Science in the Bible: Lifting Waves

For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. Psalm 107:25

Ever been to a beach on a NOAA Photo Library: ocean wavesstormy day? The waves crashing into the shore can be awesome if you keep your distance, or terrifying if you get too close!

It doesn’t take much scientific observation to realize the wind and the waves are connected. A few waves, like tsunamis, are caused by earthquakes, the moon’s gravity, or things pushing the water, but most waves are caused by wind. How?

What causes ocean waves?¬†Ocean waves are caused by wind moving across the surface of the water. The friction between the air molecules and the water molecules causes energy to be transferred from the wind to the water. This causes waves to form.” Ducksters.com Earth Science, Ocean Waves and Currents

NOAA Ocean Explorer: DART bouy Seems obvious enough. We aren’t surprised the writer of Psalm 107 recognized wind caused waves 1,000s of years ago. But there’s more.

If you blow on your soup to cool it, you make little waves by pushing the water down. But the verse says, “which lifteth up the waves thereof”. Now that’s interesting!

The turbulence in the wind produces random pressure fluctuations at the sea surface, which produces small waves with wavelengths of a few centimeters (Phillips, 1957). Introduction to Physical Oceanography

Wikipedia.nl: Globe shaped Barometer

barometer

In English this means the wind keeps changing air pressure: sometimes high and sometimes low. This is what gets a new wave started. So, sometimes the wind is pushing the water like you see with your soup, but it also sucks it up higher.

Notice when we discovered how this all works?*

1957

I bet you know someone who remembers that year. Before then, people knew the wind was connected to the waves, but we didn’t know how. Yet, the Bible knew about it 3,000 years ago!

People will tell you the Bible was invented by Bronze Age goat herders and it doesn’t connect to modern life, science, or reality. Have those people been reading their Bibles carefully?

God wants us to trust Him. He doesn’t have a sign saying “I am God and you must worship me” in the sky. Jesus didn’t show Himself to the whole world when He rose from the dead. Someday He will, but when that happens, it will be too late for anyone to choose Him as their Savior.

At the same time, if we want to believe God, He gives us lots of answers. This little verse about the wind and waves in the middle of Psalms is one example.

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 

Thank you, Father, for not asking us to have “blind faith”. Thank you for giving us so many ways to recognize you are real…. and smart!

Learn more:
How Waves Are Made: Surfing-Waves.com

Waves | Coastal Care.org (detailed, no ads)

eHow: Science Projects on Water Waves (most are simple enough to do on your own)

How Surfing Works by HowStuffWorks (best graphic of wave motion)

*It was hard to find any history of wave science. The O.M. Phillips paper seems to be the main study on the subject.

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