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The second law of thermodynamics is often cited as the reason that "free energy" is not possible. That we cannot get more energy out of a system than we put in.

It is my understanding that the universe (and all matter and energy within it) must have, at some point, come from nothing; it cannot have existed forever without an initial cause, and any cause for the existence of the universe would also have needed a cause, and so on. So everything that exists must have resulted from energy/matter popping into existence from a state of no state, or nothingness, at some point.

But all of the energy and matter in the universe being created from literally nothing, is by definition, "free energy". It's energy from literally, nothing. You can't put less energy into a system than no energy.

Does this break the second law of thermodynamics (meaning that it does not always apply, that there can be exceptions), or are the implications of thermodynamics being misconstrued to discredit even the hypothetical possibility of "free energy", forever, regardless of technological and scientific advances?

In advance: This question is not a duplicate. I looked at all of the "questions that may already have your answer" as well as the "similar questions". There is only one question that asks something similar and it has no answers, and only one comment which seems to imply that the universe has always existed with infinitely low entropy, which makes no sense, because a universe at minimum entropy would still have had to come from somewhere (or nowhere) at some point. You can find that question (and it's poorly worded title) here: Does second law of thermodynamics imply the big bang?

Also, if anyone has a better suggestion for the title of my question, I'm all ears.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your second and third paragraphs are guesses. No offence, we are all guessing on this question. A better question title might ask about the problem of low entropy at the start. This is something we are more sure about, as far as I know. $\endgroup$ – user146020 Mar 2 '17 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ My statements represent my current understanding after a reasonable amount of nonacademic "research" and some extended thought. They are absolutely guesses, but I believe that they are well thought out guesses. We live in an environment of cause and effect, after all. Sorry for the late reply. I forgot that I posted this question. $\endgroup$ – Sebastian Hahn Apr 22 '17 at 8:26
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This is a very interesting question about the second law, and a lot of these kinds of questions simply don't have answers that we know about.

No one really knows what happened before the big bang, except that it was in quite a low entropy, densely packed state. Of course, there could have been a second law violation before the Big Bang, but of course this is only speculation. There are a lot of interesting articles about this Big Bang and violation of the second law of Thermodynamics, which I got from Quora.

After the big bang however, there has been no clear violation of the second law but there is not enough to determine whether the event that caused the big bang was a second law violation.

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The law only applies to closed systems. There is a possibility that energy came from somewhere else. But even if it didn't, that doesn't mean the universe couldn't be created with the excess "energy" inside it for whatever reason.

Laws are observations, not theories. They might always be disproven in the future.

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