Mountains On the Scales
(gravitation & isostasy)

Sergei L.Golovin

back


       If we are examining any complex mechanism skillfully assembled - a clock or a camera or maybe a spacecraft - we cannot help admiring the skill of its maker who has thought out the design, foreseen the necessary size, shape, weight and firmness of all connecting parts, and carefully joined each separate item into a single whole. As a result he has obtained such a harmonious interaction between the parts that now we think of the whole construction as an unseparable unit. And if we were in a store where a salesman demonstrating a super up-to-date VCR would tell us that it appeared as the result of the coincidence of random events, we would think his comment at best a joke. But the world surrounding us is even more complicated, harmonious and exact. Laws of physics according to which our world "lives" are very sophisticated, reasonable and precise. And wherever we look we see the handiwork of our wise Creator Jesus, "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" (Romans 1:20).
        From our school history lessons we know about civilizations that existed in different epochs in different parts of our world. During their golden ages they reached high levels in the arts of medicine and construction and had a well-developed system of astronomical observations. But all that knowledge appeared to be forgotten. Why? Do you have any idea? Why did such a science, one that could comprehend the laws of the universe (according to which our world existed), and the technology based on it, occur particularly in our European civilization?
        The fact is that all previous civilizations were pagan. Somewhere in the past they lost knowledge of the existence of our Creator God, the intelligent Legislator who keeps the whole universe in His omnipotent hands. As a result they could not even guess that exact laws exist in our universe, and that people can not only understand these laws but that they can express them in formulas as well. It seemed to them that everything in this world developed in a circular way and that blind chance governs everything.
        Almost everywhere throughout the world people were aware of the fact that all planets rotate in circular orbits. (It is not significant whether they considered that all heavens rotated around the Earth or the Earth rotated around its axis; from the mechanical point of view it is just the same, because the motion is relative.) This knowledge allowed the astrologists to forecast some astronomic events (for instance, eclipses or the moment of Sotis [Sirius] rising above the Nile valley in spring). Deviations in estimations were accepted as a fact and even were specially used as a means of astrological forecast. And of course it was known that physical bodies (at least the Earth) attract other ones, and that each thing you throw up falls back down.
        It was not until 17th century Europe when faith in a wise Creator became an integral part of human consciousness and culture that Johannes Kepler, a prominent theologian and astronomer embarked on an intensive study of Mars' orbit, comparing its true orbit and theoretical estimations in order to clear up the origin of its deviations. Kepler was a true believer in the word of God that sustains our world in accordance with strict laws of harmony. He also believed that all seeming deviations exist because of our misunderstanding of these laws. The Lord rewarded His servant for his faith by revealing to him laws of planetary motion. In his works "Astronomia Nova" (New Astronomy, 1609) and "Harmonices Mundi" (Harmony of the World, 1619) Kepler proved that all planets move not in prefect circles but in elliptical orbits; the line joining the Sun and a planet sweeps out equal areas in equal intervals of time; and all planets have the same correlation of their time of revolution and mean distance from the Sun.
        Several decades later mathematician and theologian Isaac Newton, who was also absolutely convinced of the precision and intelligibility of the Divine design, obtained from our Creator revelation about the laws describing the dependence of a body's motion on the force that is applied to it. Soon after that Newton made an attempt to solve the inverse problem - that is, what force is applied to planets to make them move in accordance with the laws described by Kepler? The result was the law of universal gravitation. It was published in "Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica" (The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, 1687). According to this law every physical body attracts other ones with a force proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. All these discoveries provided clear proof of the existence of wise harmony and exact laws that were given by Christ the Creator, and proof that all these laws are comprehensible both by rational deductions and observation. The discoveries became the starting point of the modern scientific method. And though these laws are named after Kepler and Newton, we should never forget that they are established and sustained by our wise and almighty Creator who has revealed the laws to these prominent scientists as a result of their faith.
        But, if all bodies are mutually attracting each other, and the bigger their mass the stronger their attraction, it may seem that the attraction of any thing (for instance, a baseball) to the Earth should increase on the hill top and lessen in the valley. Just imagine such a picture if this were true! Water would flow from the valley up the hills. Roughness of relief would confuse animals, birds and fish that use gravitation while orienting in space. And all salesmen would want to buy goods in lowlands and sell them in highlands, where their products are heavier (using only spring balance of course, since the weight of the weights would be changed as well).        Nevertheless, precise gravimetric tests demonstrate that the weight of a standard mass is always the same whether it is measured on the top of Everest or on the ocean above the Marianas Trench, at the poles or at the equator. Consequently the weight of the various regions of the Earth, in highlands or in lowlands, is the same. Is this a miracle? Who weighed the mountains on the scales? Now, that is a real miracle. The Lord Jesus Christ created a special wonderful mechanism for this miracle. Scientists call it isostasy (in Greek this word means the equal position of balances, or equilibrium). On Earth a relatively thin (near 70 km) and light (granite in general) crust lies on a thick (2,900 km) layer of the much heavier mantle. And even though the Earth's mantle consists of solid matter (its viscosity is 100 times greater than granite), in the depths of our planet there is such very high pressure and temperature that all solid matter shows some features of plasticity.
       Have your ever seen how a toy ship floats on the surface of a pond? The bigger the ship, the more of its hull is submerged in water displacing it. That is the mechanism of isostasy - portions of the Earth's crust "float" on the surface of its mantle. The higher a mountain chain, the deeper its "roots" are submerged in the mantle, displacing its heavier matter; thus the total weight of each section of earth is stable and the whole equilibrium of the Earth is stable as well.
        So really, who weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? (Isaiah 40:12). Could people do this when nations are as a drop in a bucket and are counted as dust on the scales (Isaiah 40:15). In the law of gravitation - both in reference to planetary motion and the Earth's structure - we can see the power, force, care, and skill of our wonderful Creator.
       

Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth.

(Isaiah 40:21,22,26)

       All of us are in His hands , and nothing can be hidden from His eye. Jesus told us:
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

(Matthew 10:29-32)

       So let the glory of God reflected in His creation be a lesson to people who, because of their pride in their "knowledge," deny His truth.
Speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee... Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?

(Job 12:8,9).

Sergei L. Golovin. Mountains On The Scales
Creator. January/February 1996, pp.3-5. HIS CREATION, Arvada, CO, USA
Christian Scientific Crnter "Parthenit", 1996. Pamphlet 21
Translated from Russian by Helen Booklersky
Reprinting of this tract is allowed on the condition that a reference to the source is included

back