Leaping into the life of Christ together. Living for Jesus and making him known.

Feb 9

Electrochemistry, light and God

My middle son is in year eleven and studying Chemistry. The teacher had  just started teaching about electrochemistry so we got onto  chatting about what happens when magnesium metal burns in oxygen ( as you do in the car on the way to school).

We talked about magnesium being a metal and therefore all the metal atoms are neutral and bonded together in a special metallic union.  Oxygen is a gas and it floats around paired up with one other atom in what is also an electrically neutral union. The metal can be surrounded all day long by the oxygen and there be little connection between the two. The oxygen is actually quite keen to link with the magnesium but the metal is resisting having any partnership with it.

If a thin flat strip of magnesium is held in a flame though something amazing happens. If the flame is hot enough a bright light so powerful it can damage your eyes is emitted. It only lasts a few seconds but in this moment a change has occurred that is quite hard to believe. What was a tough grey metal is now a white, soft powder. No trace of the metal is left.

Chemists tell us that the Magnesium has so joined ( bonded) with the oxygen that a brand new product is formed ( the powder). In order for the metal to take in that oxygen that surrounded it for maybe years with little response a powerful input of heat energy was required. At an atomic level for this to occur the magnesium had to release 2 electrons per atom which it had held onto quite tightly. The Oxygen subsequently needed to receive these two electrons and by doing so this set up a union that locks the two different atoms together. As soon as the two atoms are bonded , light is emitted and the powder is formed. Once every atom has done this no metal is left. It has permanently joined completely with the oxygen.

This is how things are with us and God. We are like the tough and impervious lump of magnesium. God has surrounded us with evidence of his truth in the beauty of nature and the magnificence of the night sky and the wonder of a new born baby. He has revealed his love to us by sending Jesus to take our place so we can stand before God on judgment day without fear of condemnation. We can resist all this though and just exist as a lump of hardened humanity believing that all is fine.  God is so good to us though that he allows us to pass through the fires of suffering and difficulty to show us how stubborn we have become. As we call out to him in the fire a light can fill our being and we see the truth of God’s love and we are transformed into a softer person finally at peace with God.

We are made for eternity , not just for this life. As we allow the truth of the love of God into our hearts we are prepared for the life beyond. Hardened lumps of humanity will not enter heaven.  Only those softened by the receiving of the one who is pure love will be welcomed to that place of perfection. Today if you hear his voice do not harden your heart. If you need to talk give me a call.


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