closed system

Photo by Studio Crevettes on

A closed system is a natural physical system that does not allow transfer of matter in or out, although the transfer of energy is allowed. (Wikipedia) In this article I will discuss how a closed system works, and how the world believes it is a closed system. Fortunately we do not live in such a system.

What is a closed system?

A closed system is one that is self sustaining and self propagating. An air conditioner is a closed system. This allows the hot air entering into the back of the system to have the heat (energy) removed from it so that only cold air exits the front of the machine. Wind up clocks and watches are also closed systems. The winding of the clock provides the system with the energy to run, but nothing is added to or exits the system in order for it to work. It is completely self contained.

Closed system

The man in this image created a self-sustaining terrarium in a bottle back in 1960. He placed seeds in it and then watered it. Once he sealed the lid he hasn’t had to water or care for his plant in more than 60 years (assuming it is still going). The only thing needed for his terrarium to thrive was light and heat from the sun. Other than that nothing has gone in or left his system all this time.

Here is my claim

It occurred to me lately that the world thinks it lives in a closed system. They don’t believe that any outside force is influencing them. The world, to the people living in it, think they are completely self sustaining and self existing. They believe they just stumbled into existence without any outside influence. Nothing but their own will guides the human race, determines humanity’s future, and life begins and ends inside this bubble we have been born into called mortality. The world believes we don’t exist before we are born and we cease to exist when we die. Whatever we choose to do inside our self-contained life is completely up to us to decide, for there are no external consequences that might influence us otherwise.

This is the closed system I call life on earth. If we were a terrarium we would be able to see that there is light warming the earth, but energy presumably comes from no other source, so we are answerable to ourselves alone. How we choose to live our life is completely up to us, for there is no power beyond or above us that we need to worry about. Oh, how wrong we are.

Our two sources of energy

Since we still don’t have an inexhaustible source of energy, all closed systems must have an outside source to keep them powered and going. Funny thing – this is true with spiritual things as well. Entering into this conversation we need to remember that belief in anything is a choice. The world mostly teaches, and mostly chooses to believe that mankind is completely free to act according to our own wills, and that whatever we choose to do has no consequences beyond this life. That makes perfect sense if you have already bought into the belief that there is no God, hence there was no premortal life and that there is no post mortal life. This belief leaves us free to do anything we want that we can get away with. This explains much of the behavior we see in the world around us.

If, on the other hand, you choose to believe that mankind is not the only intelligence in the cosmos, that there is someone who claims us as His children, and that His will and His laws reign supreme then the entire picture of our mortal life changes. With a Creator and a God living outside of our closed system, we must learn to peer through the class of our mortal terrarium and see His handiwork throughout the universe. It becomes our responsibility to seek to understand Him and His expectations for us, His children.

Mortality has the sun that powers the physical systems of this planet. But what about our spiritual lives? What powers them?

Two sources of spiritual energy

We believe that just as there is a God in heaven who has desires for our happiness, and expectations for our behavior, so too does the world have a spiritual energy that powers their perceived closed system. That energy comes from the Devil, he who rebelled against all that God stands for and was cast from heaven down to this earth. The war he wages with God continues in mortality. His goal is to get us to believe anything but the truth. Satan wants us to be miserable, like himself.

Satan lies to people and tells them that there is no devil, that it is okay to lie and cheat and do whatever you want, for you are answerable to no one for your behavior. This is the belief that makes people think they live in a closed system where their own will reigns supreme. The world has bought into the vanity of the belief that God does not exist and that whatever they want to do is reasonable, because there is no higher power than mankind. They even believe that he who has taught them this doctrine doesn’t exist, for Satan has convinced them there is no devil. People honestly believe that whatever mankind comes up with is a product of their own superior intellect. This is why the world believes they live in a closed system, that no one and nothing influences their behavior, and that whatever mankind does, if they can get away with it, is acceptable. Their level of self conceit is massive.

Those who have chosen to believe in God’s existence, in His love for His children, and in those He has sent to earth to teach us of His ways, believe that we are not in a closed system. We are, in fact, answerable to God for all our moral choices. He does care about us. He wants us to live in a world that teaches we are in a closed system, while preparing for the wide world of eternity where we can become like God, all powerful, all knowing, and able to live in harmony with everyone else, including our own families, in joy, forever.

To the Christian, we have responsibilities to prepare to live like Christ for eternity. This requires looking outside of our own life and acting as though our life has always existed, that we are only in a testing phase right now, and that our progression towards godhood is what we are living for today, because that is how we want to live our lives for the rest of eternity. This view requires that we learn to look outside of all that is immediate, that which the world says is all that exists, and live for eternity, ignoring much of what happens here in mortality.

The world teaches us that what is important is physical wealth, financial stability, power, influence, prestige, etc. God says that what is important to our soul is how well we learn to love one another and how well we submit to His will so we learn to live as one who loves and cherishes others. We need to put the needs of others above our own, and teach our children not to quarrel and bicker one with another, but to love and serve others as our Savior has done for us.

Two paths diverge in a wood …

Like the poem by Robert Frost says, we have a choice. What we choose to believe influences how we act and how our lives turn out. We can either choose to believe that we are truly alone in this life to do as we please, without any eternal consequences, or we can choose to believe that mortal life is truly a preparatory state where we learn to live like gods do, even among those who live like devils at times. President Russell M. Nelson taught us to think Celestial, to look outside of our mortal bubble the world teaches us we live in, and live like a child of God who is preparing to return home to Him who created the universe. When we learn to live responsibly as a child of God, His energy fills our soul with joy and happiness. It all starts with a choice. What do you choose to believe?

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Does a Spiritually Closed System Exist?