This cosmologist and physicist, Sean Carroll, discusses the direction of time and entropy. Half way through the second part of this lecture is particularly interesting and crazy, especially considering how to relate to his theories Christian doctrines regarding the end of the cosmos and the resurrection of the dead. I particularly wanted to raise a question about categorically different forms of life--whether we might consider how life might exist in entirely different forms in the universe, even non-carbon, non-biological, even non-physical life.
I happen to have done some research on the above questions of entropy and christian eschatology for Masters work. The scope of questions opened up really was thrilling, bringing my thoughts into dialogue with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin among others.
To think about the universe in such broad strokes brings to mind this quote from G.K. Chesterton's Orthodoxy (He is speaking about the deficiency of the stereotypically modern, scientific, materialistic approach to matter and reality, countering it with a more mystical, wondrous, and orthodox gratitude for the universe.):
In fairyland there had been a real law; a law that could be broken,
for the definition of a law is something that can be broken.
But the machinery of this [materialistic] cosmic prison was something that could not be broken; for we ourselves were only a part of its machinery.
We were either unable to do things or we were destined to do them.
The idea of the mystical condition quite disappeared; one can
neither have the firmness of keeping laws nor the fun of breaking them.
The largeness of this universe had nothing of that freshness and
airy outbreak which we have praised in the universe of the poet.
This modern universe is literally an empire; that is, it was vast,
but it is not free. One went into larger and larger windowless rooms,
rooms big with Babylonian perspective; but one never found the
smallest window or a whisper of outer air.
Their infernal parallels seemed to expand with distance;
but for me all good things come to a point, swords for instance.
So finding the boast of the big cosmos so unsatisfactory to my
emotions I began to argue about it a little; and I soon found that
the whole attitude was even shallower than could have been expected.
According to these people the cosmos was one thing since it had one
unbroken rule. Only (they would say) while it is one thing,
it is also the only thing there is. Why, then, should one worry
particularly to call it large? There is nothing to compare it with.
It would be just as sensible to call it small. A man [sic] may say,
"I like this vast cosmos, with its throng of stars and its crowd of
varied creatures." But if it comes to that why should not a man say,
"I like this cozy little cosmos, with its decent number of stars
and as neat a provision of live stock as I wish to see"? One is as
good as the other; they are both mere sentiments. It is mere sentiment
to rejoice that the sun is larger than the earth; it is quite as
sane a sentiment to rejoice that the sun is no larger than it is.
A man chooses to have an emotion about the largeness of the world;
why should he not choose to have an emotion about its smallness?
It happened that I had that emotion. When one is fond of
anything one addresses it by diminutives, even if it is an elephant
or a life-guardsman. The reason is, that anything, however huge,
that can be conceived of as complete, can be conceived of as small.
If military moustaches did not suggest a sword or tusks a tail,
then the object would be vast because it would be immeasurable.
But the moment you can imagine a guardsman you can imagine a
small guardsman. The moment you really see an elephant you can
call it "Tiny." If you can make a statue of a thing you can make
a statuette of it. These people professed that the universe was
one coherent thing; but they were not fond of the universe. But I was
frightfully fond of the universe and wanted to address it by a diminutive. I often did so; and it never seemed to mind.