In 1905 Albert Einstein proposed that mass and energy are really just different forms of the same thing in a paper entitled “Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon its Energy Content?” Most of us are familiar with the simple equation, E=mc2, that Einstein revealed to the world in this paper, but do we really understand what it means? In a nutshell, this equation proves that mom’s are being very scientific when they call their children “little bundles of energy.”
Einstein showed that matter and energy are interconvertible. To determine the amount of potential energy that that something contains you simply multiply the mass (m) in kilograms times the square of the speed of light in a vacuum (c = 300,000,000 meters per second). To give you an example, if one kilogram of water could be completely annihilated and converted into energy by combination with something called anti-matter, it would release the same amount of energy that is contained in 10 million gallons of gasoline.
As I was thinking about this amazing relationship it put Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed in new scientific light for me. Jesus said, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20, NIV) Do you realize that if an average mustard seed, which weighs two milligrams, were completely annihilated it would produce an energy equivalent of 42.96 tons of TNT!!! (If you want to have some fun, you can calculate the amount of energy contained in any mass with the following calculator: www.1728.com/einstein.htm)
I’m not sure if Jesus explained the relationship of mass to energy to His disciples, but I DO know that Jesus understood all mathematical relationships. After all, He was the One who created energy, matter and light in the first place. The Word of God says it this way, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:1-5, NIV) So how about it? Are we ready to submit to the Holy Spirit and convert some faith into kinetic energy today? Be careful 🙂
(1) Information can be obtained at: http://www.worsleyschool.net/science/files/emc2/emc2.html
Great piece, Len. I’d never given this the practical thought. Idea: What did Jesus mean about “this mountain,” was it a specific reference to a mountain in Israel? Am I stretching the metaphor a bit too far? My head is swimming with the possibilities and applications!