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How Can Both Be Right?

Everybody knows of the great German-born theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein, commonly acknowledged to be one of the greatest scientists ever. Following a series of lectures in Berlin in late 1915, Einstein published a paper on general relativity in the Annalen in 1916, expanding on his theory of special relativity. His new theory proposed that matter causes space and the movement of time to curve. General relativity is really the theory of gravity. The elementary idea is that instead of being an invisible force that attracts objects to one another, gravity is a curving or warping of space. The more massive an object, the more it warps the space around it. Einstein’s idea has been scrutinized and refined throughout the decades. After extensive experimental testing, it was concluded by many scientists, to be among the most momentous laws found in physics. For 100 years, the general theory of relativity has been a pillar of modern physics. What cannot be overlooked is the fact that general relativity points to the reality that time, space, and matter had a beginning.

Now we introduce the first law of thermodynamics into the conversation. Thermodynamics is the branch of physics that deals with the relationships between heat and other forms of energy. The First Law of Thermodynamics states that heat is a form of energy, and thermodynamic processes are then subject to the principle of conservation of energy. This means that heat energy cannot be created or destroyed in a closed system. It can, however, be transferred from one location to another and converted to and from other forms of energy.

The idea that matter and energy cannot be created in a closed system such as the universe staunchly challenges Einstein’s general relativity, which shows there was a beginning to time, matter, and space. Reconciling this contradiction becomes a daunting challenge when both laws of physics are understood as being true. What answer makes sense apart from creation outside known human dimensions? Maybe the idea of divine orchestration provides an explanation for both. Just maybe.

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