POC Blog

The random technotheolosophical blogging of Reid S. Monaghan

Working in spite of the fall...A meditation on death, entropy, and the doing of laundry

One of the central truths about the world of human beings and the universe itself is that it is fallen and running down. We see this in several ways and through different lenses. First, we know that death is built into all living things. People die, dogs die, plants die, cows die (and taste pretty good too). This is a truth that I am instilling into my kids even at a very young age. Even Daddy’s will die – they know this and we treasure each day that we have together in light of this reality. Second, we also see the death of stars, organized systems of matter run down in the world, and one of the most resoundingly proven facts of science is that of entropy, “that the total entropy of any isolated thermodynamic system tends to increase over time, approaching a maximum value; and so, by implication, the entropy of the universe as a whole (i.e. the system and its surroundings) tends to increase.”(See Wiki – entropy). In other words, the amount of thermodynamic, useable energy is decreasing over time. Entropy increases, useable energy becomes depleted. This is one of the bleak facts in a purely atheistic or naturalistic universe – the destiny of all things according to this worldview is that the universe will some day die a lonely, cold, burnt out, heat death long after all living things are gone. Now, if that just makes you want to click the ruby slippers and go back to Kansas, I understand. There is not much hope offered in here. However, this is not an anti-theistic, naturalistic island on which we live, tather this universe is the product of purpose and intelligence, the handiwork of God. With that said, at least we don’t have to place the noose around our necks and we can get on with some more important questions. Even as a Christian, no—especially as a Christian, I know the universe is fallen, we are still fallen, we still die. Things break, things get disordered, houses get messy, cars rust, everything seems to need maintenance. It is here I think here we find some clue to our existence. Everything must be maintained and in working order – our laundry room, my car, my family, our society, even my own soul. Yet, why should we try to keep it all together, it can all seem like a kicking against the winds of time. We never really make true progress we just seem to keep things from going to pot for a season. Or is their progress of another kind? Today, I spent much time folding clothes, doing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, dishes, and putting our house in order. Primarily, I was doing all this on my day off to love my wife. She was out for a few hours and I wanted to give her – a mom of two toldlers and another one on the way – an encouraging lift, something to touch her soul. Again, here I find great purpose and progress – in the maintenance, no, the transformation of the human soul within the maintenance of life and every day things. Think about it, if matter and living things all slog around into death and disorder, why do we work so hard to maintain it all. We see value in something that transcends the things themselves. We value something immaterial, we value our role in the middle of all this. We find joy in creating things and in doing so we reflect the image of the creative God. We find peace in doing something well – working with certain ethical principles and doing something with excellence. Most people stop here. Creating and working for the sake of these activities yet not giving thought to the effect of our labors on our own souls. The Christian can and should go a step further. I see all of my life’s labors as being wonderful duties. Although sometimes hard, yes painful, my weary work, my loving when I don’t feel like it, caring about life even as it ebbs away from me – declares my faith in a God who will renew and regenerate me and ultimately all things. So I will vacuum, wash the car (though I don't do this often), fold clothes, build computer programs, design beauty, keep up the house, try to write with vigor, teach, and persist. Because God is working in us and through us bringing us to his ends; And the soul that trusts in Christ the Lord, will not end as worm food, and this universe will not see a lonely heat death – but no, a great re-creation and infusion of divine power from outside this order will make all things new. And even our work will then continue, because it is suited for the souls of men. …