Albert Einstein summarized: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Miracles follow faith. Those who have faith see the miracles all around us.
We are surrounded by the wonderous miracles of nature. The miracles of nature are countless.
The Human Body
The human body is overwhelming complex. Yet, it works, and it works amazingly well. The body is miraculous, and each organ is remarkable.
The Human Eye
Each eye has a self-focusing lens. The two eyes work together to give us a single three-dimensional image. The two eyes are separated to give us depth perception.
Our eyes can distinguish up to one million color surfaces. Our eyes can take in more information than the largest man-made telescope.
The Human Heart
The human heart is an incredible pump. It has four delicate valves that control direction and flow of the blood. These valves open and close more than 100,000 times a day—36 million times a year.
The human heart creates enough pressure to pump blood through 60,000 miles of vessels. The heart pumps 6 quarts of blood, circulating three times every minute. In one day, your blood travels 12,000 miles.
The Body’s Defense System
The human body has an amazing defense system. Our skin keeps the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. The skin senses sharp objects and warns us about injury causing cold or heat. In response to infection, the body generates antibodies.
The human body is made up of 100 trillion cells. They all come from one single cell. This embryonic cell divides exponentially.
In the beginning, each cell is identical. At some point generic embryonic cells become specialized. Some turn into hearts, some into brains, some into lungs, and so on. This is called cell differentiation. The human genome is made of 3.2 billion bases of DNA. The genome consists of about 25,000 genes. These genes turn on and off to create differentiation.
The body produces 300 billion cells every day in order to replace those that die each day. New cells are used to repair and rebuild. In this way the body heals cuts, bruises, and broken bones.
The Human Brain
The brain is by far the most complex organ in the human body. It contains a staggering 100 billion nerve cells. Scientists estimate that the human brain can perform a billion times a billion calculations per second. (1 exaFlop) Neuroscientists estimate that the brain can store from 1 terabyte to 2.5 petabytes of information. (One terabyte is equal to about 1,000 gigabytes or about 1 million megabytes; a petabyte is about 1,000 terabytes.)
Atheistic materialists struggle to explain consciousness, self-awareness, belief, perception, and imagination. To them, the physical organic brain and the mind are the same thing. The mind is nothing more than brain matter. This struggle is called the “mind-body” problem.
It is obvious to just about everybody that the mind is so much more than the physical brain. If they are the same thing, why do we use two different and independent words to describe them?
The mind is the invisible transcendent world of consciousness, thought, belief, imagination, perception, self-awareness, and sentience. Is my “self,” the “I” and “me” something more than just my physical body? Are my thoughts just the result of random collision of atoms in my brain? Is my love the result of random collision of atoms in my brain? Or is love, thought, perception, self-awareness, consciousness, something more?
The brain is an organ; the mind is not. The mind transcends the material. The mind is fundamentally different from the brain. “Mind over matter.” Not “mind is matter.” “Matter? Never mind. Mind? No matter.” If the mind is more than just matter, what happens to the mind when the physical brain dies?
The mind remains a marvelous and miraculous mystery.
All animals breathe in oxygen (O2) and breathe out carbon dioxide (CO2). Plants “breathe in” carbon dioxide and “breathe out” oxygen. This is the miraculous process called photosynthesis.
Plants use the energy from sunlight to create chemical reactions, which break apart carbon and oxygen. Then, carbon is combined with water using the energy of sunlight to create glucose, which feeds the plant. During the process oxygen from carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. Incredible! (Your camp fire, reverses this process. The energy from the fire, oxidizes (adds oxygen) to the stored carbon in the wood. This combines in oxygen (O2) with carbon (C) and gives off carbon dioxide (CO2).)
Floating ice is a miracle. Basic physics establishes that physical objects exist in three states: solid, liquid, gas. As objects heat up, the molecules move faster and the object expands. Thus, solids expand into liquids, and liquids expand into gas. When objects cool down, the molecules slow, and the object contracts. Thus, gas contracts into liquid, and liquid contracts into solids.
So, gas “floats” above the denser liquid. Liquid floats above the denser solid. Conversely, the denser solid sinks in the less dense liquid.
This is a basic, and almost universal, principle of physics– except for water.
Water violates this general law of physics. When water goes from a liquid to a solid, it expands rather than contracts. The solid is less dense than the liquid. Thus, solid ice floats on liquid water rather than sinking under it. All life on earth is dependent on this unique property.
If water fit the standard mold, the denser ice would sink to the bottom of oceans and lakes, and these bodies of water would freeze from the bottom up. Eventually, they would freeze solid. This would quickly kill all plant life on the bottom and all fish and animal life above. Eventually, all the oceans, lakes, and rivers would freeze solid, killing all plant and animal life on the planet.
But ice floats. Ice also forms a protective cover, keeping the water below warmer, and stopping evaporation, and serving as an insulator.
So, the next time you notice the ice floating in your soda, instead of sinking to the bottom of the glass, remember this amazing miracle.
The Water Cycle
The earth is a blue marble floating in space. 71 % of the earth’s surface is covered with water. Ocean water is briny and undrinkable for humans.
Radiation and heat from the sun cause the salty chemical filled ocean water to evaporate. When it evaporates, it leaves the chemicals behind.
As this gaseous water rises, it cools and condenses into clouds. Then, it falls to the surface of the earth as precipitation and rain and snow. This precipitation creates lakes, rivers, and springs filled with drinkable water. Finally, this water finds its way back to the ocean, and the cycle starts again. Miraculous!
We are surrounded by the marvelous miracles of nature. To witness these miracles, we just need to take the time to open our eyes and hearts.
(Sources: “Thanks Be to God,” Russell M. Nelson, Gen. Conf. CR Apr. 2012; There is a God: How to Respond to Atheism in the Last Days, Hyrum Lewis; “Water Cycle,” “Photosynthesis,” ”Human Body,” “Human Heart,” “Human Brain,” “Human Genome,” “Human Eye,” “Mind,” “Philosophy of the Mind,” Wikipedia.)
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2 thoughts on “The Wondrous Miracles of Nature”
I love Book of Mormon statement that, “All things denote that there is a God.” I love to that, as one draws close to Him, the wonder of things bursts into view, and a sublime gratitude to our Father for creating it for our us. And to know that He himself took pause to delight in it after each creation period. It’s all awe and profound appreciation! Last week I saw one of those once-a-year sunsets — His stunning art! And He placed in us that very sense of delight at nature. It’s all awe.
So true. I also love Alma’s response to the atheist, that there a so many proofs of the existence of God: the miracles of nature and creation, the testimonies of the prophets, the testimonies of the scriptures, and the testimonies of millions of people of faith who have witnessed God in their lives.