Friday, March 30, 2012

What's the Matter?

Sculpture of Einstein's theory in Berlin, Germany
Why don't all tables fall apart?

Seems like an odd question, but I think it's actually a very interesting one.  

When Einstein first proposed his famous theory of relativity it was phenomenal.  It is still phenomenal.  Do you know what it means?  It's an audacious statement that says mass is a component of all energy, and energy is a component of all mass.  That doesn't grab you?  How about this?  Albert Einstein once stated: “Concerning matter, we have been all wrong.  What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”  No matter, huh?  Then what am I looking at?!  Good question.  Let's explore.  

Have you ever looked at a table top and considered it's properties?  Yeah, it holds my dinner.  No, I mean the fundamental properties of its matter.  We know it's a dense (in relation to air or water) collection of atoms.  What's an atom?  A nucleus with electrons flying around it.  How much space is there in an atom?  A lot apparently.  One site I looked at said 99.999%.  Another site said:  The only time this happens (no space between atoms) in nature is in neutron stars.  To get an idea for what happens when you “deflate” matter: If you were to crush a 50m Olympic size swimming pool into neutron star material, it would be about 0.05mm long, which is about the width of a single hair.  So a table is mostly space.  How does it feel solid?  Frankly, I just don't know.  What I do know is that all of this stuff is just the dust on the surface of the covering of the outer edge of reality.  

We think we're so smart.  
In relation to what?  Each other maybe.  
We keep thinking we find the smallest particle that things are made of, then we find out those are made of something too.  Many things we see today couldn't be visualized with earlier equipment.  What does that tell you?  Some things can't be visualized with today's equipment, so they're currently unknown yet still very real.  

Is there a spiritual application here?  I think so.

First, God is awesome.
What He's made, how He's done it, and what it's here for is mind-blowing.

Second, faith is essential.
How can man encompass all of reality?  He simply can't.
But we see enough to know certain things.
There is a God.  He's done something wonderful.  But we walk around blinded either by familiarity or by ignorance to what is truly going on around us.  Unless...

Unless we take the time to reflect on who He is and what He's done.
Accept by faith what He's said, because we couldn't begin to be cognizant of the big picture with our finite minds anyway.  Celebrate it.  Revel in it.  Shout about it!  

Be who you are.

I saw a video of famous scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about molecules and space recently.  His astonishment at the way things exist and are connected led him to exclaim that it made him want to grab people in the streets and say "have you heard about this!".

Is that how you feel about what God has done?

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