Extrapolating Backwards in Time
Going backwards in time the universe was smaller yesterday than it is today, the universe was even smaller the day before yesterday. Extrapolating backwards at its current rate of expansion the universe would have begun its expansion some 10-17 billion years ago.
Theoretical Limits of Extrapolating Backwards in Time
Scientists can theoretically trace back what happened back to the first 1/100th second. Before that we have the problem that the universe is so small and dense that time itself ceases to be easily definable. Beyond the first 1/100th second scientists never need to invoke "miracles" from some supernatural deity to explain something. The only question now is "Where did it all come from? What started it all?"
This is the one place where God can still be used as an answer. God created it all and started it going. This is the "clockwork God" theory. God creates the universe, winds it up like a clock, and lets it go. From then on God sits back and watches without interfearing. This is the deism philosophy.
Most of our founding fathers of the United States of America were deists. Fundamentalist Christians would have you believe they were all devout Christians and the United States was structured entirely on Christian ideals, but this is clearly false. There is no specific mention of Christianity anywhere in the Declaration of Independence. The only mention of "God" in the Declaration of Independence is "nature's God," which is a clear reference to Deism. The Constitution never uses the word "God" anywhere in it. Instead, the very beginning of the very first amendment to the Constitution reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." Clearly religion was to have no legal say in government, and government was to have no say in religion. See Thomas Paine's book The Age of Reason, written way back in 1795.
A Time Before Time
It's also possible that all the energy/matter of our universe existed as a previous universe which collapsed into a singularity, but again we have the problem of understanding just what does "before" mean when time itself does not exist in a well defined manner prior to the first 1/100th second of initial expansion.
The sun is of course very important for the sustaining of life on our planet. If the sun were to suddenly disappear then all life on our planet would certainly cease to exist. During the day the sun gives us energy in the form of light and warmth. The energy from the sun is in a form that plants can utilize via photosynthesis. Just as important as daytime is nighttime when our part of the earth is exposed to the dark coldness of space. This is when the earth expels the energy that it received during the day. If the earth did not expel this heat at night then it would become a very hot place indeed and disorder would greatly abound.
The earth is not an isolated system, and it is not a system that is only having more and more energy from the sun pumped into it. The earth is a system with energy of a useful form coming in on the sunny side and heat exhaust of a less useful nature leaving on the night side. It is more like a car engine, with useful energy in the form of fuel coming in and less useful energy in the form of heat going out the exhaust pipe.
Some religious apologists admit that the 2nd law of thermodynamics is only valid for a closed system, but then try to hand wave expand the 2nd law of thermodynamics to include an open system such as the earth. The usual way is to focus on the input of energy from our sun but neglect to take into account the exhaust of heat that takes place on the dark side of the earth.
Creationists and Evolutionists can continue to debate whether an open system can or can not create life without the intervention of an external Deity, but you can not cite the 2nd law of thermodynamics on an open system such as the earth and claim that disorder is the natural state it should tend towards. The 2nd law of thermodynamics was derived for a closed system only and is valid for a closed system only. The misapplication of science does not refute science.
See also Evolution And The Two Meanings Of The Word "Theory"
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