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by Dr. Christopher Cagan

A sermon preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Evening, August 12, 2001

"By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

"The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:22).


Ludwig Boltzmann was a German scientist of the nineteenth century, who spent decades studying the statistical mechanics of thermodynamics – how molecules move when they are hot or cold, and the different ways in which they are likely to move. He came to the conclusion that the universe was doomed to a horrible and meaningless fate called "heat-death."

Boltzmann was not a Bible-believing Christian. He saw no way to escape from the inexorable principle of entropy. He saw no hope in his own time, and no hope for the ages to come. He became very depressed and finally he committed suicide.

Why did this scientist kill himself? Because he saw no way to escape from the law of entropy, sometimes called "The Second Law of Thermodynamics." The law of entropy says that everything is running downhill, from order to disorder, from useful to useless, from life to death.

The entropy principle is well described by the following quotation from Jeremy Rifkin:

The second law, the Entropy Law, states that matter and energy can only be changed in one direction, that is, from usable to unusable, of from available to unavailable, or from ordered to disordered. (Entropy: a New World View (New York: Bantam Books, 1980), p. 6.

And the scientific author Arthur Eddington wrote:

The law that entropy always increases - the Second Law of Thermodynamics - holds, I think, the supreme position among the laws of Nature. (Eddington, quoted by John D. Barrow, The World Within the World (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988), p. 122).

How does the law of entropy work? Let's look at a simple illustration. You need some gasoline in the tank to drive an automobile. The molecules of the gasoline have chemical energy in the way the atoms are bonded one to another. Burning this gasoline inside the engine releases this chemical energy, and it is now used to move the car and power its accessories. By the time you reach your destination, your car has used a lot of chemical energy and there is less gasoline in the tank.

What happened to the energy in the gasoline? Where did it go? It still exists in the universe, but it is of no use to you. It has been converted into heat. The engine is hotter (that's why the car needs a radiator and cooling system). The brakes are hotter. And the air around the road is hotter because of the hot gases that have come out of the ear's exhaust pipe. But you can't use this scattered heat to perform any useful work. The journey started with useful and available energy in the gasoline. It ended with the engine, the brakes, and the air being hotter than before – but what can you do with that?

Furthermore, things have moved from order to disorder. At the beginning the energy was located in a single place, the gasoline in the tank. The energy was available to perform useful work. At the end, the energy is scattered over miles of road and air in the form of heat. Even the heat energy in the engine and the brakes will soon dissipate into the air and the dirt. It will be no help to anyone then. And the entropy principle goes on further because within a few years the car itself will decay into useless material unless it is constantly maintained.

The only way to set things right is to get some help from outside. Someone outside has to put gasoline in the car. Someone has to fix the car. Finally, someone has to build another car. The idea of help from outside is a principle which I'll call "endunamy." Without help from outside, there's no hope for any car – and especially no hope for you.

The entropy principle applies to all sciences. Physically, every car, every watch, every computer, every house, will sooner or later break down and be useless matter. In biology, any living thing will quickly die food and energy from the outside – and will die anyway as it becomes older and weaker. Our earthly ecology could not function without outside energy from the sun, because it is only light from the sun that makes it possible for plants to grow. Today, the human race faces unavoidable doom: the scarcity of oil and other resources, the destruction of the rain forest, the extinction of thousands of species of plants and animals, and the general destruction of the creation that God has made.

Look around you! Are things getting better and better, as some in school and on television want you to believe? Or are things getting worse and worse? You know the answer to that one! Everything's going down into the dirt, until even the dirt itself is ruined. Ludwig Boltzmann understood this – and that's why he killed himself.

What Boltzmann believed was the scientific equivalent of existentialism, a philosophical system which says there is no meaning to life. Some existentialists thought that the only valid philosophical question is whether to commit suicide or not. All of them believed that life had no point or meaning.

I had to study existentialism in high school and college. It didn't appeal to me. I didn't want to believe that life was meaningless. Instead, I hoped and planned to become a great mathematician, a successful businessman, and an important person in this world.

But I really wasn't honest in facing life. I believed "when you're dead, you're dead." And no matter whether I became learned, rich, and famous or not, one day my life would end, and there would be no purpose or meaning for me. Even if other people remembered me for a time, some day they and their memories would be gone too. Since I had no God, I had no real escape from the meaninglessness of life.

Many people of my age group (what is called the Baby Boomers) have searched for pleasure or material possessions. Some of them experienced pleasure and some of them made money. But none of them have been able to avoid the inexorable passage of the years. The "youth generation" of the sixties and seventies is now entering middle age, going into their forties and fifties. In twenty-five more years, the Baby Boomers will be a generation of self-centered and grouchy seniors, resented by two generations younger than them. Twenty-five years after that they will almost all be dead, because the law of entropy, the law of death, operates in every human body. If there is no God, the lives of my generation (and yours) will pass into oblivion, without purpose or meaning.

I have met many young people like you, people in their teens and twenties (what is called Generation X) who hold existential attitudes without ever hearing of Ludwig Boltzmann and without ever reading an existentialist book. Many Generation X'ers have a "life stinks" attitude and communicate only in grunts and fragments such as "Yaah," "Whateeevvver," "Naah," "Uhhh," and other cynical utterances. These young people are the end-product of twentieth century existentialism. That's why Ludwig Boltzmann killed himself. He came to believe that "life stinks." That's why you go through one day after another without hope or meaning – because without Jesus Christ, "life stinks."

The entropy principle is the scientific expression of the principle of sin and death. When Adam and Eve were first made by God, they had no sin. If they had not disobeyed God, they would have lived forever. But when our first parents brought sin into the human race, they also brought physical and spiritual death to themselves and to all of their descendants. Ever since then, sin and death have ruled in this world, and in your life. You'll live a sinful and worthless life in a sinful and worthless city, until your body finally gives out and you die and go to a burning Hell.

Is there any way out? You haven't got any way out. But there is hope outside of yourself. Tonight we' re going to look at your problem of sin and death, and at the only way out, but first Mr. Griffith will come to sing for us.

(Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith sings "Lord, I Am Vile, Conceived in Sin")


"By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

"The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:22).

The law of entropy in science is a type, a picture, an illustration, of the principle of sin and death that is working in you right now. Tonight I want to talk about two aspects of your problem:

1. You can't save yourself.

2. You can be saved by Jesus Christ.

I. First, you can't save yourself.

You are completely dominated by the principle of sin and death which has ruled in you from the beginning of your life. You are a "mass of sin" or a "mass of lostness." Your life story is a story of sin and death. You were born in sin, you've lived in sin, and you'll die in sin, and then you'll be punished for your sin.

1. You were born with a wicked heart

The first man, Adam, was created perfect, in heart, mind, and body. But when he disobeyed God and ate the fruit God had told him not to eat, he corrupted himself, and this corruption of sin and death passed down to all his descendants — to the entire human race — to you. The Bible says:

"By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

You were born with this principle of sin and death in you. That’s why your body will get old, break down, and die some day. That’s why your ruling tendency is against God and in favor of selfishness and sin. As the Apostle Paul wrote about himself:

“In me…dwelleth no good thing” (Romans 7:18).

That's why you haven't come to church every Sunday. That's why you hardly ever read the Bible and you hardly ever pray. That's why you hardly ever think about God, Heaven, or Hell.

Some people say, “I have a good heart.” But the Bible says that you do not:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

The Bible says, “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Proverbs 28:26). You can feel good for a time, but pretty soon you'll be feeling bad. If you trust in your own heart, you're a fool and you're fooling yourself. What's in your heart, anyway? Nothing but trickery and sin.

2. You act out of your evil heart

You do the things you do because of your evil, wicked heart, which is set against God. Jesus said:

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23).

The Bible tells us exactly how it happens:

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15).

First you think about your sin and desire it. You want it. You plan to do it. Then you do it, and it brings ruin and death into your life now — and Hell after you die.

That's exactly what you do. You think, "I wonder what my friends are doing." "Someone I know did it. What if I did it?" "What would it feel like if I did it?" "I think I'll try it." And then you go and sin. How is it afterwards? Nothing but death – the pain of a hangover, the dullness of a wasted Sunday, of an empty life, the pain of a broken relationship, and finally the burning of Hell.

3. You cannot change your evil heart.

Many people say, “I’m going to repent,” or “I’m going to follow Christ.” These people fail again and again. They may say they have “backslidden,” but in fact they were never converted in the first place. They fail again and again. The Bible says:

“Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one”

(Job 14:4).

Since you cannot change your basic nature from sinful to holy, from unclean to clean, you will fail again and again. You will never be accepted by God into His presence in Heaven. Instead, you will go to Hell where you belong.

4. You cannot do anything of your own works that will please God

Even your so-called “good deeds” are dirty clothes in God’s sight. You are proud of yourself, but God is not. The Bible says:

“All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).

The Bible says you are against God in the depths of your mind:

“The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans 8:7-8).

You are an enemy of God in your mind. You can’t follow the law of God. If you try, you will always fail. You cannot make God happy with you, no matter what you do.

5. You cannot change your situation through your own resources

You are stuck. You have no way out. You are on the road to Hell. And so are your friends and your family members, if they aren’t converted, blood-washed Christians.

Before I was converted, after I considered my life of sin, I remember thinking, “Then I and everyone else I know is going to Hell.” That was the truth. As the Bible says:

“Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5).

The Apostle Paul wrote about himself:

“O wretched (miserable) man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24).

You, an unconverted person, are miserable indeed.

II. Second, you can be saved by Jesus Christ.

The Bible says:

“Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound”

(Romans 5:20).

What is this word, “grace”? The Greek word translated “grace” is “charis,” from which we get the English word “charity.” In English, “charity” usually means “giving money,” but this is only one application of the idea of grace. But even that application has the right idea: grace is coming in from the outside and giving something that the person didn’t earn.

Where does grace come from? From God, who is holy and has no sin. He is not subject to the law of entropy, the law of decay and death. Instead, God provides what I'll call "endunamy," or power given from outside of our decaying world. The word "endunamy" comes from the Greek word "dunamis," which means "power."

1. God's gift of endunamy, of grace, is seen all around us.

The first act of endunamy in the Bible was when God created the world from nothing.

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth…And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:1,31).

God started the world from nothing and made it “very good.” Beginning with man's sin, it has been running downhill ever since, both physically and spiritually.

And God keeps the world going, and keeps us all alive, through His loving grace. Jesus said:

"He (God) maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45).

If God didn't give us the sun, and send the rain, the plants would die, the animals would die, and you and I would die – in a very short time! Thank God for His love and grace!

2. God’s gift of grace in Jesus Christ can save you.

You can’t do anything to save yourself. But Jesus Christ came into the world to do for you what you can’t do for yourself — to provide a spotless and perfect sacrifice for you and so undo what sin had done.

“For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many” (Romans 5:15).

The gift of Jesus’ sacrifice will undo what sin did: first in paying the penalty of sin, second, in giving you the power to overcome sin, and third, in Heaven, removing you from the presence of sin.

“Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25).

Who shall deliver you from death? “Jesus” is the answer to that question! Jesus will deliver you from death — if you will come to Him and throw yourself upon Him.

And what will Jesus do for you? Jesus died on the Cross to pay for your sins. He shed His Blood to wash them away in the sight of God. Jesus rose from the dead and is now in Heaven at the right hand of God. Jesus gave His Blood to redeem you from sin so that God will accept you. The Bible says:

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:6-7).

Jesus died and rose again to save you from sin and death. As the Bible says:

“And you hath he quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins…by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us [made us alive] together with Christ (by grace ye are saved)” (Ephesians 2:1, 3-5).

Do not wait any longer. Turn from your sin to Jesus tonight.


Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith "Lord, I Am Vile, Conceived in Sin"

by Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."



by Dr. Christopher Cagan

"By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

"The whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:22).

I.   You can't save yourself

1. You were born with a wicked heart, Romans 5:12; 7:18;
Jeremiah 17:9; Proverbs 28:26.

2. You act out of your evil heart, Mark 7:21-23; James 1:14-15.

3. You cannot change your evil heart, Job 14:4.

4. You cannot do anything of your own works that will please God,
Isaiah 64:6; Romans 8:7-8.

5. You cannot change your situation through your own resources,
Isaiah 6:5; Romans 7:24.

II.  You can be saved by Jesus Christ, Romans 5:20.

1. God's grace is seen all around us, Genesis 1:1,31; Matthew 5:45.

2. God's grace in Jesus Christ can save you, Romans 5:15;
Romans 7:24-25; Ephesians 1:6-7; Ephesians 2:1,3-5.