Monday, 28 February 2022 22:29

The Bridge Strikes Again … Seriously?

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A previous President’s Corner revealed that what we perceive to be solid matter is mostly empty space; and even the subatomic particles that pass as matter are likely tiny vacuoles of concentrated forces––no actual materials!  Furthermore, modern physics has shown that matter and energy are simply different forms of the same substance, called mass-energy

Consequently, we can say that mass-energy is not a material any more than a magnetic field is!  And, “solid” matter is simply a different set of forces organized in a different way.  Nevertheless, these forces do not arise naturally; rather, they are expressions of the power of God’s Word upholding the universe, just as the writer of Hebrews has said.  

But there is another substance that physicists have discovered, quite different from mass-energy.  Historically, in uniting the Cartesian space of Newton’s mechanics with the supposed aether of Maxwell’s electrodynamics, Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity (published in 1905) predicted that simple “space” is actually a four-dimensional mixture of space and time, called space-time.  

Einstein’s general theory of relativity, published in 1915, then showed definitively that space-time is like a fabric, which distorts in response to the presence of mass-energy.  If one was to set a bowling ball on a trampoline, the tightly stretched fabric would distort much like space-time does in the vicinity of matter.  Also, notice that the bowling ball never mixes with the trampoline fabric; and neither does mass-energy mix with space-time.  They are distinct and different substances.  Furthermore, the trampoline fabric supports the bowling ball!  Dr. Russ Humphreys harnessed these concepts in his stunning “New View of Gravity” 1.  

So isn’t that weird, what we thought was solid (mass-energy) is actually empty space, and what we thought was empty space (space-time) is actually an invisible substance so strong and dense as to support and contain all matter and energy in the universe!  And if the writer of Hebrews referred to mass-energy being upheld by the power of God’s Word, how much more so the fabric of space-time.  

But what else does the Bible say about this ocean of mass-energy and space-time?  In Genesis 1:1 God created not one, but two entities:  the heaven and the earth, both of which were (according to Genesis 1:2) in a confused and empty state, apparently called “the deep”, at their inception.  And the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters––the waters that were about to become the earth and (in my opinion) all of the heavenly bodies.  Having spoken light into existence (Genesis 1:3), The Lord energized this confused heap and readied it for the next day’s work.  

Then commenced organizing, as God proceeded on Day 2 to make the firmament, which He called “Heaven”.  Based on the context, and the use of “heaven” on Days 3 and 4 and in Psalm 148:4, I would interpret the firmament to extend from the surface of the earth all the way to the edge of the universe.  Consequently, in making the firmament, God separated water from empty space.  

On the third day He converted a portion of this water into the materials of the earth (elements and minerals) and separated it from the remaining water, producing both land and seas.  I therefore see it as no coincidence that the ancient Hebrew idiom for the universe (heaven and earth) is suggestive of the concepts, space-time and mass-energy.  

(If you have now become concerned that the Royal Gorge Bridge might not support you, never fear! perhaps the empty space below it will.  And if you are going to test this hypothesis, I would strongly recommend using a bungee cord!)  

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1Dr. Russ Humphreys, September 2014, A New View of Gravity, RMCF presentation, Resource location:  https://www.youngearth.org/index.php/component/contushdvideoshare/recentvideos?Itemid=

 

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Rob Bracken

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