TRUTH IN CHEMISTRY
Theologian, writer, speaker R. C. Sproul: "Truth is that which accurately describes reality." Hold with reality; hold with the truth.
Let me give you a couple of examples. Jesus often took something that was material to explain something spiritual. He took the ordinary to explain the extraordinary.
He took something temporal to explain the eternal. He took the familiar to explain the unfamiliar.
Let’s look at two elements in nature. Sodium is an essential element for all animal life (including human) and for some plant species. It is also used in industrial processes.
It is a soft, silvery-white metal that is highly reactive. At room temperature, sodium metal is soft enough that it can be cut with a knife. In air, the bright silvery luster of freshly exposed sodium will rapidly tarnish.
Sodium reacts violently with water, so in our high school chemistry lab, it was stored in a jar of oil. Small pea-sized pieces will bounce across the surface of the water until they are consumed by it, whereas large pieces will explode. Some in my chemistry class stole a chunk of sodium from the lab one day. That night they took it to a pond across the road from the school and threw it in to watch the fireworks.
Chlorine is a gas. The German Army first used chlorine gas cylinders in April 1915 against the French Army at Ypres, Belgium. Chlorine gas destroyed the respiratory organs of its victims and this led to a slow death by asphyxiation – the lack of oxygen.
Yet when chlorine picks up one other molecule, it becomes chloride, which is a chemical the human body needs for metabolism (the process of turning food into energy). The amount of chloride in the blood is carefully controlled by the kidneys
So how do we take those two essential elements – sodium and chloride - into our bodies? We do it every day, because sodium and chloride combined become table salt.
Isn’t that strange? When you get to spiritual things, hold with the truth, even though it seems strange to others.
Here’s another. Ordinarily a liquid is heavier than a gas, and a solid heavier than a liquid. When I was a boy, I watched a plumber using melted lead to seal a pipe. He had a little crucible atop a vertical flame similar to a blowtorch. A piece of lead placed into what was already melted would sink to the bottom.
A solid is heavier than a liquid, which is heavier than a gas. You spill gasoline at the pump and it will lie on the concrete. But as it becomes a gas instead of a liquid, it will evaporate into the air.
Moisture in the air (a gas) that is cooled and condensed into a liquid will fall as rain. But cool it farther until it freezes and the ice will not go to the bottom of the water. It will float on the top. So the solid is lighter than the liquid. It doesn’t follow the rules.
Why? Because God needs it to be that way and made it that way. Otherwise in winter the ice on the pond would freeze and sink to the bottom. When that happened enough times, there would be no water left where the fish could live. So with water, both the solid and the gas are lighter than the liquid form.
When you get to spiritual things, hold with the truth even though it seems strange to others.
(From a sermon by Bobby Scobey, If the Church Became Unchristian # 5 - Questions Greater Than Answers 6/22/2010)
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