Summary: The sermon proclaims the truth of Creation, Redemption and Sanctification by means of Law and Gospel whereby salvation is by the grace of God through the Person and Work of Jesus, the Incarnate Son of God.

"The Scattering of Man and the Gathering of God"

Jeremiah 23:1-4

Sermon for 10 August Anno Domini 2003

Trinity 8 / Pentecost 9

Grace, mercy and peace to you in the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Dear Baptized,

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is all about entropy. Now an introductory sentence like that in a sermon to the people of God might bring about several "what" reactions, like: What is this going to be, a science lecture? What does this have to do with Law and Gospel? Or, the thoroughly Biblical question, What does this mean?

Well, let’s start at the beginning. Entropy is a word that means something along the lines of "disorder." A few examples might be helpful. Scientists tell us that the universe is going from order to disorder. Parents tell us that their children’s rooms rapidly go from order to disorder. [Overnight, the air conditioning unit for the sanctuary here went from a state of being operational to one of now not working.] Our bodies tell us that the older we get, the more our bodies and the various systems therein, deteriorate - resulting in clogged pipes, clouded eyes, fuzzy brains, brittle bones and well, you get the idea. All of this means the entropy or disorder of our bodies, the rooms in a house, indeed of the entire universe is always increasing.

Positive entropy means decay - the greater the entropy the quicker the way to utter chaos. You see, positive or plus entropy is all about scattering that results in death. Minus entropy, on the other hand, is reversing the scattering by bringing order out of chaos - that is, negative entropy is about gathering that brings to life and sustains life.

There are also theological applications to the realities of positive entropy and negative entropy. These truths deal with the soul of the individual and the essence of the Church. Today, on the basis of the Old Testament Reading assigned to the Church and using the three articles of the Creed to give the sermon "structure and order," may you hear a Law-and-Gospel sermon titled ...

... "The Scattering of Man and The Gathering of God"

But before the reading of the text we need to have some background from the Word and foundation of the dogmas of the Faith. Doing so will help us understand the precise message that the Lord God would have His Church of all ages hear concerning sin and grace.

The first article of the creed is about creation. "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth." The LORD God, in and by His Word, teaches us that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the water" (Genesis 1:1-2). Contrary to what is currently permitted to be taught at universities outside and shamefully within the Concordia University System, God created the heavens and the earth in six, consecutive, 24-hour days. Man, in his reason, tells you evolution is the truth. God, in His Word, tells you He is the Creator. He created the dust of the earth and then gathered some of it, forming it into a man and breathed into that clay the Spirit of Life. Thus the man became a living soul. According to the Bible on the sixth day "God saw everything that was made, and behold, it was very good" (Genesis 1:31) - no disease, no decay, no death. Beautiful negative entropy!

When Adam sinned and the Fall of man took place, God’s good creation was subjected to destructive entropy. Sin results, as God had said, in being dead and also dying. Adam and Eve were soul-dead even as they were physically dying. From that moment of the original sin, all things began to decay. Of creation itself the Scriptures declare that "We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves" (Romans 8:22-23). The Bible states and the historical experience of man demonstrate that all creation is going from a state of order to one of disorder. Before the Flood people lived hundreds of years. Since then our life-span has decreased.

Though everything and everyone is decaying, there is something, or rather, SomeOne sustaining this universe. Regarding not only the decay, but also the sustaining power, Soviet nuclear physicist and former atheist, Dotsenko, said in an interview …

"One of the most fundamental laws of nature that interested me was the law of entropy, concerning the most probable behavior of the particles (molecules, atoms, electrons, etc.) of any physical system. This law, put simply, states that if any system is given to itself it will decay very quickly, inasmuch as particles composing any system have a tendency to run wild. It means that all the material world should have turned into a cloud of chaotic dust a long, long time ago. I thought about this, and it dawned upon me that the world is being held in existence by a non-material power that is capable of overruling this destructive entropy. … I started to pray and to worship God."

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