Is death going extinct?

800px-CMB_Timeline300_no_WMAPDoes the overall behavior of the universe change over time?  I have a religious answer.

First, we need to brush up on our Isaac Newton, specifically his Second Law — the observation that order decreases over time.  You’ve experienced this is you’ve ever tried to un-scramble an egg.

A (sort of) exception to this is life, where a bunch of random atoms get organized into a body that eats and poops and lies about the books its read. But of course if you look closer, it’s not really an exception.  The order of your body exists because you suck order out of your surroundings (If you are an average American, you stay alive by sucking the order out of roughly 90,000 square meters of the planet).

But gradually, disorder gets the upper hand.  You get a bad hip, your heart gets tired, you move to Florida and start thinking Wheel of Fortune is awesome.  When your pattern breaks down enough, you become compost.

The same is true of the universe as a whole.  It was born 13.8 billion years ago, and at some hard-to-pin-down date in the future, it will die.

Maybe.

I say “maybe” because it’s true only IF the universe continues to behave the way it is currently behaving.  It’s true if the Order-Becomes-Disorder pattern continues indefinitely, something we have no way of knowing.  What if the overall behavior of the universe were to change in the future?  (If you can’t fathom such a thing, look at the phase transition that occurred at the end of the universe’s “Inflationary Epoch”).

I come from a community of people who claim to have observed evidence that this pattern is changing.  We have observed phenomena in which disorder has given way to order in ways we cannot explain with the usual “sucking-order-out-of-your-environment” explanation.

These phenomena usually get called “miracles” — events where order increases without a corresponding “order suckage” from its surroundings.  (Where the order/energy might come from is a discussion for another day).

The centerpiece of these miracles is the historical person Jesus of Nazareth, specifically his resurrection from the dead.  It is something we’ve observed and, if we’re intellectually honest. we have to find a way to make it fit into our Big Picture of the universe.

Even if that means changing our Big Picture.

That’s exactly what we’ve had to do.  Our new Big Picture is one where the universe’s behavior is going through a kind of phase change.  The Jesus-event we call “Easter” is indicative of what is happening to the cosmos as a whole.

Our claim is that death has begun to go extinct.  Time will tell if we are right about that.

 

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  • Seamus King

    “The centerpiece of these miracles is the historical person Jesus of Nazareth, specifically his resurrection from the dead. It is something we’ve observed and, if we’re intellectually honest. we have to find a way to make it fit into our Big Picture of the universe.”

    I hope I don’t sound disingenuous in posing the big question such a statement brings to my mind, however, I feel like it has to be asked for the sake of honest intellectual rigor. Know that I’m not representing any side of the question, but simply asking the thought that your assertion provoked.

    Given what you’ve stated, what differentiates your approach to science in this case as opposed to Ken Ham’s approach to science? You state “we’ve observed,” but the truth is that you’re relying on reports from a text that, one who is intellectually honest must admit, isn’t settled in authenticity, origin or authority (in the literary sense of who/what/when original authorship). I love Jesus and the bible as much as the next guy, however, I can’t, given the facts I know, make the same assertion.

    • It’s a fair question. Ken Hamm’s claims about science can be challenged by science (quite effectively). Claims about historical events are in a somewhat different category, because the data is available directly only to those who witnessed the event. But the discussion about history is certainly worth having. My main idea in this post, though, is that I believe (based on the data of this historical event), I can make certain claims about the future which might someday be scientifically verified.

      • Seamus King

        That’s a pretty good answer. The word “claims” sounds awfully certain, though. You feel that strongly about this specific expression of this concept?

        • To which specific claim are you referring? The resurrection? The cosmic phase change? I’m pretty committed to the former. More playing-around with the latter.

          • Seamus King

            I was referring to the cosmic phase change. Playing around with it. I like the sound of it. I key into such things with a greater sensitivity because scientific sounding postulations tend to become the new religion. As much as I love Carl Sagan, I found his notions of human consciousness to be untenable and a crime against his intellect. He was very “religious” in his devotion to it, though we have no scientific explanation of where the human consciousness resides/exists. As much as “the brain” seems like the obvious solution, we are ignorant of the truth of it, and I remain open to alternate ideas.

          • I think I understand your sensitivity to “scientific sounding postulations.” That’s a tightrope I’m probably going to walk on now and then, because I’m wrestling with the implications my faith has for the real world. If I believe Jesus rose from the dead, that means I believe in a universe in which such things can happen. And if I believe Jesus’ resurrection is the inaugural event of a larger cosmic resurrection (which I would argue is a pretty orthodox Christian belief), then that has implications for the kind of cosmos I think we’re living in. Or in other words, I’m “playing around with it.” 🙂

          • Seamus King

            I love batting these things back and forth with you because you bother to think deeply about them and explain them in intelligent, yet plain, terms. I have enjoyed being your friend and value your influence in my life because you make me more intelligent. We are kindred minds, as well as spirits.