Church of God, New World Ministries

Big Mystery for Science - The Tiny Atom

When you look into matter, the stuff of which all things are made, you get the jolt of your life. Did matter just “happen”? Or did it come into existence by design?

You are living in the nuclear age. Since 1945, the human family has become almost universally aware of the vast power somehow locked within matter, aware of that scientists, have discovered methods to unleash such gigantic explosions that the mind can’t conceive of their force.

It was inconceivable, for instance, that by the 1950’s one bomber could carry more explosive force in its bomb bay than the total number of bombs and shells expended by all participants in World War II.

All over the world, atomic reactors festoon proud nations with a claim to belonging in the nuclear age. But “atomic” and “nuclear” are words that are little understood, even by scientists. While we use them in casual conversation and with a good deal of apprehension they are terms dealing with the basic building blocks of the universe itself, terms having to do with what is, what exists.

For decades, God’s Church has challenged the whole structure of evolution through showing the utter inadequacies of the theory to explain how the universe came to be, how the solar system came to be, how the earth began. Moreover, we have repeatedly shown the utter impossibility of the theory by using the tools and methods of science to prove how utterly unscientific is the theory of life with a Lifegiver, laws without a Lawgiver; design without a Designer; creation without a Creator, and the operation and sustaining power of all things without a Sustainer!

Science does not ask why. Scientists urge students not to ask such questions, insisting they are beyond the realm of science. Yet, the why of creation is entirely within the realm of true science. Scientists use guesses, assumptions, and theories. They sift and sort various phenomena within certain postulates, trying to see “what will work.” Ultimately, they claim to come to conclusions.

Many have come to the “conclusion,” that there is no Creator God. So, while science has admitted time and again it does not “wish to step into the realm of theology,” it does not hesitate to attempt dismissal of all theology, without having looked into it at all.

Probably, many an unsuspecting young student assumes the most prominent men of current evolutionary thought have carefully searched the Bible, assumed they have looked at all possibilities for the plausible explanations for things. They may vaguely guess these intelligent men have found the Bible wanting in many respects, and so turned to evolution as an alternative. Not so. Most scientists fail to consider the possibility of a sudden creation for even a moment.

Still, everything they study, laws, forces, energies, the very building blocks of matter; and every living creature, every fossil creature, and every evidence of the past of our planet inevitably points to a sudden beginning!

So science says it concerns itself with “how” and with “what” more than with “why?” Yet, the more scientists learn, the more they discover they do not know about even the “how” and the “what” of this universe, our earth, and life upon it!

Since some scientists (by no means all) seem so eager to come to the conclusion there is no God without proof, it would seem they are dealing with “why?” after all. Only, they’re primarily saying “why not.”

Scientists have, as a profession, become among the most respected, admired, and even adulated people in history. The modern pseudo-god, the “all powerful, all-knowing,” protector, provider, sustainer, and giver of every good gift is “science.”

And today, the industrial application of various scientific discoveries, our whole panorama of technologies stands knee-deep in the most incredible morass of pollution to befoul the good earth in all history; threatening the very extinction of the human race whether any nuclear war or no.

Science; the application of scientific discovery by technology, is long overdue to become suspect of being another Dagon. Millions upon millions presently believe their modern scientific environment is an aggrandized, ennobled way of life. Painfully, more and more of those same millions are becoming aware of the fact the very essence of their lives could become the ultimate and most “scientific” obituary. It could read, “Here lies, man, degraded and degradable, totally buried in non-degradable, scientifically-produced trash, shattered by nuclear wars. Here lies the human race, scientifically extinct.”

Scientists have characterized themselves as the most honest; the most godly men who have no responsibility for determining the use to which their discoveries may be put. Witness the atomic and nuclear bombs. Even the most directly concerned with the discovery and development of such powerful forces disclaim any responsibility for their misuse.

And doctors would have sneeringly told you how utterly old fashioned you were for wondering whether thalidomide would have deformed your child only a few years ago. But it’s time scientists were told of their awesome responsibility!

As a profession -- as a group of men – scientists, with their education, training, and with the tools for study, observation, measurement and experimentation at their fingertips, have the least excuse for denying God of any men on earth! Yet, they seem foremost in doing just that!

Why? For one thing, the hydrogen atom never told anyone to repent of his sins, never commanded obedience to moral laws, never set a way of life in front of carnal man.

Many men of science know there is a God, and are quick to point out that the laws of nature and the tools of modern science reveal the strongest proofs of that fact. As to how thoroughly those same men find out what that God has said about the human family, its reason for being here, and its future destiny, we don’t know.

But scientists have been too cloistered; too ivory-towered; too prone to remove themselves from effects of modern science and technology.

At the very heart of any beginning discussion about whether there really is a God or not is the creation! If there is a God, and if that God inspired the words of Romans 1:20, then His challenge to you and to scientists is to look at what exists, at what has been created.

He said (God): “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

Scientists are challenged to look at matter, then to find out what it is, and how it operates, and see whether is proves God exists or not.

In this article, let’s do it for them. Let’s look into scientific knowledge about matter. About what it is, and how it operates. Let’s see whether there is proof of randomness and happenstance; proof of accident and chance; proof of living, dynamic, law – proof of God!

In this century, science has penetrated the secret world of the atom. Discoveries have shown how awesome, complex and lawful this inner sanctum of matter really is. Our entire existence depends on the lawful functioning of the atomic world. Yet, since it is unseen, we take it for granted.

You flip the switch on the wall, assuming the light will come on. If it doesn’t, your immediate reaction is: “The bulb has burnt out!” You don’t say: “Well, I guess the laws which regulate electricity have ceased to operate today!”

You look at the horizon in the morning, assuming the sun will come up. There’s even an old clichι, “as sure as the rising of the sun,” which points up how much we take this for granted.

Suppose the laws regulating the rotation of the astral bodies failed during some night, and there was no sunrise the next morning. Suppose the laws governing light did suddenly become erratic. You turn on a 100-watt bulb and get 10,000,000 watts of electricity. (Of course an utter impossibility.) Or you check the refrigerator, and find it’s no longer cooling but heating up. You wake up one morning and find yourself floating in space. The “law of gravity” has ceased to function normally.

It is ridiculous to even think such ideas. That merely proves how much we take the orderly functioning of this earth and the universe for granted! But if this lawfulness didn’t exist, we simply couldn’t function or exist.

Scientists assume and stake their theories and postulates on this one basic central premise – that all matter functions according to set laws. Otherwise every experiment and calculation in physics, in chemistry, astronomy and in all the other sciences would be meaningless!

All true science is built on this one postulate: The universe is governed by law! The existence of your life on earth depends on this fact.

How is a new product or sophisticated technical apparatus developed? By first discovering the basic principles, the law which governs matter and energy.

We pride ourselves on the 21st century technological revolution. But all man is doing is attempting to discover and understand more completely the basic structure and operation of the physical world around him. It’s all a simple matter of getting in harmony with the laws that govern this universe.

For example. Throw a rock through the air. The path the rock follows isn’t an accident. Where it goes is already decided by how hard you threw the object, air temperature, wind direction, size of the object, gravitational attraction, degree of rotation of the earth, and a host of other phenomena.

If you completely and thoroughly understood every force which would affect the rock and had the instruments to measure these effects, you could predict exactly where and how that rock would land!

Today, scientists are attempting to discover and catalogue principles that control matter. Scientists admit they are finding it a tough area of research. The more they uncover, the more they find themselves beset with mysteries and uncertainties.

These crucial keys that unlock the doors to technological advance are found buried deep in the heart of atomic structure in the elementary particles of matter.

One scientist admits: “Since all matter is made up of these elementary particles, an understanding of how they behave is necessary in order to understand how matter as a whole behaves. Therefore the laws of nature governing elementary particles must be considered the most basic of laws. This is the field of physics that is the most puzzling at the present time”

Another scientist put it this way: “A thorough study impresses one with a feeling that there is a conspiracy of nature to prevent man from acquiring too much detailed information. A conspiracy of nature is a law of nature; we cannot pass it over as being of no importance. It is as if nature had erected a wall of impenetrability around the smallest particles and forced us to see them only partially, as if through the cracks in the wall.”

In studying the atomic structure of matter, only one point is certain – and that is uncertainty. It may sound strange, but for scientist it’s no laughing matter. In practical fact, scientists not only do not really know how matter “operates” in every case, but they do not know what “matter” is. The fact of worldwide pollution; of tragic mistakes in dealing with our environment is proof that science really knows little about the forces it toys with.

A popular scientific book explains the cold, hard facts that so far have limited science! “We must invoke a rule about atoms, that has, for most physicists, removed any hope that there will ever again be a really clear-cut picture of the atom or of a nucleus. Its very name is, in fact, the principle of uncertainty; it stated that there was no way at all of keeping precise tabs on an electron or any atomic particle.

“Electrons are so tiny, and light waves so relatively coarse, that to try to pinpoint an orbiting electron with light waves would be like trying to measure the thickness of a sheet of paper with a yardstick. Even if we used a gauge fine enough (and it would require an X-ray of short-wavelength), the very impact of the X-ray would disturb the course of an electron.”

In spite of the problems, man has learned much about the atom! Only by unraveling a few of the inner secrets of matter has man been able to develop computers, superconductor, and lasers. The entire field of micro-electronics, where an entire electronic circuit can be placed on a pinhead, has been accomplished through mans’ search into the world of the atom.

All matter and energy in the universe is constructed of a relatively few basic elements. These are made of atoms. Tiny atoms, in turn, are made of basic particles, protons, neutrons and electrons. However, not all scientists agree on this. These particles (if they do exist in such relationships) are the building blocks of the universe.

Matter, humanly speaking, is anything that occupies “space.” Although, on the atomic level we see that this concept isn’t exactly correct. But anything you touch or feel, the book you are reading, the clothes you wear, the food you eat, the fragrance you smell, the water you drink, the car you drive, all this is “matter.”

Matter is made up of molecules. For example, you can break up a lump of sugar into smaller and smaller fragments, until you get down to grains, and then powder, ultimately you reach a limit. There is a minute smallness past which you can’t divide that particle of sugar without destroying the properties of sugar.

A molecule can’t be seen with the human eye alone. An empty milk bottle is estimated to contain 27,000,000,000,000,000,000 (27 quintillion) air molecules! A quarter-ounce teaspoon of water may have 9,940,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 water molecules since liquid is more closely packed together than air.

Molecules are made up of atoms. For example, a sugar molecule is made up of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen atoms. It would take much more than a million average-sized atoms set edge to edge to match the thickness of an ordinary piece of paper. It would take one hundred million “average sized” atoms, side by side to make an inch. Make each of them as large as a golf ball and you could stretch them from New York to Los Angeles. On the curved surface of a nickel-plated dressmaker’s pin you can “see” 200 quadrillion nickel atoms!

The atom is a giant in comparison to its parts. The nucleus within the atom is tinier yet. It would take a hundred thousand nuclei to stretch across the diameter of an average-sized atom. The size of such “typical” nucleus would be 1/10,000,000,000,000 of an inch thick.

If the atom were as large as an auditorium, the nucleus would be as tiny as a housefly. Yet, the nucleus houses about 99.9% of the atom’s matter. One physicist estimated that if electrons could be stripped away from atoms, one cubic inch of solid nuclei would weigh nearly fifteen tons!

In other words, most of the atom is “empty space.” Can your mind conceive of something so infinitesimally tiny? But it all operates according to definite, tangible laws. Atoms are so miniscule; a new unit had to be invented to describe atomic sizes. It’s the angstrom unit. It’s equal to 10-8 cm.That’s about one/one hundred millionth of a centimeter. In inches this is how it would be written: .000000003937 of an inch! This is the figure used to measure the building blocks of creation.

Atoms are “hopelessly small.” The human eye cannot ever hope to actually see atoms with visible light. Although with electron beams, molecules of 50 to 100 angstrom units can be recorded for observation through photographs. With the latest types of electron microscopes, particles down to a few angstroms can be seen in some cases. The smallest atom, hydrogen, has a radius of only 0.46 angstroms; the largest, cesium, has a radius of only 2.62 angstroms. Some 100 million angstroms equal one centimeter; 250 million angstroms equals one inch.

Scientists consider the nucleus to be made up of subatomic particles! The size of one of the larger subatomic particles, the proton, would require 2,500,000,000,000 (2.5 trillion) of them to equal an inch.

Another subatomic particle is yet smaller. It is the electron which whirls around outside the nucleus. If the nucleus of a hydrogen atom were enlarged to the size of a baseball, the electron would be a speck of dust eight blocks away.

Fantastically enough, scientists say that matter is mostly empty space. Some physicists tell us: “Eliminate the air or empty space in a group of atoms the size of a man and he would be a speck of dust.” The earth’s atoms compacted would constitute a ball perhaps one half of a mile in diameter, instead of the present 8,000 miles in diameter.

In this infinitesimally tiny area is a sort of universe. (Although, conventional words and pictures can’t adequately describe subatomic phenomena.) This .000000002-of-an-inch-in-diameter atom may house as many as one hundred electrons. These orbit the nucleus with such tremendous speed that they would look like a giant enveloping cloud whirring around.

It is this everywhere at the same time character of the electron which gives matter its solid appearance. Can your mind grasp such phenomena? Such small sizes?

The speeds are so great, the sizes so tiny that a complete understanding of basic atomic structure lies outside the grasp of scientists.

One particle has a lifetime of only one-ten-thousandth of a millionth of a millionth of a millionth of a second! This is ten times the life of similar particles. So far away is this from human understanding that no physical model can adequately describe the atom.

The universe is made up of billions of different objects. Yet, fantastically enough, these are constructed from 88 simple, but unseen – stable elements occurring in nature. In turn, these elements are all made up of atoms. But atoms are simply made up of little-understood electric charges. All matter is merely a lawful arrangement of the little-understood “positive” and “negative” electric charges.

Matter, then, is just so much energy, or force. It is as if, in some mind-defying way, some indescribable amount of power has been so arranged in endlessly interesting and interrelated patterns that all matter is stored power. But this, too, is inadequate.

How? When? Why? Should we avoid stepping into the realm of theology when time and time again we are led, by the very tools of science, to the utterly inescapable conclusion that only a Supreme, All-Powerful, Creator Ruler with a mind so awesome, and power so vast, it is incomprehensible, created all this, and by His Power sustains it?

Start with hydrogen. It has one proton. Add one proton, you have helium. Add another and you have lithium. Carbon has six, nitrogen has seven. Keep adding one proton and you will ultimately form the 103 known elements.

To keep the atom neutral you have to add one electron to each atom, also. The electrons will arrange themselves so as to produce a periodic change in chemical properties. This is all there is to it!

Let’s illustrate how matter is constructed. Ever wonder what sand is? It’s a simple combination of silicon and oxygen, two differently appearing, yet deceptively similar elements. In everyday language, one atom of silicon (Si) will unite like a tinker toy with two atoms of oxygen to form a substance we know as sand.

Water (h2O) is merely a covalent bond between two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Here the electrons are shared between the atoms.

The other important type of combination- the ionic bond is illustrated by table salt. It’s made up of sodium atoms (Na) and chlorine atoms (CI).

However, the number of neutrons, the third building block of matter can vary even within an element. A particular type of atom, that is, one with a specified number of electrons, protons, and neutrons, is referred to as a specific isotope. Hence, we have carbon-12 and carbon-14. These are two isotopes of carbon, one with an atomic weight of 12 and another of 14. Both have an atomic number of 6 (determined by the number of protons). Therefore carbon-12 must have 6 neutrons and carbon-14 has 8 neutrons. All work with precision and order.

“The orderliness of solids is a rather astonishing fact of nature. Physicists have become used to the fact, and they often forget that they do not really know why atoms adopt orderly arrangements” (Crystals and Crystal Growing, Alan Holden and Phylis Singer, p. 25).

Yet, more than any other property, orderliness distinguishes solids from gases and liquids. And solids have their own peculiar structures. You can prove it for yourself by simply looking around you.

Take mica, for example. You can peel sheet after sheet of mica from any given hunk. The conclusion is obvious, that the atoms in mica are arranged in great sheets. The same way with salt. Dissolve the salt and let the water evaporate .The salt will come back in cubes. It is quite clear that the salt molecules are atomically arranged in little cubes.

The endless variety of substances is due to their stability and their orderliness. At first glance, you assume that there are more kinds of disorder than order. But actually there is one kind of disorder. It is like the endless mountain to untold scores of paper piled on a desk. There is only one “pile” in total disarray. To make those papers accessible and usable, you have to arrange them in regular, orderly groups. But things just don’t “happen” to arrange themselves. No pile of papers automatically arranges itself on a desk.

You could toss a deskful of papers in the air for a lifetime and never arrange them as you want them. You could dump truckload after truckload of bricks for all eternity. They simply would never arrange themselves into a building.

Yet, solids are orderly. They can fit together to be shaped into objects. It takes a mind to straighten out a desk of papers. It takes a mind and hands to arrange bricks according to a blueprint to build a house. It took the mind of God devising definite laws (bound up in the inherent properties of each solid) to construct the atoms which form the basis of matter.

There is simply no way to explain the characteristics, shape or habits of crystals without the hand of God. The outer shape of crystals reveals internal organization. For example, if you piled brick upon brick in regular order, you would come up with a definitely shaped solid. The definite shape is the expressions of each of those brick, properly placed.

Could a pile of bricks so align themselves by chance? Could matter align itself by chance? One author admits: “It is conceivable that piling the bricks without following a definite plan might fortuitously result in a regular outward form. If , however, one were to encounter hundreds of such piles having the same outward appearance and all composed of bricks the same size and shape, it would be impossible to assume that they resulted from chance: all must have been built according to a definite plan” (Dana’s Manual of Mineralogy, 17th ed, pp. 10-11).

Yet, that is exactly what evolutionists must have you assume, that the orderliness of matter arose of itself.

Most minerals – about 1500 to 2000 common ones are composed of crystals. Even such unusual items as teeth, eggshells, textile fibers and matchsticks have crystal patterns. In turn crystals are just aggregates or masses of atoms. And the fantastic thing about every crystal is that each one obeys definite architectural arrangements.

Radios, televisions, lasers and other more complex instruments are dependent on crystal structure. A laser is possible because a synthetic ruby crystal can be made! Amazingly enough, every crystal belongs to one of seven basic crystal systems.

Here are the seven systems with an example of each one:

  1. Isometric (same measure) – diamond
  2. Tetragonal (four angles or four square) –tin
  3. Orthorhombic (at right angles) – sulphur
  4. Monoclinic (one incline) – cane sugar
  5. Triclinic (three inclines) – boric acid
  6. Hexagonal (six square) – zinc

The 6th system is generally divided in two equal categories – original trigonal (rhombohedra) and hexagonal – making seven systems.

The basic systems break down into 32 types. Each can be mathematically determined by the possible number of easy in which the atoms can arrange themselves. But by what law does this arrangement take place? How did this arrangement build itself into matter?

Why do electrons, protons, neutrons take the form they do? In fact, what are these particles? What are the forces that take place deep within the nucleus and regulate its activities? By what laws do these forces operate? How did these particles come to operate by such astoundingly simple but lawful principles? Why does matter operate according to law?

These are all unanswered questions. And even if they were answered it would only prove more conclusively that basic laws mould all matter.

But the more is known the greater the mystery. Scientists aren’t even sure that the basic negative, positive and neutral charges have any volume. Nor are they sure that they occupy space. Nor can they be certain if they are even particles or waves. They don’t really know – period.

Could the existence of matter be the result of happenstance or blind caprice? The intricate building blocks, the astounding laws which govern them, the inter-relationship and inter-dependency of all these items is far too complex to have evolved. Such an unscientific guess is in reality an insult to human intelligence!

You are here. You live – you exist. And you are made up of just so much matter. You are a living, thinking, metabolic organism and there is a purpose in your life! You are here for a reason! It is long past time you were finding out why!All these laws had to be set in motion instantaneously at the same time that matter was created. There is just no other logical explanation. And, there is a marvelous explanation for it! (Send for our FREE DVD, “The Mystery of Life.”)

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