Summary: Faith is reversing the irreversible.

The Physics of Faith: Reversing the Irreversible


Pastor Mark Batterson

This evotional concludes The Physics of Faith series. To check out old evotionals, visit the evotional archive @ Next week we’ll begin a new series of evotional, God @ the Box Office, exploring the spiritual themes in popular movies.

The Arrow of Time

One of my earliest movie memories was the 1978 version of Superman. The storyline and special effects aren’t as impressive now as they were then, but I was all of nine years-old. I remember one scene in particular. Lois Lane was driving through the desert when her car is swallowed by an earthquake and Superman can’t get there in time to save her. Superman gets super angry and he starts flying around the earth at supersonic speed and he reverses time by reversing the rotation of the earth thus saving Lois.

Don’t you wish you could do that?

I know that isn’t based on very good science. For one thing, the earth rotates around its axis at about 1,000 mph so if Superman had done what he did he would have saved Lois but the entire planet would have died from whiplash!

But it’s a cool concept.

Wouldn’t it be great if you were having a conversation with someone and you said something you wish you hadn’t said and you could simply excuse yourself from the conversation, fly around the earth a few times, and pick up before you left off? Of course, the real danger then would be mid-air collisions because we’d all be flying around the earth all the time!

I wish I could reverse time but the arrow of time points in one direction. You can’t undo what you’ve done. In other words, some things in life are irreversible.

When I was a sophomore in college, I blew out my knee in the last game of our basketball season. I went to the doctor for a diagnosis and he said I tore my anterior cruciate ligament. I asked him how long it’d take to heal. He said, “Never.” I’ll never forget the feeling of finality—the damage was done and there was nothing I could do to change it. I learned a lesson the hard way that day: some things in life are irreversible. You can’t untear a ligament.

For what it’s worth, I’ve also learned from personal experience that you can’t undelete documents, unbake cookies, uncut hair or unrun red lights with surveillance cameras.

Some things in life are irreversible. But I am the bearer of good news: God is in the business of reversing the irreversible. If you read the gospels you’ll discover that Jesus reversed weather patterns. He reversed blindness. He reversed paralysis. And 2,000 years ago, He reversed death. I love the way Acts 2:24 says it. “But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” I love that language. We tend to think of dying and coming back to life as being impossible. Peter says the exact opposite. It was impossible for death to keep its grip on The Way, The Truth, and The Life.


Let me give you a crash course in thermodynamics.

Thermodynamics is the study of energy in all of its different forms. The first and second laws of thermodynamics describe the way the process works. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy is conserved. In other words, energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be exchanged for a different kind of energy. For example, if you push a boulder off a cliff you convert gravitational energy into kinetic energy.

But there is another law at work and it’s the reason why ice cream melts on a summer day and coffee cools on a winter day. The second law of thermodynamics introduces something called entropy into the equation. It basically states that if left to its own devices, everything moves toward disorder. Cars rust. Toys break. And food rots. And for the readers who are parents, kid’s rooms get real messy real fast.


Now let me give you one of my definitions of sin: sin is entropy. Sin is moving toward disorder. For what it’s worth, the word “holiness” means “to be made whole.” Sin is the opposite of that. It is becoming more and more fragmented. It is moving toward disorder. And the end result is a meaningless existence because there is no center of gravity.

So how do we overcome entropy in our lives? I think the answer is found in one of my favorite verses. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Without a vision the people perish.” The word “perish” comes from the Hebrew word para which could be translated entropy. It refers to the process of decay. More specifically, it is used of perishable food that is past its prime. In other words, food that is rotten.

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