Saturday, March 23, 2024

Adventures in Entropy

It seems like every time we visit Florida something breaks down. Last year we spent most of our vacation trying to get the air conditioning in our vehicle repaired. It was a comedy of errors that took several weeks and two different repair shops to temporarily resolve. It never was satisfactorily fixed.  

So this fall we decided to purchase a new-to-us (used) vehicle. That ought to solve the problem! Then, of course, someone dented our front fender within three months. Our “new” car now looks old. We never found out who hit it. The previous year the internet at the condo failed. After lots of fiddling around, the modem was replaced.  

This year it is the air conditioning in the condo that we rent. We arrived at the condo last Saturday. The place seemed stuffy. A few minutes later there was a knock on the door. A repairman informed us he had come to fix the central air. After a couple of hours he “fixed” it. Forty-eight hours later it was blowing hot air again. It took four more days to get someone to replace the whole unit.  

Yet the saga isn’t over. As I was writing this post there was another knock on the door. The repairmen need to put a new door on the closet where the central air/heat is located to provide ventilation. They left a moment ago. It will be a day or two before the repair is authorized, purchased and installed. They will be back, they promised. 

Everything falls apart. We can’t stop it. It is the law of entropy. As if entropy isn't fast enough, merchandise is intentionally designed to fall apart so manufacturers can sell us replacements faster. It is called planned obsolescence.  

Likewise human bodies fall apart. Apparently the Creator also made the universe with “planned obsolescence” built in. (The literal interpretation of “the Fall” is a misinterpretation.) Scientists call it the Second Law of Thermodynamics. I call it getting older. The body breaks down.  

The universe had a beginning according to both science and scripture. At that moment of creation it was at "zero entropy." Like the antique wind-up clock on my mantlepiece, the universe was wound up “in the beginning,” and it has been winding down ever since. The same with the human body.  

I am winding down. Ten years ago we attended a financial seminar to help us plan for retirement, sponsored by the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board. The speaker explained that there are three stages of retirement: go-go, slow-go, and no-go. Our sixties was go-go. Seventies is slow-go. I am not looking forward to no-go.  

With the breakdown of the body comes pain. There is not much we can do about it, but the church can help. The apostle Paul said, “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”  Elsewhere he wrote, “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  

Science fiction author Spider Robinson succinctly said: “Pain shared is pain lessened; joy shared is joy increased. Thus do we refute entropy.” The purpose of the church is to refute entropy.  It is called love. 

Come to think of it, that is the message of Easter. Resurrection is a refutation of entropyOn Easter death is overcome. Pain vanquished. The Kingdom comes. Easter is not just a date in history or a holiday on the calendar. It is now. The eternal risen Christ “was and is and is to come.” 

Then and now “He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away." Easter is the end of entropy.  

1 comment:

Rev. Dr. Ernest Boyer said...

Lovely interpretation of Easter. "Easter is the end of entropy." Yes. -- Re. Dr. Ernest Boyer.