Thursday, July 14, 2011


I have been thinking about science and religion a lot lately, and watching quite a few videos on both subjects. (There was a wonderful series I saw at a friend's recommendation about Noah, by the Discovery Channel, for example.)

But one video really caught my attention. It spoke about the idea of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and a question about it. Here is the video:

So, let me share my thoughts on this. As you know (if you actually watched this), the second law pertains to the issue of entropy, and how, over time, energy evens out. It says that the universe moves from order to chaos. But is this really the case?

As Christian says, the universe began with a tremendous amount of chaos. Everything was just sort of bouncing all over the place, sort of like a six year-old after eating a few bars of chocolate. Over time, the matter began to coalesce into large groupings, which we now call galaxies. From there, things began to settle down a bit more and we saw the further formation of suns and solar systems.

He says that there are these magical moments when the conditions are just right and new things seem to appear out of nowhere. He calls the moment of development of each of these new things a "threshold moment". But at each stage, the level of complexity becomes more fragile and more vulnerable. The conditions for transformation become more stringent, and it gets more difficult to create new things.

With that in mind, let's turn our attention back to the universe again. Now that we have the creation of planets, we can zoom in on a smaller scale: the earth. We begin with chaos, again, with the swirling miasma of the molten earth. Things settle down and we find ourselves with continents and oceans. Then come the first amoeba-like thingies (he says, ensuring that he is only using the finest of technical terms), followed relatively quickly by the early plants. Insects, dinosaurs, animals, eventually people: they all come in succession.

Now that we, people, are finally on the scene, let's look at what happens on an even smaller scale. We people evolve and begin to settle down into farming communities, cities, develop transportation and communication links and forge one big global society that is learning very quickly through our collective learning process.

And that's where he ends.

Oh, he doesn't quite end there. He, and a group of his colleagues have developed a web-site to share this big history project with students all over the world. You can see it at

But my question about all this comes back to the Baha'i Faith.

Christian speaks of these threshold moments, and how we've exploited the energy resource found in the plants through farming, and again through the discovery of fossil fuels, but does that explain it all? It seems to me that there are many times in human history when there is an inexplicable leap forward.

Sure, we can attribute it to the storehouse of energy released by the wheat, or the fossil fuels, but that doesn't seem likely, or enough. So where does the energy come from?

I would venture to say that it is with the Messengers of God.

And when we look back at the concept of those threshold moments, that also seems to fit. When we read the Kitab-i-Iqan, we see that the tests and trials of each Messenger become subsequently more and more difficult. The trials for Their followers also become significantly more severe with each Messenger. But, at the same time, the progress made by each religion becomes greater and greater.

I could try and tie this all together here, but really, it is just an odd thought in my own mind still. Instead, I will encourage you to read, or re-read, paragraphs 7 - 12 in the Iqan, as well as 17 - 19. (Of course, you can read all of them, but these are the ones I'm focusing on right now.) Take a look at the tests that the followers faced. Make a list of them. Look at the results that Baha'u'llah says They had.

You can see that they both become greater and greater.

And then add in the Bab and Baha'u'llah, and it just goes off the charts.

One last thing, though. When I was a Christian (religiously, not as a presenters name), I often looked back at the various Apostles and Saints. It seemed to me that there was the huge ball of energy I called Jesus, and right after Him came the mega-stars of the Cristian dispensation: the Apostles. After them came these incredible Saints, but they didn't seem to be as huge as the Apostles. They didn't seem to have quite the same impact. As we moved forward, it seemed to me that the inherent energy seemed to be dissipated through the huge number of followers. Oh sure, we got the occasional Mother Theresa, but if I looked at it in terms of balls of energy, the large balls in each era seemed to be getting smaller and smaller.

In the Baha'i Faith, we have the mega-huge Central Figures, followed by the Guardian. After that we have the Hands of the Cause, and I don't believe we will ever see anything quite like them again. (And yes, I know there were Hands in the time of Baha'u'llah, but you get the point.) We have the Counsellors that flare up in the firmament of today's Administration, and, of course, the Universal House of Justice. In fact, the House of Justice seems to be continually channeling that energy from a divine Creator, allowing us to move more and more forward.

Any thoughts?

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