Checking Things Out
by Bob Burridge ©2015
Don’t Believe Everything You Hear
We know we can’t always believe what people say. It might not always be an intentional lie. Often people honestly believe things that aren’t true, then pass the confusion on to others. There are also times when people intentionally mislead for some personal advantage. It’s good to be careful about what we hear, recognizing that it may not be accurate or true.
With many things we hear we can just remain skeptical and let it go because it’s not information we really need to know. With more serious matters we need to check things out before we act upon what we hear. This is why you should check with a trusted Doctor before experimenting with rumored “miracle drugs”, or get a second opinion from another Doctor before major surgery.
When it comes to knowing what God says is true, or what he says is evil, it’s absolutely vital to be sure what you hear is accurate. Just because someone has a degree in Theology, or has been ordained somewhere, is no reason to believe his teachings until you have thought about it and carefully compared what he says with the only source of infallible evidence, the Bible. “Experts” can be wrong, and they often are. Let me illustrate by examining a science demonstration still found in some Science text books though it is totally wrong.
Where Did the Oxygen Go?
For about a dozen years I taught Science full time. As head of the Science department one of my jobs was to review text books to be adopted for use in our classrooms. I found that some of the demonstrations recommended were not illustrating what they said they were.
A prime example too often repeated was designed to show that Oxygen takes up a little over 20% of the air in our atmosphere.
To demonstrate this a lit candle was set up in a pan of water, then a glass (or jar, or beaker) was lowered over it into the pan of water with spacers under the rim to let the water flow in. The flame burned for a few moments inside the container, then went out as the Oxygen in the glass was used up. At that point water would rise up in the container allegedly showing that the Oxygen was now gone so the water was drawn in to take its place.
A little thought would show that this explanation is totally misrepresented. First of all it should be noticed that the water rises up into the container after the flame has gone out, not as it’s burning. But that’s just the first red-flag that shows something wrong with the explanation.
A little thought should remind us that you don’t annihilate matter with a flame. Burning only changes the way atoms are combined. The Oxygen becomes chemically united with the materials being burned. The Oxygen was not destroyed. It was simply converted into mostly Carbon Dioxide. So the same amount of “stuff” was still there. Actually the gas produced has larger molecules because Oxygen is made up of two atoms, and Carbon Dioxide has three atoms. Carbon is added to the air in the glass rather than Oxygen being taken away. Once the Oxygen is bound up with the Carbon it is no longer available to keep the candle burning.
So why did the water rise up in the glass as if it was taking the place of the “destroyed Oxygen”? When the glass was placed over the flame it quickly heated up the air inside the glass. When the Oxygen was converted to Carbon Dioxide the flame went out so the air started to cool. Cooling air contracts and the molecules move closer together taking up less space. The water came in to replace that space no longer required by the formerly expanded and heated air.
You can’t destroy things by burning them. Chemical reactions never eliminate the elements things are made of. They only rearrange what is already there.
Nothing in God’s universe can be destroyed by us creatures. Only the Creator calls things into being and is able to remove them from the energy-matter continuum. We creatures might transform things by chemical or even by nuclear reactions, but we never annihilate anything. The total amount of matter-energy remains the same. We know that what we call physical matter can be transformed by fission and fusion processes into energy, and in high energy fields energy can be converted back into physical particles. In these processes things do not cease to exist. They merely change in form.
Check Things Out
Things are not always what people tell us they are. Even textbook writers, teachers, authors and preachers can at times be wrong. The Christians in the town of Berea did not just accept the teachings of the Apostles without comparing them with their daily searching of the Scriptures to be sure what they were being told was consistent with the previously revealed word of God
Acts 17:11, “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”
When it comes to moral principles, worship, and our daily relationship with the Creator of everything, we need to do the same. We should be daily checking with God’s word to test what people tell us to see if it is true. As you begin your daily Bible reading you should pray for God to help you understand and honestly apply what you read. In Psalm 119:18 the Psalm writer prayed, “Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.”
Note: Bible quotations are from the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.