Saturday, December 6, 2014

Star Trek-like force field protects earth from killer electrons

I was raised an atheist. My father was in love with science, Darwin, and everything related to evolution. In our house, Darwin was God. Creationism was dismissed with a sneer and "Science" was worshiped.

In some ways I am grateful for the heavy emphasis on science, because I have an enduring love for it now. I enjoy the scientific process, scientific advances, and the interplay between ivory tower discoveries and boots on the ground impact to societies.

However, the bible is the truth, and in Romans 1 we learn that the glory of God has been revealed to all people. It has been made plain to us in His creation. Growing up, I would try to balance what I'd been taught about the Big Bang theory and evolution and other 'science', with what I was actually seeing about the creation.

What was I seeing? A glorious earth, mysterious, complex, delicate but sturdy. I'd see the march of the tides, regular and dependable. I'd see the stars, meteor showers, northern lights, moon phases, and occasional comets and I'd wonder how they all got there and why it was so orderly. And so beautiful.

Polar Lights. The Graphics Fairy
I was born in 1960 and I vividly remember the old black and white television set showing ticker tape parades for the early astronauts who went into space and returned alive to tell the tale. The first moon landing...I'd muse about my grandmother, born around 1900 and died around 1980. She was born when man was earth-bound and she watched us as a species leave the ground through flight and eventually leave earth and hurl ourselves into space. The twentieth century was an amazing time to be growing up.

I'd wonder, what is it about man that makes him restless, and wanting to know more, pursue frontiers, go into the dangerous and enticing starry deep?

Bob Ballard was huge too. His pursuit of knowledge from another frontier, deep ocean, captivated me. In the 1970s and 1980s he and Jacques Cousteau kept my interest with reports of yet another 'previous unknown species' from the deep. Who were these creatures? Why don't we know about them? How many more are there? What's going on down at the deepest levels of the ocean?

My childhood home in RI was not far from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) and the University of RI offered a solid course in oceanography. RI is called "The Ocean State". Ocean stuff was all around. Therefore, I was curious about the discovery of the deepest ocean mysteries, the hydrothermal vents, discovered in 1977 by Dr Ballard in his submersible Alvin. WHOI explains,
In 1977, scientists diving in the submersible Alvin made a stunning discovery on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean: vents pouring hot, mineral-rich fluids from beneath the seafloor. In addition, they also found the vents were inhabited by previously unknown organisms that thrived in the absence of sunlight. These discoveries forever changed our understanding of Earth and life on it.
That turned my perspective upside down. Organisms that live on magnesium and sulfur and acids?? Organisms that do not need the sun nor photosynthesis? How can this be? How does a cludgy and unwieldy theory such as evolution account for such earthly variety?

It doesn't, as I came to learn when the Lord regenerated my heart.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Romans 1:19-20).

They are without excuse because they suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18). I understand this personally and dramatically because the more I looked around me at creation, the more it was plain that God must exist.

Here is some news that shows plainly, once again, that God is showing Himself as Creator.

Earth's Invisible 'Star Trek' Force Field Protects You From Killer Electrons
The Earth is surrounded by "killer electrons," and it turns out one of the only things protecting us from them is an invisible force field of the type usually seen in sci-fi flicks.
These electrons, part of the two Van Allen radiation belts that surround the planet, can knock satellites out of commission and threaten astronauts. But in a new study in the journal Nature, scientists say they've discovered that these electrons suddenly stop at about 7,200 miles above the surface of the Earth. 
“It’s almost like theses electrons are running into a glass wall in space,” professor Daniel Baker, director of CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and lead author of the study, said in a news release. “Somewhat like the shields created by force fields on 'Star Trek' that were used to repel alien weapons, we are seeing an invisible shield blocking these electrons. It’s an extremely puzzling phenomenon.”
LOL, really. Earth is specifically, uniquely, and wonderfully protected by a shield. Here is an artist's rendition of how the shield may look and how it works.

Caption: "An artist's rendition of the Van Allen radiation belts as well as the "invisible wall" that blocks electrons from the Earth. | Andy Kale, University of Alberta".

source
Here is how I like to imagine the same scientific scene in spiritual terms. God's hands personally protecting us, His people, on the planet He created for us to inhabit and work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15).


The scientist said in another article, "Things we thought in the past were true simply are not correct." (source)

Lol, really.

Science is wonderful and I am for science. Christianity and science are not mutually exclusive. Science has given us penicillin, DNA understanding, X-rays, space travel, even the internet that fuels this laptop.

However I'd like to say two other things also. The bible is not a book of science. It refers to natural history and other scientific processes, but ultimately it is not an apologetic for human science. It is a book which recounts deeds of a mighty Creator.

Secondly, the bible transcends science. It is always true. Time and again, men and women pursuing an understanding of how earth or ocean or space works, find that they must revise or even abandon their theories. While it can be said that a ride on a scientific theory is like hanging on to a tiger by its tail because it changes so often, ultimately, truth is found in God and in His Bible, and that ride is constant. It is always true. It never needs revision.

People who cling to science as exalted highest knowledge eventually become disappointed because 'Things we thought in the past were true simply are not correct'. Ultimate truth and ultimate resting in that truth is not in science, it is in God. He never changes. (Hebrews 13:8). There is no shadow of turning in Him. (James 1:17).

The worship of Abraham to God and Jeremiah's and Micah's and Peter's and Paul's and Calvin's and Spurgeon's and MacArthur's and mine is a constant because it's toward an unchanging God. He is the same. The world around us changes, and our understanding of it lessens and deepens as we see the science advance and retreat in its hurtling through this frontier or that. However, Moses worshiped the same God I do. This is a comfort.

I never need to restlessly pursue this theory or that, only to find the scientists are changing it all again! What joy to see revelations of our Creator through men like Dr Baker who pursue knowledge of how and why our earth works as it does.

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

4 comments :

  1. Great post. I've only been a Christian for a little over two years. Every friend I have is a hard core Atheist, very similar to the description of your father that you gave. I struggle with reaching them. I was wondering if you could give me some insight as to what lead you to Christ (maybe you have a testimony somewhere, I'm new to your blog). I appreciate any advice you can give. God bless

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    1. Welcome to the faith. The Lord is good to save us!

      The testimony is in this essay. I couldn't believe atheism because it was obvious God made the world, it didn't evolve or split off from another planet nor did it come by a big bang.

      Ultimately the Spirit drew me to Him and I became aware of my sins and need for a savior outside of a man-made moral code, a husband or other friend to depend on for salvation, apart from just believing in the world's creation by some unknown deity...I needed a savior. The Spirit did the rest.

      Salvation is by Christ alone, we do not 'make a decision' for Him, the Spirit draws us and we repent.

      John MacArthur speaks of evangelizing the hard cores and tips for how to do it in his latest Q&A, here.
      http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/70-38/bible-questions-and-answers-part-62

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  2. Best part about those flight advances: The Wright Brothers were Creationists.

    Their competitor, the founder of the Smithsonian Observatory and whom Langley AFB is named after, was the US government's choice to fund with grant money. His plan basically involved slingshotting a vehicle into the sky, and it failed miserably.

    It's both an interesting example of how government subsidies can stifle innovation as well as an example of how a mind submitted to considering the things of God can aid scientific progress by promoting right thinking about how the world He created works.

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    1. Thanks Adam, that is a cool fact. I will share with my kids.

      Elizabeth, thanks for the great read.

      -Jennifer

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