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Posts Tagged ‘Mass–energy equivalence’

Having briefly discussed the significance of Albert Einstein’s formula on Facebook, I was asked for a more detailed explanation, so here it is.

Einstein saw how that all matter is in fact a different form of energy. His famous formula E=MC squared, demonstrated this principle, where E represents

energy which he worked out is equal to the mass (M) x C x C, (C represents the speed of light at approximately 300,000 km/second).

Perhaps this is best understood by looking at an example of this formula. Water is made up hydrogen and oxygen, the hydrogen component of 1 kg of water weighs  .111 kg. We therefore have the ‘mass’ part of the equation. Applying Einstein’s formula we are able to calculate the amount of energy, this hydrogen portion represents. (Mass) .111 x (speed of light) 300,000 x 300,000 ( because it is C squared) = 10,000,000,000,000,000 Joules (a joule is a unit of energy).

We are able to conclude from this that 111 grams (.111 kg) of hydrogen represents 10,000,000,000,000,000 Joules of energy. A very small amount of matter equates to a huge amount of energy.

Now armed with this understanding, imagine if it were possible to know the mass of all matter in the entire universe, then multiply that figure by the speed of light squared. The size of this hypothetical calculation is mind blowing and represents an unimaginable amount of energy. To put the energy aspect into perspective a relatively small amount of uranium was converted into a massive amount of energy, using Einstein’s formula, during WW2. This energy generated in the atomic bomb flattened a large city and killed hundreds of thousands of people.

The point of all this from a Christian and Biblical perspective is that the Bible tells us that everything that we can see has been made from an unseen substance. “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God; so that what is seen, was not made out of things which are visible.” Hebrews 11:3 (NASB). God created the invisible atomic energy and brought it together, so that the material universe can be seen.

The Bible also tells us that Jesus, as Creator not only made all things visible and invisible, but that He holds all things together.

Colossians 1:16-17 NASB

For by Him all things were created,  both  in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

With a tiny grasp of the insight that Albert Einstein brought to the fore, we begin to appreciate the unimaginable amount of energy or power involved in the creation of the invisible and visible creation. We also get a very small sense of the amount of power that the Lord Jesus uses to hold everything together. If He chose to convert all matter back to energy, the whole universe would disappear in a flash and with an explosion of energy that we could not possibly imagine.

Peter does talk about this happening at some future time. 2 Peter 3:10 NASB

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

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