Newton was a prolific theologian, writing volumes regarding his views of scripture, the nature of God, and his dissention with established dogma. This isn’t indicative of someone who was merely brainwashed with the popular hype of the day. Nor is it characteristic of someone who only takes a passing interest into the things pious. Perhaps his affinity to scriptural revelation of the order of things helped facilitate his advanced understanding of our universe. Seeing then that Newton is held in such high esteem, it behooves us to consider the things that he purportedly held in high esteem.
Scripture. This treatise is not an apologetic for organized religion, so a recoil impulse would be premature. It’s a summary overview of observations and conclusions that I have drawn, independent of indoctrination.
In the words of Bill Nye, “Consider the following:” Jesus taught, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” That’s New Testament. “Repent” is defined: change the direction you are going. God, in the Old Testament redundantly grew weary with the Israelites because they were “stiffnecked.”
In other words, God’s pet peeve with humans is their resistance to change in motion: spiritual inertia. In like fashion, I am persuaded that everything in Physics, relating to the corporeal, has an equal, and proportional counterpart in the ethereal (though I don’t claim to have grasped all those parallels ? yet).
Just as in physics, one might draw a “Free Body Diagram” to assist in solving a problem; theologically, one might draw a “Free Will Diagram,” including all the forces acting on an individual’s will. The will of God, and the will of the individual spirit would be depicted in the positive direction on the Y axis, while the will of the flesh, the world, and the adversary would oppose. These are just suggestions. Yet there is an unmistakable continuity in the processes. It’s all about forces, seen, and unseen.
According to scripture, the physical world is allegory to the non-physical world (Ro 1:20). This concept was what drew Augustine to God. His mother had tried converting him to Christianity all his life, but he considered it base, and womanish. In his pursuit of truth, he delved into all the pagan practices, and immersed himself in studying the Greek and Roman philosophies. Pertaining to his intellect, he founded a school of Rhetoric that amounted to the modern-day equivalent of an Ivy League law school. So like Newton, he had the aptitude to comprehend the world around him with critical scrutiny. It wasn’t until he had exhausted all other avenues that the allegory aspect of scripture piqued his attention.
All religions offer metaphysical experience. The tangible spiritual experiences of any religious venture are equally as real. Thus, a religious experience is not in itself validation of religious tenets, because any faith will inevitably conflict with someone else’s, just as there are conflicting scientific theories regarding different phenomena. The validity of any religious claims, then, are derived via examination of their tenets in the crucible of life’s laboratory.
That being said, I submit for your consideration, some previous observations of mine, relating Physics to God. Bear with me if it tends to approach the obtuse. It will come together at the close.
1. Energy can be neither created, nor destroyed, only transferred as work or heat.
2. Entropy is always positive.
3. All bodies at absolute zero have the same entropy.
If energy can be neither created, nor destroyed, by anything within the physical universe, yet energy exists, then it must have been created by something without the universe, which can supersede the physical laws of nature.
If energy is transferred as heat, then "cold" is absence of energy. If you put an ice cube in a glass of hot water, the water will cool, and the ice cube will melt. Energy is transferred from the hot to the cold until the whole mass is basically the same temperature. So the third law refutes the notion that the universe has always existed. If it had, all the energy would have eventually transferred b-zillions of years ago, and everything would be static, cold, motionless, and dead.
A few years ago, when “downsizing” was the trend, the owners of the factory where I work wreaked havoc on the workers, who, in response, formed a union local. The owners no longer enjoy unrestricted control. Now any policies pertaining to discipline, or wages, or seniority, or vacations, and so forth, must be bargained over with the union.
The power of the owners to make those decisions wasn't destroyed. And none of the powers the union holds are new powers. It's just that some of the power has been transferred from management, to the union. Here is a real world application of the first law of thermodynamics.
Power is energy at work. Time is money. Money is power. People put in their time at work to transfer money/power from their employers. Retailers transfer the power from the consumers. The government does practically nothing but suck the power from all of them through taxation. Or legislation. Whenever any new law reduces the freedoms enjoyed by the people, power has been transferred away from them. Freedom is power. Any time any power is transferred, these laws are in action.
For example: you get arrested. After they beat you and haul you in, they question you. But before they do, they read you your Miranda rights, which begin, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say, can, and will be used against you in a court of law…"
Think about that for a moment: "…can, and will be used against you." Not, "…might possibly be used against you…" or, "…could actually work out in your favor…" but definitely "will" be used as a weapon "against you." You hold the power. What are you going to do with it? Prudence dictates silence.
If someone said, "Give me a weapon. And I'm telling you that when you do, I'm going to use it on you!" are you going to comply? That's exactly what the Miranda warning states. The laws of thermodynamics are at work here.
Beware of power-hungry people. Since they can't create power to thrive on, they have to transfer, or seize it from somebody else. Head games. They're all about transfer of power. Gold-diggers hold the power over their affections, and sugar-daddies hold the gold. When the 2 meet, they do a heat exchange, and transfer their energy one to the other. Flattery, coyness, condescension; the techniques of manipulating other people; the pavlovian concepts at work in behavioral sciences, all draw off of these principles.
Light is energy. White light is the culmination of all colors emitted at once. Black, is the absence of color. So rather than black being an opposite of another color across the color wheel, it is actually absence thereof. Darkness is the absence of light. It's not a separate entity in it's own right. It is absence of entity. That's why a pin-prick of light can penetrate a sea of darkness, but the darkness cannot overwhelm it. Light dispels darkness.
Here is a concept that distinguishes scripture from other religious philosophies: it's definition of good and evil. All of the major religions recognize that malice directed toward innocence is evil. So abstaining from doing evil equals being good. Good = absence of evil. According to Christ, however, to abstain from doing good is evil. Evil = absence of good. These are not the same definition. Virtue is not ascribed to you merely because you restrained yourself from perpetrating evil. In this case, you have accomplished nothing meritorious. Virtue is not credited to your account, unless you bestow good upon others without the hope of reciprocation (Mt 25:31-46, Lu 10:25-37, 17:7-10).
Work requires energy. Idleness is absence of work. Heat requires energy. Cold is absence of heat. Freedom is power. Oppression is absence of freedom. Beauty (glory) is power. Ugly is absence of beauty. Knowledge is power. Ignorance is absence of knowledge. Wisdom is power. Foolishness is absence of wisdom. Life is power. Death is absence of life. Love is power. Hate is absence of love. Virtue is power. Evil is absence of virtue.
There you have it: scripture recognizes, that evil is not an entity in it's own right, but merely the absence of entity: virtue. And scripture alone provides a remedy for absence of virtue in one's life and character that abides by thermodynamic principles.
Since virtue is power (a manifestation of energy), you cannot create it or destroy it. You can't merely relegate yourself to a life of asceticism, and thereby conjure up some virtue. Nor can you undo mistakes you’ve made, through successive incarnations. Every act sets in motion an irreversible chain of events, adequately depicted by the atomic reaction model, made up of mousetraps and ping-pong balls. So if you want to increase in virtue, you have to transfer it from a source outside of yourself.
The Bible describes Jesus, God incarnate, as light and life (Jn 1:1-5) and in Him there is no darkness at all (1Jn 1:5). It says that our God is a consuming fire (He 12:29), perfect in knowledge (Job 36:4) and wisdom (Is 55:9). He is Love (1Jn 4:7, 8, 16). Glorious and powerful (He 1:3). He grants freedom (Jn 8:32, 36). Virtue flows from Him (Mk 5:30, Lu 6:19, 8:46). Compare these descriptions to the list of powers/absence thereof, a few paragraphs above.
We are the ice cube, He is the living water. If we plunge ourselves into Him, power is transferred to us. We don't simply become more virtuous: When we immerse ourselves in Him we become the righteousness of God in Him (2Co 5:21), or the same spiritual temperature. Our cold, absorbs His heat (Jn 14:5, 1Jn 4:16). But He is not diminished in the transfer, because in Him we live and move and have our being (Ac 17:28). He is not constrained by the laws of thermodynamics, because those are natural laws, and He is supernatural. When something is infinite, you can neither add to, nor reduce it.
God doesn't ascribe righteousness to people because they are like Him. There is nobody like Him. He only distinguished between those who were with Him, and those who weren't (Mt 12:30, Mk9:40) Those who are with Him absorb His heat (Ec 4:11). They are weaker than Him. His strength is made perfect in weakness (2Co 12:19). That's why, after they arrested and beat Him, when Pontius Pilate questioned Him, He remained silent.
“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3