Posted by David
I’ll be piggy backing on a theme written by Mike Mason—that love is a perpetual motion machine.
[T]here is only one true perpetual motion machine in the universe, and that is love. Love is the only energy that will keep on going forever, which is why it is the mainspring of eternal life. How can love keep working forever without getting tired? The answer is simple: because the way it works is by resting.”
-Mike Mason, the Gospel According to Job
Is love really an infinite process? Doesn’t love fade like a burning fire?
Over the years, I’ve abandoned entropy as a fundamental assumption in my understanding of how the universe works. To understand entropy, think of a wound-up mechanical clock. The clock is given energy during the winding process and it ticks down and finally stops.
But is this really the way the universe works? Are we, our universe and love just deterministic clockworks? If we look up at our majestic starry skys, we will see many seemingly endless cycles, whether it be the earth going around the sun or the solar cycle. Closer to home, we see cycles in geology, water and life. I love the life cycle of the tree, because it’s so simple: a seed grows into a tree, a tree makes seeds, a seed grows into a tree, and so on. One who believes in entropy argues that all of these processes eventually wind down. They may fluctuate or change state, but they don’t just vanish, do they?
It’s our modern understanding of death that gives birth to our human-contrived concept of entropy. We see death on the horizon for our bodies, so we apply that concept to the universe. But is this projection true? Is death really the end to all things?
In ecology, death is always a metamorphosis. Death is a transformation of energy from one form or state to another. The typical scientist will argue that there is always a net loss within a system to heat and this net loss is the slowing down of the system. However, the energy or heat is still there. The energy has just transformed. Something must happen to it. It’s doing something. I expect we think we see a loss because we don’t understand energy very well. It may also have to do with awareness and consciousness, but that’s another story.
I acknowledge that we do see entropy in our human inventions, like clocks. Human technology is the only entropic system in the entire universe, which is why I believe that one day, the energy put into our technology will finally be exhausted and it will wind down to a halt.
What does love have to do with it?
Everything. Unlike human technology and the power that drives it, love is the ultimate force in the universe.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth…Love never ends.
– 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Admittedly, the more I understand what love is, the more I realize how truly blind I am to love, how unnatural love is to me, and how akin I am to the other love, the one that drives my lusts.
The irony is that God’s love—the perpetual motion machine—is enterable only through the cross of Christ. This may sound a lot like Theology-mumbo-jumbo, so I’ll clarify with a poem.
The Nobility of Love
When you put aside your task for mine,
You are diminished.
When you praise my work above yours,
Your ambitions fade.
When you swallow my anger,
You drink bit of poison.
When you swallow your anger,
You keep me out of harms way.
When you listen to my pain,
You take on my disease.
When my gossip stops at you,
You burn from the flames.
When you take my punishment,
You die a little more.
When you follow Jesus to his cross,
You die with him.
Through his narrow gate of love,
You live with him forevermore.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.
– John 11:13-14