“Study for the Pilgrim of the Cross at the End of His Journey” – Thomas Cole


The physical universe is a closed system in expansion in the void that contains a finite amount of heat and of energy, particularly, of free energy, which renders it capable of performing meaningful work in order to create order and form organization into its constituent entities. Thermodynamics makes use of a quantity called entropy in order to describe the degree of uncertainty and disorder that exists in the system considered in its entirety. At the microscopic level, the entropy of a system denoted S, is dependent on the natural logarithm of the number of configurations denoted Ω, that the individual molecules can take, multiplied by the Boltzmann constant kB.


S = kB ln Ω

Entropy is a process whose features are randomness and uncertainty due to the fact that each state is characterized by an equal probability of realization; philosophically, entropy can be considered to be part of the process of determination that is part of material formation and its historical evolution. The second law of thermodynamics reveals that in a closed system, the amount of entropy tends towards equilibrium, that is, a physical state of maximal entropy, in which there is no longer any energy available to perform the vital functions of life itself in its formation, its organization, and its evolution. Macroscopically, it appears that natural processes are irreversible, that is, they occur in a definite direction that cannot be reversed energetically nor materially. The example would be that of ice melting in a hot cup of coffee once inserted, or that of a book falling off a table, or even that of heat being transferred from a hotter system to a colder system. When a hot body T1 is placed in presence of cold body T2, an amount of heat Q is transferred from T1 to T2 until thermal equilibrium is reached; German physicist Rudolf Clausius used a quantity termed entropy equal to Q/T to describe the irreversibility of the process. Spontaneous processes in nature occur according to the natural laws and are in reality irreversible, without the input of work or of an outside agent: iron that rusts is an instance or an ice cube dissolving in water. Though some natural processes may be cyclical such as the rising and the setting of the sun, the orbit of the planets, and the passing of the seasons on the Earth, their movement is characterized by the passage of the arrow of time, which entropy describes in the irreversibility of material change and energetic motion. The thermodynamic arrow of time accounts for the asymmetry of time, and is able to distinguish between the different states of a system: since entropy is a state function it is possible to describe a system at its initial and its final state in an irreversible manner, due to the fact that an isolated system becomes statistically disordered over time, thus accounting for the progression of time in a one-way direction. In the human psyche, the process of entropy finds its correspondence in the process of self-determination that is the exercise of free will in the confines of Time, a reality that is comprehended by the intellectual subject in the understanding of the present moment, the remembrance of the past, and the conception of the future that is maintained in the memory of the rational soul, which is a measure of Time itself in the spiritual principle. However, there is an inherent dissimilarity between the two processes, for the character of the former process that of thermodynamic entropy is towards energetic dissipation and material disorder over time, whereas, the essence of the latter, the psychological arrow of time, is the unification of sensible reality under the light of reason and the organization of the vital capacities towards the activity of free will. Essentially, rational creatures and biological life forms realize the important work of biochemical organization at the expense of the universe itself, for the metabolic activity of biological organisms at the cellular level is realized with the ultimate dissipation of energy in exchange with the external environment and the final concomitant increase of the disorder of the universe in its entirety. In a sense, free will which is the perfection of Time is thermodynamically destructive, and the process of organization that is at the origin of life itself is leading to its eventual death, for it can be conceived that the amount of free energy that is in constant conversion for the use of vital activity is to become of no use for the processes of life itselffree energy in the end, leads to entropy and chaos, the end of the universe.

In the Greek alphabet, Omega, W is the final letter. Thermodynamically, it is a measure of uncertainty, disorder, and probability in entropy; but theologically considered, it represents the grand story of Time which is the cosmic law driven to its final end. In some respect, it is free will that is the measure of uncertainty in the universe, the source of its perfection and at once the cause of its destruction; and here, is hidden metaphysical hope which is that process of actualization towards wisdom that is part of the process of the movement that characterizes Time itself, in that arrow of time from potency to act that actualizes all being, the entirety of the universe from its inanimate forms to the diverse life forms, to sentient life and to rational existence, that participates of the Eternal Motion of the Immutable Being. Essentially, Time is a story written on pages of indelible fire by the Divine Finger through the co-operating wills of the human persons during their temporal existence on the Earth. In a Christian sense, it is a grand story and the Omega symbol represents its conclusion and the crown of Redemption, a story driven to its finality by “the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:13), that is, by the expectation of Judgement, the final manifestation of Divine Exactness that reveals the mystery of the Eternal Law and the true meaning of History itself: from His Eternity, the Eternal Father writes a Story manifesting the Perfection and the manifold perfections of His Word, in the multiplicity of human acts in Time and in the theandric operations of the Incarnate Word at the fullness of Time, in Whom History finds its center, its source, its Cause, and its Reasonin short, Time itself is a contemplation of Beauty in the paradoxical embrace of suffering and of the virulent strife against hostile powers of darkness, in a spirit of self-denying love.

Christianity is the incarnation in a religious society of this reality; it finds in the Truth of Christ the progression of a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end – Omega, that is, the Divine Judgement, an unrepeatable act that vindicates Divine Wisdom and coronates the victory of Life over Death, of Good over Evil, and of Heaven over Hell. At the center of the Story written in Time, is the temporal existence of the man creature on the Earth, formed by God, yet inclined towards the dissipation of the Devil, in a life of a chaos and disorder: the disorder between reason and the senses, the enmity between man and God, the conflict between man and man, the chaos with the natural world, and finally the fusing embrace with intellectual error and religious atheism, that is, the worship of the self and of the Beast. The human being finds in his will, the reason for an eternal spiritual battle motioned by opposed supernatural and preternatural principles. At the origin, is a cosmic conflagration birthed by primeval Evil at the moment of Lucifer’s revolt and of the fall of his rebel angels in opposition to the Plan of the Divine Understanding in Time; amidst the perfect Order in the original universe, it introduces a principle of chaos, disorder, and uncertainty into Time, finding its correspondence in the conflict inherent to the exercise of free will that is the character of human existence, and an element of randomness and determinism into the material Creation, made incarnate in the reality and the existence of Hell.

Since then, the physical universe has been directing towards a certain death, that is, the final conflagration of reality itself after the conclusion of the historical process and the fulfillment of Time towards the ascension of Wisdom, the state of final omniscience that will be the character of the predestined and the reprobate in their complete comprehension of the Story that the Divine Finger has been writing in Beauty Itself.







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