There are plenty of things that I just don’t know. Plenty of things about which I’m just unable to make any confident conclusions, despite having spent time researching them. Here are a few.
The theory that petroleum is a “fossil fuel” — i.e., the result of ancient plant and animal life being heated and compressed — was first suggested in the 1700s. Since then, numerous scientists have found inconsistencies with this “biogenic origin” hypothesis, and have suggested that it is instead “produced by the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in the mantle of the earth.”
A team of scientists conducted experiments with a reactor vessel they had built which proved that oil is produced from calcium carbonate and iron oxide, neither of which are biological. The NIH published an article that supports this abiogenic hypothesis, concluding, “Our findings illustrate that the abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons in nature may occur in the presence of ultramafic rocks, water, and moderate amounts of heat.”
If this theory is true, that petroleum is not a fossil fuel, or at least in some cases it’s not a fossil fuel, then that would make oil a renewable resource, continually being generated by natural processes miles below the surface of the earth. Which makes such concerns as the “peak oil hypothesis,” for example, invalid. Interestingly, this abiogenic hypothesis would also seem consistent with some young earth theories of creation.
So what do I believe? I don’t really know, frankly. Evidence exists in support of both theories, and I can discount neither.
Does life exist on other planets? Hm. Not sure. Scripture doesn’t say that the Lord only created life on earth, which leaves room for God to have brought about living beings elsewhere in the universe.
Some people say that the universe is so big, of course there’s got to be life out there. That’s a pretty silly thing to say, in my opinion, because the Creator could form life on other worlds whether there’s just one other planet or billions of other planets. Life comes about because of His word, not because the chances for it happening seem larger because the universe is so large.
Astronaut Dr Edgar Mitchell (who happened to be the sixth man to set foot on the moon) recently claimed to have inside knowledge about the existence of extraterrestrial life. Is he making it up? Is he losing his mind? I don’t know.
C.S. Lewis took serious this question about life on other planets and concluded that if it exists, it’s no threat to the Christian faith. They may have sinned, or not. The Son may have solved their sin problem in a way unique to that species, or perhaps His human incarnation is sufficient for all beings terrestrial and extraterrestrial. Regardless, if life does exist “out there” it’s not a threat to Christianity, despite the claims of some.
So what do I think? Is there alien life? Are UFOs demonic? Have humans ever interacted with extraterrestrials? I don’t know.
Is it a particle? Is it a wave? Is it a, um, “particle-wave”? Who knows?
Light was created on the very first day, an ancient and elusive thing about which C.S. Lewis rhapsodized, “We cannot see light, though by light we can see things.”
Though weightless, or perhaps of very little mass, it is powerful. Darkness cannot overcome it. Scripture says that God Himself is “light.” We are called into that light to become children of light. Scripture’s high estimation of light tells me that there’s something quite special about it.
I understand a bit what light does, and how it’s associated with good. But what it is … I cannot tell.
I’m tempted to explore other enigmas — heaven, the gospel, Christ, our very faith — but that would move this blog post beyond its intended scope: mysteries of the physical world.
So how about you? Do you find petroleum, aliens and light as intriguing as I do? What about photosynthesis, aurora borealis, the nature of language, the growth of a seed into an apple tree or a child, the ongoing beating of your heart? What else puzzles you in this wonderful universe our Lord has created?