Archer, 1982, p. 126).
That is not an impossible solution. Bats, for example, are listed along with birds in Leviticus 11, not because both are mammals, but simply because both fly. The Scriptures do not necessarily follow the arbitrary classification systems of man. When Christ said that the mustard seed is “less than all seeds,” (Matthew 13:33), He was speaking from the vantage point of the Palestinian citizen—not that of a modern botanist. We today employ phenomenal jargon when we speak of the Sun “rising and setting.” Technically, it is not correct to refer to a woman’s amniotic fluid as “water,” and yet doctors employ this language frequently. Why do we not allow the biblical writers as much literary license as we ourselves employ? The bias of agnosticism is utterly incredible.
There is, however, another factor that must be taken into consideration. Rumination does not necessarily involve a compartmentalized stomach system. One definition of “ruminate” is simply “to chew again that which has been swallowed” (Webster’s Dictionary). And oddly enough, that is precisely what the hare does. Though the hare does not have a multi-chambered stomach—which is characteristic of most ruminants—it does chew its food a second time. It has been learned rather recently that hares pass two types of fecal material.

In addition to normal waste, they pass a second type of pellet known as a caecotroph. The very instant the caecotroph is passed, it is grabbed and chewed again.... As soon as the caecotroph is chewed thoroughly and swallowed, it aggregates in the cardiac region of the stomach where it undergoes a second digestion (Morton, 1978, pp. 179-181).
This complicated process provides the rabbit with 100% more riboflavin, 80% more niacin, 160% more pantothenic acid, and a little in excess of 40% more vitamin B12 (Harrison, 1980, p. 121). In a comparative study of cows and rabbits, Jules Carles concluded that rumination should not be defined from an anatomical point of view (e.g., the presence of a four-part stomach); rather, it should be viewed from the standpoint of a mechanism for breeding bacteria to improve food. Cows and rabbits are similar in that both possess a fermentation chamber with microorganisms that digest otherwise indigestible plant material, converting it into nutrients. Some of the microorganisms in these two animals are the same, or very similar. Carles has stated that on this basis “it is difficult to deny that rabbits are ruminants” (as quoted in Brand, 1977, p. 104). Dr. Bernard Grzimek, Director of the Frankfurt Zoological Gardens in Germany, likewise has classified the hare as a ruminant (1975, pp. 421-422).
On the other hand, the hyrax also is considered by some to be a ruminant, based upon the fact that it has a multiple digestive process.
The hyrax has a very long protrusion, a caecum, and two additional caeca near the colon. At least one of these protrusions participates in decomposition of cellulose. It contributes certain enzymes necessary for breakdown of the cellulose (Morton, 1978, p. 184).
Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia (1975) considers the hyrax as a ruminant. Professor Joseph Fischel of the University of California has suggested that the biblical allusion to the coney as a cud-chewer probably was due “to the structure of its digestive system, the protuberances in its large stomach together with its appendix and maw possibly being regarded as analogous to a ruminant’s four stomachs” (1971, p. 1144). In his significant study of the intestinal microflora in herbivores, scientist Richard McBee observed that the hyrax has a fermentation chamber for the digestion of grass by microorganisms (as quoted in Brand, 1977, p. 103).
Finally, the precise meaning of gerah, rendered “chewing the cud” in most versions, is uncertain. Many orthodox Jews consider it simply to mean a second mastication, or the semblance of chewing. Samuel Clark stated that the meaning of gerah “became expanded, and the rodents and pachyderms, which have a habit of grinding with their jaws, were familiarly spoken of as ruminating animals” (1981, 1:546).
In view of the foregoing facts, it is extremely presumptuous to suggest that the Mosaic account contains an error relative to these creatures. A sensible interpretive procedure and/or an acquaintance with accurate information would have eliminated such a rash and unwarranted conclusion.


Archer, Gleason (1982), Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Brand, Leonard R. (1977), “Do Rabbits Chew the Cud?,” Origins, 4(2):102-104.
Clark, Samuel (1981), “Leviticus,” The Bible Commentary, ed. F.C. Cook (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Fischel, Joseph W. (1971), “Hyrax,” Encyclopedia Judaica (New York: Macmillan).
Grzimek, Bernard, ed. (1975), Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold).
Harrison, R.K. (1980), Leviticus (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press).
Morton, Jean Sloat (1978), Science in the Bible (Chicago, IL: Moody).

God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.


God and the Laws of Thermodynamics: A Mechanical Engineer’s Perspective

by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was written by A.P.’s staff scientist. He holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington and Auburn University, respectively, with emphases in Thermal Science and Navigation and Control of Biological Systems.]
“[T]he principles of thermodynamics have been in existence since the creation of the universe” (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 2, emp. added). So states a prominent textbook used in schools of engineering across America. Indeed, these principles prove themselves to be absolutely critical in today’s engineering applications. Much of the engineering technology available today is based on the foundational truths embodied in the Laws of Thermodynamics. As the writers of one engineering thermodynamics textbook stated: “Energy is a fundamental concept of thermodynamics and one of the most significant aspects of engineering analysis” (Moran and Shapiro, 2000, p. 35). Do these laws have application to the creation/evolution debate as creationists suggest? What do they actually say and mean? How are they applied today in the scientific world? Let us explore these questions.
The word “thermodynamics” originally was used in a publication by Lord Kelvin (formerly William Thomson), the man often called the Father of Thermodynamics because of his articulation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics in 1849 (Cengel and Boles, p. 2). The term comes from two Greek words: therme, meaning “heat,” and dunamis, meaning “force” or “power” (American Heritage..., 2000, pp. 558,1795). Thermodynamics can be summarized essentially as the science of energy, including heat, work (defined as the energy required to move a force a certain distance), potential energy, internal energy, and kinetic energy. The basic principles and laws of thermodynamics are understood thoroughly today by the scientific community. Thus, the majority of the work with the principles of thermodynamics is done by engineers who simply utilize the already understood principles in their designs. A thorough understanding of the principles of thermodynamics which govern our Universe can help an engineer to learn effectively to control the impact of heat in his/her designs.


Though there are many important thermodynamic principles that govern the behavior of energy, perhaps the most critical principles of significance in the creation/evolution controversy are the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. What are these laws that not only are vital to the work of an engineer, but central to this debate?

The First Law

The First Law of Thermodynamics was formulated originally by Robert Mayer (1814-1878). He stated: “I therefore hope that I may reckon on the reader’s assent when I lay down as an axiomatic truth that, just as in the case of matter, so also in the case of force [the term used at that time for energy—JM], only a transformation but never a creation takes place” (as quoted in King, 1962, p. 5). That is, given a certain amount of energy in a closed system, that energy will remain constant, though it will change form (see Figure 1). As evolutionist Willard Young says in defining the First Law, “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form to another” (1985, p. 8).
Figure 1
This principle, also known as the “conservation of energy principle” (Cengel and Boles, p. 2), can be demonstrated by the burning of a piece of wood. When the wood is burned, it is transformed into a different state. The original amount of energy present before the burning is still present. However, much of that energy was transformed into a different state, namely, heat. No energy disappeared from the Universe, and no energy was brought into the Universe through burning the wood. Concerning the First Law, Young further explains that
the principle of the conservation of energy is considered to be the single most important and fundamental ‘law of nature’ presently known to science, and is one of the most firmly established. Endless studies and experiments have confirmed its validity over and over again under a multitude of different conditions (p. 165, emp. added).
This principle is known to be a fact about nature—without exception.

The Second Law

In the nineteenth century, Lord Kelvin and Rudolph Clausius (1822-1888) separately made findings that became known as the Second Law of Thermodynamics (Suplee, 2000, p. 156). The Second Law builds on the first, stating that though there is a constant amount of energy in a given system that is merely transforming into different states, that energy is becoming less usable. Extending our wood burning illustration above, after the wood is burned, the total amount of energy is still the same, but transformed into other energy states. Those energy states (e.g., ash and dissipated heat to the environment) are less retrievable and less accessible (see Figure 2).
Figure 2
This process is irreversible. The implication, to be discussed below, is that the Universe is running out of usable energy. Lord Kelvin stated that energy is “irrevocably lost to man and therefore ‘wasted,’ though not annihilated” (as quoted in Thompson, 1910, p. 288). This principle is known as entropy. Simply put, entropy states that nature is tending towards disorder and chaos. Will the paint job on your house maintain its fresh appearance over time? Will your son’s room actually become cleaner on its own, or will it tend toward disorder? Even without your son’s assistance, dust and decay take their toll. Although work can slow the entropy, it cannot stop it. Renowned evolutionary science writer Isaac Asimov explained:
Another way of stating the Second Law then is “The universe is constantly getting more disorderly!” Viewed that way we can see the Second Law all about us. We have to work hard to straighten a room, but left to itself it becomes a mess again very quickly and very easily. Even if we never enter it, it becomes dusty and musty. How difficult to maintain houses, and machinery, and our own bodies in perfect working order: how easy to let them deteriorate. In fact, all we have to do is nothing, and everything deteriorates, collapses, breaks down, wears out, all by itself—and that is what the Second Law is all about (1970, p. 6).
Entropy is simply a fact of nature. Entropy can be minimized in this Universe, but it cannot be eradicated. That is where engineers come in. We must figure out ways of minimizing energy loss and maximizing useful energy before it is forever lost. Thousands of engineering jobs are dedicated to addressing this fundamental fact of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Your energy bill is affected directly by it. If the Second Law was not fixed, engineers could not develop the technology necessary to maximize usable energy, thereby lowering your energy costs.
This concept is analyzed and quantified by engineers using what thermodynamics textbooks call “efficiencies.” Efficiencies reduce to “energy out” (desired output) divided by “energy in” (required input) (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 249). For instance, a turbine is the “device that drives an electric generator” in steam, gas, or hydroelectric power plants (p. 188). By taking the actual work done by the turbine and dividing it by the work required to operate the turbine, an engineer can calculate the turbine’s efficiency. Discovering or designing ways to maximize that ratio can be lucrative business for an engineer.
Another type of efficiency is called “isentropic efficiency.” For a turbine, isentropic efficiency is essentially the ratio of the amount of work that is done by the turbine to the amount of work that could be done by the turbine if it were “isentropic,” or without entropy. Again, the closer an engineer can approach 100% efficiency, the better. However, engineers know they cannot reach 100% efficiency because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Energy loss is inevitable. As the engineering textbook Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach states: “Well-designed, large turbines have isentropic efficiencies above 90 percent. For small turbines, however, it may drop even below 70%” (Cengel and Boles, p. 341).
Some engineers devote their entire careers to minimizing entropy in the generation of power from energy. All this effort is based on the principles established by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. These principles are established as fact in the scientific community. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines “law” as “a statement describing a relationship observed to be invariable between or among phenomena for all cases in which the specified conditions are met” (2000, p. 993, emp. added). Since laws are invariable, i.e., unchanging and constant, they have no exceptions. Otherwise, they would not be classified as laws. Tracy Walters, a mechanical engineer working in thermal engineering, observed:
It has been my experience that many people do not appreciate how uncompromising the Laws of Thermodynamics actually are. It is felt, perhaps, that the Laws are merely general tendencies or possibly only theoretical considerations. In reality, though, the Laws of Thermodynamics are hard as nails, and...the more one works with these Laws, the deeper respect one gains for them (1986, 9[2]:8, emp. added).
Evolutionist Jeremy Rifkin stated that “the Entropy Law will preside as the ruling paradigm over the next period of history. Albert Einstein said that it is the premier law of all science; Sir Arthur Eddington referred to it as the ‘supreme metaphysical law of the entire universe’” (1980, p. 6). God designed it. Creationists believe it. Engineers use it. Evolutionists, as will be shown, cannot harmonize it with their theory.


Some evolutionists argue that creationists take the Laws out of context when applying them to the creation/evolution debate. Mark Isaak, the editor of the Index to Creationist Claims, for instance, alleges that creationists “misinterpret” the Second Law of Thermodynamics in their application of the law to the creation/evolution controversy (Isaak, 2003). So what is the proper context for the Laws of Thermodynamics? Do these principles apply to the debate or not? Are creationists “misinterpreting” the laws?
A host of examples could, of course, demonstrate how mechanical engineers use the Laws of Thermodynamics in design today. Without these laws being fixed and well-understood by the scientific community, such designs would be impossible. As explained earlier, the vast majority of the work engineers do with the laws today is in their application to nature, rather than the study of the laws themselves. The laws already are thoroughly understood. To determine if creationists are “misinterpreting” the Laws of Thermodynamics or inaccurately applying them to the creation/evolution debate, consider three engineering examples that demonstrate the Laws in action.
Example #1. Perhaps one of the most celebrated—and appreciated—engineering designs of the 20th century pertaining to thermodynamics is the air-conditioning system. Briefly explained, an air-conditioning unit is a machine that was designed to acquire a large quantity of air from a system (e.g., a home or the interior of a car), remove heat from that air, and then release the cooled air back into the system, while disposing of the heat into a “heat sink” (e.g., the outdoors). Simply stated, this process occurs through what many engineers call a vapor-compression refrigeration cycle (Moran and Shapiro, 2000, p. 517)—a cycle heavily rooted in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In this cycle, a fluid (called a “refrigerant”) in “super-heated” vapor form flows through a pipe and into a compressor where it is compressed into a hotter gas with a higher pressure. From the compressor, the gas moves into the next phase of the cycle, composed of a set of coils (a condenser). As the refrigerant flows through the condenser, some of the heat is removed, and the refrigerant condenses into a liquid. Moving through an expansion valve, the refrigerant is “throttled” into a colder, lower-pressure mixture of liquid and vapor.
One principle of thermodynamics, as noted originally in 1824 by the French physicist Sadi Carnot (Suplee, 2000, p. 156), indicates that in a system, heat will move from higher temperature sources to lower temperature sources until an equilibrium temperature is reached (Incropera and DeWitt, 2002, p. 2). This principle is directly utilized in the final step of the cycle. In this step, the low temperature refrigerant exiting the expansion valve moves through a set of coils called the evaporator that absorbs heat from the refrigerated area. At this point, the refrigerant has absorbed enough heat to return to its initial vapor state, and is ready to repeat the cycle.
In what way did the thermodynamic laws come into play in this process? One of the major responsibilities of the engineer is to take the principles stated by the laws of science and understand them enough to be able to apply them in new designs. In order to apply scientific laws, engineers must formulate ways to quantify the concepts articulated by those laws. In the case of the above example, engineers must take the principles stated in the Laws of Thermodynamics in particular and quantify them. To apply the First Law of Thermodynamics to design, engineers must first quantify the energy that is or will be present in a system (work, potential energy, kinetic energy, heat, internal energy, etc.). As the First Law states, the amount of energy present in the system remains constant during a closed system process—a system that “consists of a fixed amount of mass, and no mass can cross its boundary” (Cengel and Boles, 2002, p. 9). The engineer must calculate the amount of energy utilized within a system before a process and set it equal to the amount of energy present in the system after the process. The energy may change forms (i.e., work is partially transformed into heat), but the total amount of energy in the system remains constant.
Considering the above example again, engineers would quantify the energy that is being inserted into the system (such as the electrical energy required to run the compressor) and the energy that results from the processes in the system (such as the heat released into the “heat sink”). The energy would then be equalized, with a primary concern being to achieve the optimum usableenergy as an output, understanding that there will be a certain amount of wasted energy due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics (see Figure 3). The more usable energy achieved in the system processes, the more financially desirable the process, and the less energy wasted.
Figure 3
In order to facilitate this endeavor, a quantification of the principles inherent in the Second Law of Thermodynamics is essential. As noted earlier, efficiencies are essentially a measure of the usable energy achieved during a process. Achieving optimum energy efficiencies in the design of different machines helps to reduce the inevitable entropy implied by the Second Law.
Again, in the above example, in order to accomplish the refrigeration cycle, a compressor is used. To run the compressor, work (energy) must be used to compress the refrigerant to the right pressure to go through the condenser. Engineers must design these compressors to yield optimum efficiency, taking the Second Law into account, since the refrigeration/air conditioning process is not an isentropic one (i.e., a process with no entropy). The amount of energy required to operate the compressor to pressurize the refrigerant is more than the heat transfer that will occur from the hot room to the hotter outdoors due to the presence of the Second Law. In other words, usable energy is lost along the way (see Figure 4). This unalterable principle, which governs and permeates all of nature, will be shown to contradict the theory of evolution. Available energy is gradually being consumed. Engineers can slow the process, making the loss as efficient as possible, and maximizing energy usage. However, energy loss cannot be stopped due to the existence of the exceptionless Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Figure 4
Example #2. A second thermodynamic engineering example is seen in much of today’s electronic equipment. For example, a computer has many microchips (see Figure 5). Due to an understanding of the First Law of Thermodynamics, when work is done within a computer by a microchip, an extremely high amount of heat is released to its surroundings. As noted earlier, the Laws stipulate that the amount of energy that goes into a process must equal the amount of energy that results after the process. As computers get more powerful, the heat energy output becomes a more serious problem, especially considering that the computer components are moving closer to each other as computers become more compact. The intense heat that radiates from chips must be transferred away from the computer, or melting will occur among the system components. Faced with this significant problem, engineers are called upon for solutions. How can we continue to decrease the size of computers, increase their power, and still have the ability to transfer enough heat out of them to preserve their components? By adjusting the amount of power input and the rate at which heat is released in the First Law equation, engineers can ensure that the system will not be overloaded with heat.
Figure 5
Example #3. A third example of how engineers use thermodynamic principles in design is demonstrated by the examination of a vapor power plant that produces electrical power (see Figure 6). Similar to the air conditioning system, the vapor power plant cycle also often is composed of four components. According to Moran and Shapiro, in this cycle liquid water is passed through a boiler which has a heat input. The water then changes phase to a vapor and enters a turbine, where it expands and develops a work output from the turbine (electrical power). The temperature of the vapor drops in the turbine and then goes through a condenser where heat is passed from the vapor into a “cold reservoir.” Some of the vapor condenses to a liquid phase. The water then passes into a pump (compressor) where the water is returned to its initial state before repeating the cycle (2000, p. 229). Again, engineers recognize the limitations imposed by the Second Law, and must minimize entropy as much as possible when designing the turbine and pump (recognizing entropy cannot be eliminated). The more efficient the cycle components are designed, the more power the world gets and the less wasted energy there will be.
Figure 6
To recap, the engineering community utilizes the simple concepts inherent in the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics—laws which govern nature in a very straightforward manner. The First Law: Energy in any closed system is constant. The amount of energy in a system before a process must equal the amount of energy that is in the system after the process (though it will change form). The Second Law: The energy in a given system is becoming less usable. Some of the usable energy inevitably will be lost, no matter what measures are taken. It would be beneficial if entropy were zero for an automobile’s fuel system. We could buy one tank of gas and simply reuse all of its energy indefinitely! The fuel would not transform into wasted, less usable forms (heat, exhaust, etc.).


When understood properly, the Laws of Thermodynamics apply directly to the creation/evolution controversy in precisely the same way they apply in the above examples to the work of engineers. In fact, these foundational truths utilized daily by the engineering world, have eternally significant, spiritual implications in that they prove that God exists. How so?
If there is no God, the existence of the Universe must be explained without Him. The Big Bang theory claims that all matter in the Universe initially was condensed in a sphere the size of a period at the end of this sentence (see Thompson, et al., 2003, 23[5]:32-34,36-47). However, this theory offers no explanation for the origin of that sphere. The only logical possibilities for its existence are that it popped into existence out of nothing (spontaneous generation), it always existed, or it was created (see Figure 7).
Figure 7

Possibility 1: Spontaneous Generation of the Universe

Consider the entire physical Universe as a system consisting of all mass/matter/energy that exists in the Universe. Without a God, this Universe would have to be a closed system. Since our system encompasses the entire Universe, there is no more mass that can cross the system’s boundary, which necessitates our system being closed—without the existence of God. If mass, matter, and energy could enter and/or exit the system, the system would be an open system—which is the contention of a creationist. However, without a God, the entire physical Universe as a system logically would have to be a closed system. Atheists must so believe in order to explain the Universe without God.
The First Law of Thermodynamics states that in a closed system, the amount of energy present in that system is constant, though it transforms into other forms of energy, as in the case of the above compressor. So, if the Universe as a whole initially contained no mass/matter/energy (energy input is equal to zero), and then it spontaneously generated all of the mass/matter/energy in the Universe (energy output is unequal to zero), the First Law would be violated. Applying the earlier example of the compressor, this circumstance would be equivalent to saying that the sum total heat loss and compressor work is greater than the electrical input—which is impossible. Without intervention from an outside force, the amount of mass/matter/energy in the Universe would have remained constant (unchanged) at zero. As was mentioned earlier, there are no exceptions to laws, or else they would not be laws. The First Law of Thermodynamics has no known exceptions. As previously explained, the Law is accepted as fact by all scientists in general and utilized by engineers in particular. Therefore, the Universe, composed of all mass/matter/energy, could not have spontaneously generated (popped into existence on its own) without violating the exceptionless and highly respected First Law of Thermodynamics. The energy level of the Universe would not have been constant. Spontaneous generation would be the equivalent of a zero energy input to a system and a non-zero output (see Figure 8). The Universe could not have come into existence without the presence and intervention of a Force outside of the closed system of the entire physical Universe. The Universe therefore must be an open system that was created by a non-physical force (not composed of mass/matter/energy) outside of the physical boundary of this Universe (above nature, or supernatural) with the capability of bringing it into existence out of nothing. That Force can be none other than the supernatural God of the Bible. Scientifically speaking, the Universe could not and did not spontaneously generate.
Figure 8
Unfortunately, though this truth is so glaringly obvious, there has been a recent surge of sentiment in the impossible notion that this Universe could have created itself—that something could come from nothing. British evolutionist Anthony Kenny (1980), physics professor from City University in New York, Edward Tryon (1984), and physicists Alan Guth from MIT and Paul Steinhardt of Princeton (1984) are just a few who are open proponents of this notion. However, the truth still stands. Until the First Law of Thermodynamics ceases to be a fundamental law explaining this Universe, the spontaneous generation of this Universe from nothing is impossible.

Possibility 2: Eternal Existence of the Universe

Again, considering the entire Universe as a system necessitates that it be a closed system. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that though energy in a closed system is constant (First Law of Thermodynamics), that energy is transforming into less usable forms of energy (i.e., the Universe is “running down”). This process is irreversible. There is a finite amount of usable energy in the Universe (which explains the widespread interest in conserving energy). That usable energy is depleting according to the Second Law, as illustrated by the less usable heat output in the examples cited earlier. Engineers strive to slow this inevitable depletion of energy, but it cannot be stopped. If the Universe has always existed (i.e., it is eternal), but there is a finite amount of usable energy, then all usable energy already should be expended (see Figure 9). Yet, usable energy still exists. So, the Universe cannot have existed forever. It had to have a beginning. The eternality of matter would be the equivalent of a system with an energy input and 100% usable energy output (see Figure 10).
Figure 9
Figure 10
No wonder the evolutionists, themselves, sometimes concede this truth. In his book, Until the Sun Dies, renowned evolutionary astronomer Robert Jastrow stated:
The lingering decline predicted by astronomers for the end of the world differs from the explosive conditions they have calculated for its birth, but the impact is the same: modern science denies an eternal existence of the Universe, either in the past or in the future (1977, p. 30, emp. added).
In his book, God and the Astronomers, Dr. Jastrow reiterated this truth: “Now three lines of evidence—the motions of the galaxies, the laws of thermodynamics, the life story of the stars—pointed to one conclusion; all indicated that the Universe had a beginning” (p. 111).

Possibility 3: The Inevitable Implication

To repeat, there are only three possible explanations for the existence of matter in the Universe. Either it spontaneously generated, it is eternal, or it was created. Atheists use the theory of evolution in an attempt to explain the existence and state of the Universe today. In order for the theory of evolution to be true, thereby accounting for the existence of mankind, either all of the mass/matter/energy of the Universe spontaneously generated (i.e., it popped into existence out of nothing), or it has always existed (i.e., it is eternal.). Without an outside force (a transcendent, omnipotent, eternal, superior Being), no other options for the existence of the Universe are available. However, as the Laws of Thermodynamics prove, the spontaneous generation and the eternality of matter are logically and scientifically impossible. One possible option remains: the Universe was created by the Creator.


Evolutionists claim that science and the idea of God are irreconcilable. “Only one of them can be the truth,” they say, “and you cannot prove there is a God.” However, the Laws of Thermodynamics, which science itself recognizes in its explanations of the phenomena in the Universe, were designed by the Chief Engineer. As expected, they prove to be in complete harmony with His existence, contrary to the claims of evolutionists. God, Himself, articulated these laws centuries ago. At the very beginning of the Bible, the First Law of Thermodynamics was expressed when Moses penned, “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:1-2, emp. added). After the six days of Creation, the mass/matter/energy creation process was terminated. As evolutionist Willard Young said regarding the First Law: “Energy can be neither created nor destroyed, but can only be converted from one form to another” (Young, 1985, p. 8). Through the hand of the Hebrews writer, God also articulated centuries ago what scientists call the Second Law of Thermodynamics: “You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment” (1:10-11, emp. added).
The inspired writer wrote in Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Paul declared in Acts 14:17, “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” The psalmist affirmed, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” (19:1). Paul assured the Romans, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (1:20, emp. added).
In closing, we return to Lord Kelvin, the Father of Thermodynamics, for fitting final thoughts.
I cannot admit that, with regard to the origin of life, science neither affirms nor denies Creative Power. Science positively affirms Creative Power. It is not in dead matter that we live and move and have our being [Acts 17:28—JM], but in the creating and directing Power which science compels us to accept as an article of belief.... There is nothing between absolute scientific belief in a Creative Power, and the acceptance of the theory of a fortuitous concourse of atoms.... Forty years ago I asked Liebig, walking somewhere in the country if he believed that the grass and flowers that we saw around us grew by mere chemical forces. He answered, “No, no more than I could believe that a book of botany describing them could grow by mere chemical forces”.... Do not be afraid of being free thinkers! If you think strongly enough you will be forced by science to the belief in God, which is the foundation of all religion. You will find science not antagonistic but helpful to religion (as quoted in Smith, 1981, pp. 307-308, emp. added).
So, according to the Father of Thermodynamics, evolutionists are failing to “think strongly enough.” No wonder the psalmist asserted: “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (14:1).


American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000), (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin), fourth edition.
Asimov, Isaac (1970), “In the Game of Energy and Thermodynamics You Can’t Even Break Even,” Smithsonian Institute Journal, pp. 4-10, June.
Cengel, Yunus A. and Michael A. Boles (2002), Thermodynamics: An Engineering Approach (New York: McGraw-Hill), fourth edition.
Guth, Alan and Paul Steinhardt (1984), “The Inflationary Universe,” Scientific American, 250:116-128, May.
Incropera, Frank P. and David P. DeWitt (2002), Fundamentals of Heat and Mass Transfer (New York: John Wiley & Sons), fifth edition.
Isaak, Mark (2003), “Five Major Misconceptions about Evolution,” The TalkOrigins Archive: Exploring the Creation/Evolution Controversy, [On-line], URL:http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html#proof.
Jastrow, Robert (1977), Until the Sun Dies (New York: W.W. Norton).
Jastrow, Robert (1978), God and the Astro­nomers (New York: W.W. Norton).
Kenny, Anthony (1980), The Five Ways: St. Thomas Aquinas’ Proofs of God’s Existence (South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press).
King, A.L. (1962), Thermophysics (San Francisco, CA: W.H. Freeman).
Moran, Michael J. and Howard N. Shapiro (2000), Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics(New York: John Wiley & Sons), fourth edition.
Rifkin, Jeremy (1980), Entropy: A New World View (New York: Viking).
Smith, Wilbur M. (1981), Therefore Stand (New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing).
Suplee, Curt (2000), Milestones of Science (Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society).
Thompson, Bert, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May (2003), “The Big Bang Theory—A Scientific Critique [Part 1],” Reason & Revelation, 23[5]:32-34,36-47.
Thompson, Silvanus P. (1910), Life of Lord Kelvin (London: Macmillan).
Tryon, Edward P. (1984), “What Made the World?,” New Scientist, 101:14-16, March 8.
Walters, Tracy (1986), “A Reply to John Patterson’s Arguments,” Origins Research, 9[2]:8-9, Fall/Winter.
Young, Willard (1985), Fallacies of Creationism (Calgary, Alberta, Canada: Detselig Enterprises).

What About "Out-of-Body Experiences"? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


What About "Out-of-Body Experiences"?
by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

As American civilization has been detached from its Christian moorings, a host of offbeat, confused, and superstitious ideas have infiltrated society. Especially with the resurgence of the occult in the last 50 years and Hollywood’s efforts to create credibility for “ghosts,” exorcism, and astrology, more Americans than ever before have come to believe in such hocus-pocus. One result has been the widespread belief in “out-of-body experiences.” Even among otherwise straight thinking Christians, many have come to believe that a person can “die,” as evidenced by “flatlining,” that his or her spirit momentarily leaves the body, and then returns to the body, enabling the person to regain consciousness and live to tell about the experience. Stories often include reports of tunnels with bright light at the end, feelings of warmth and reassurance, a sense of hovering above and looking down upon the operating room personnel, etc. Are such experiences proofs that individuals are, in fact, dying and exiting their bodies, and then returning again?
A brief perusal of the history of medical science reveals that, at one time, conventional wisdom held that a person was dead when breathing ceased. It was thought that the “breath of life” had departed from the individual, leaving him “dead.” As medical science advanced, it was determined that a person’s heart could still be beating though the person had stopped breathing. He had not actually died, and hence, “mouth-to-mouth” resuscitation enabled a person to start breathing again. At that point of medical understanding, it was thought that when the heart stopped beating (determined by placing one’s ear to the chest of the person), the individual had died. However, with additional advancements and understanding, it was determined that it was possible to restart the heart, through cardio-vascular resuscitation, compressions of the chest cavity, injection of powerful drugs directly into the heart, massaging the heart directly, and eventually defibrillation, in which an electrical shock is delivered to the heart with a defibrillator. The current definition of “dead” is associated more with the cessation of brain activity.  A typical definition of “flatline” is “to die or be so near death that the display of one’s vital signs on medical monitoring equipment shows a flat line rather than peaks and troughs” (Farlex, n.d.). “Flatlining” can refer either to heart or brain activity or both, depending on who is using the term.
Does the inerrant Word of God have any insight into this question? Yes, it does. The Bible teaches that God places within each prenatal person at conception a spirit that makes each individual a unique personality that will survive physical death, living on immortally throughout eternity (Zechariah 12:1). At death, the spirit separates from the body and exists in a conscious condition in the spirit realm (1 Samuel 28:15; Luke 16:19-31). James 2:26 provides a precise, technical definition of death: “[F]or as the body without the spirit is dead….” In other words, the separation of one’s spirit from one’s body results in physical death, i.e., the death of the body, not the spirit. Thus the Bible defines physical “death” as separation—not “extinction” or “annihilation” (Thayer, 1901, p. 282; Vine, 1940, p. 276). Once the spirit of a person exits the body, he or she is “dead” (Genesis 35:18; 1 Kings 17:21-22). Science will undoubtedly never develop a test for ascertaining when the spirit exits the body. After all, “a spirit does not have flesh and bones” (Luke 24:39).
In order for a person’s dead body to come to life again, the spirit would have to reenter it. The term that the Bible uses to refer to such an occurrence is “resurrection.” The only way resurrection can occur is by means of supernatural intervention by an individual who possesses authority and power from God to miraculously cause the spirit to return to the body. Instances of deceased people in Bible history whose spirits returned to their dead bodies include the following:
  1. When the widow of Zaraphath’s son became sick and died, the prophet Elijah asked God to “let this child’s soul come back to him” (1 Kings 17:21). God granted the request and the child’s soul returned to his body.
  2. Elisha restored the life of a Shunammite woman’s son who had died after complaining of severe head pain—perhaps a brain hemorrhage (2 Kings 4).
  3. When Lazarus died, his body was in an advanced state of decay by the time Jesus arrived on the scene four days later to raise him from the dead. He brought back Lazarus’ spirit into his body with the words, “Lazarus, come forth!” (John 11:43).
  4. Among the supernatural events that accompanied the death of Christ on the cross, “the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:51-53). Only God could have brought the spirits of these individuals back from the hadean realm and reinserted them into their buried bodies.
  5. When Tabitha/Dorcas became sick and died in the town of Joppa, her body was washed and laid in an upper room. The apostle Peter was in Lydda at the time, so urgent word was sent to him to come to Joppa. Clearing the room of the mourners upon his arrival, he “knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up” (Acts 9:40).
Such occurrences were rare, and always meant that the resurrected individual later died again (Jesus excepted—Acts 13:34; Romans 6:9; cf. Enoch [Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5] and Elijah [2 Kings 2:11] who never died). In every case, a miracle was necessary to restore the separated spirit of the individual to the body. Miracles served a very specific purpose in Bible times—a purpose no longer needed (Miller, 2003). Since God has chosen not to work miracles today (1 Corinthians 13:8-11; Ephesians 4:8-13), and no resurrections will occur until the general resurrection (John 5:25-29; Luke 14:14; 1 Corinthians 15:12ff.), there is no such thing as an “out-of-body experience.”
But then how does one account for the numerous reports of tunnels, lights, and feelings of warmth? The mind is an incredible, divinely designed wonder capable of far more than we know or comprehend. When anesthesia is applied to the respiratory system and bloodstream in order to prevent awareness of pain, causing a patient to become unconscious, the parts of the body that perceive (i.e., seeing, hearing, etc.) continue to function. The mind is still hearing what is being said in the operating room, whether or not the person is able later to recall the conversation. Temperature and other bodily sensors are still operative. Additionally, the mind’s ability to dream realistic dreams is surely a factor to consider. These and other features of the mind and body adequately account for the unsubstantiated allegations of “out-of-body experiences.”
One final thought: if “near death” and “out-of-body” experiences are authentic, where are the comparable reports of those who encounter the scorching, threatening fires of hell or hades (cf. Luke 16:23ff.)? Where are the accounts of individuals being warned to correct their behavior and live godly lives—as Paul admonished Titus: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12)? For those acquainted with the stabilizing influence of the Bible, all such experiences are meaningless and provide no assistance for ascertaining the meaning and purpose of life—in view of eternity. The inspired writer of Hebrews succinctly summarized the point: "[I]t is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" (9:27).
[NOTE: For an audio sermon on the topic of afterlife, click here.]


Farlex (no date), The Free Dictionaryhttp://www.thefreedictionary.com/flatlining.
Miller, Dave (2003), “Modern-Day Miracles, Tongue-Speaking, and Holy Spirit Baptism: A Refutation—EXTENDED VERSION,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=11&article=1399&topic=293.
Miller, Dave (2005), “Afterlife and the Bible,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1478.
Thayer, J.H. (1901), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977 reprint).
Vine, W.E. (1966 reprint), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).