Relationship and the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (by Robi Sonderegger)

From the very first moment of conception, love was present. Not only were we conceived in and by love, but as we grew nestled inside our mother’s womb, we were ushered into intimate relationship with her—well before she ever laid eyes on us. Following our birth, the energy invested in keeping us alive was essential for our survival. Left to fend for ourselves, we would have only lasted a matter of hours or days. Life is dependent on relationships and relationships are dependent on the energy investment of love. Without love, we would simply not be alive. Despite the knowledge that human life begins with and is sustained by love, we are surrounded in our contemporary society by love gone wrong, resulting in widespread relationship breakdown.

In science, we have theories about relationships that are tested and laws that are defined. A theory starts with a hypothesis; an untested idea about why something exists and how it came into being. If experiments are conducted and data supports the hypothesis, the idea graduates and becomes a “theory.” There are plenty of competing theories about what makes good relationships and what destroys them.

Yet even though an idea about relationships has been scientifically tested and evidence gained to support it (e.g., the framework for a good relationship being communication and conflict resolution skills), good science always leaves room for other possible alternative theories. Just like in nature, “theories” about relationships often change. However, “laws” governing relationships do not typically change. A “law” is different from a “theory” in that it is governed by a formula that can be used to calculate and determine how something happens, but not always why it happens.

Scientists, for example, will use Newton’s Law of Gravitation (Gravity) to illustrate “what goes up must come down,” but use Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to explain why. Scientists will often argue over “theories” about nature (e.g. the theory of evolution), but very rarely over the “laws” of nature (e.g., the Second Law of Thermodynamics). The same is true of theology and biblical laws. God’s law is written as absolute and irrefutable truth, however theological interpretations may differ. Yet, when the laws and theories of science and scripture intersect on the topic of relationships, we have a recipe for fireworks. Check this out…

Just recently I was pondering how the “Second Law of Thermodynamics” practically relates to the Bible, and came up with a theory for you to consider. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that anything in a closed system left alone, will by default, fall into a state of decay. For example, if you pluck an apple from a tree, over a period of time the apple will decay. In order to stay alive, the apple needs to be connected to an energy source. When it comes to relationships, the application of this scientific law is also biblical. According to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, by disconnecting energy-input into your relationship, over time that relationship will fall into a state of decay. Simply speaking, you don’t need to do anything stupid to destroy your marriage; you just have to do “nothing”! When it comes to any relationship (whether parental, friendship, or even work) doing nothing can have the most serious consequences.

When we commit to investing energy into a relationship, we make a conscious decision to love, and therefore sustain life. It’s not “feelings of Love” that produce long-term sustainable relationships, but rather the “action of Love”—the energy investment required to stay connected. When a relationship is continually nurtured in the right way, we produce more love and longer life. The word produce is a derivative of the word product. Love and life in relationships is not just something that just happens on its own, it’s something we make.


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