The Shame of Entropy

In a time and culture that finds the idea of shame shameful (i.e. “How dare you shame them in that way!”), it seems prudent to point out that shame is neither always nor universally a bad thing. If one transcends the ideology of current-generation westernism, they are quickly sobered by the reality that the overwhelming majority of societies (Latin, Islamic, Asian, African) employ honor and shame as foundational values that drive their ethnology and mores.

The apostle Paul employed shaming as a motivation for guiding the behavior of the early church. Take this comment to the church in Corinth as an example.

I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?
– 1 Corinthians 6:5-6, ESV

The shame Paul invoked here was directed at a practice in the Corinthian church of taking controversies between Christian brethren before ungodly judges instead of bringing the wisdom of God to the ungodly, an actual inversion of what should have been happening.

The term Paul uses for shame is ἐντροπὴν (entropein) from which we derive the word entropy. These “entropic” Christ-followers were looking to the supposed wisdom of the world for solutions to their spiritual problems and it was resulting in spiritual discord in the body of Christ.

Entropein is a turning inward, a locked fixation on something, or at times even a revulsion toward something. It is that which leads an individual to consider their condition. It is a term Paul used a second time with the church in Corinth.

Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.
– 1 Corinthians 15:34, ESV

Here the believers were foolishly subscribing to the idea that Jesus was never raised from the dead. “Wake from your stupor!”

Entropy, as it applies to modern scientific inquiry, is a term of thermodynamics that describes the measure of energy not available in light of as system’s ability to perform work. The less work produced, the greater the level of entropy. In a different sense, entropy also measures the loss of information in a transmittted signal. In other uses it measures the movement from order to disorder/chaos. In that manner, the term is used to decribe societal decay and degeneration.

The universal law of increasing entropy states that every system, left to iteself, tends toward disorder or chaos. This tendency is reversable only if an “ordering energy” from an outside source is applied to that system. While applicable to a physical system, we know this holds true for the spiritual realm.

One who attempts to live by drawing on a cache of inner strength or power will deteriorate into spiritual chaos and death. That same person’s spirit, when acted on by the ordering energy of God, becomes a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
– Corinthians 5:17, ESV

We are made new as the law of spiritual entropy is overpowered by the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”.1

Blessings upon you, my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

– damon
Twitter – @DamonJGray
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1. Romans 8:2

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Damon J. Gray

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  1. Peggy Booher on July 6, 2022 at 7:44 PM

    I appreciate what you brought out here, especially that a system will tend to decay and chaos unless there is an external “ordering energy” applied to it. No wonder Paul could write, “…if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation….” !

    • Damon J. Gray on July 7, 2022 at 9:00 AM

      Yeah, left to ourselves, … well, speaking ONLY for myself, left to my own way I’d be a mess. The transformation to my life in January of 1983 was so radical it was shocking! That happened only because of the external ordering energy of Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. There is no other explanation.

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