Monday, December 6, 2010

The Miracle of H2O

I think that we all know that I believe in God and respect science.  They have never been opposing or competing entities as far as I am concerned.  The more that I learned in my science classes (the ones taught by my liberal, evolution-embracing college, not the ones in my creationist high school background) the more fascinated I was with the world around me.  And the more that I was in awe of God.  To me, understanding more about science does not render God obsolete.  Rather I love the world that He created all the more.

Water fascinates me.  The water molecule is a little like an upside down "V", with the oxygen at the apex  and the two little hydrogens at each end.  There is a slight polarity or charge to this molecule, and forgive me, I can't remember which is which.  But the oxygen is either a slightly negative or slightly positive because of the way that the molecule comes together (I think negative, but am clearly too lazy to look it up right now).  The hydrogen, then, is the opposite.

This is amazing!  You know why?  Molecules are always moving, even in whatever so-called solid object that you see.  In a solid object, they're stuck in one place, but they're vibrating. In a liquid, they are able to freely slide past each other.  In a gas, they are moving even more.  As things get colder, the molecules get closer and closer together, until they finally stop being able to slide past each other, and now they are a solid.

Most solids are more dense than liquids, because the molecules are so close together, closer than in the liquid form when they can move freely through space.  Water, however, is the exception. As it gets closer together, the positive charge of the hydrogen (or negative- whichever!) is attracted to the opposite charge of the oxygen.  Therefore, as water starts to freeze, it forms a lattice, a little like this:


Pretty rough "drawing", I know, but the idea is that each of the points lines up with one of the ends.  This means that ice is actually less dense than water, which makes it float to the top. (Also this is what makes ice expand, and why you cracked whatever full container of water that you've tried to freeze.)

Think what this means to life!  Because ice floats to the top, fish and other marine life can continue to live at the bottom of a frozen lake until spring.  If ice sunk, instead of getting a nice insulating layer of ice on top, eventually the whole lake would freeze.  Then it's bye bye to all the little fishies.  Actually, you wouldn't be able to sustain life on the planet if it weren't for hydrogen bonding.

How's that? Clear as mud?  It's the best I've got.  But back to my original point.  There are those that say that we know how water "works", it's not some god running the show, it's just a simple scientific phenomenon that can be explained by hydrogen bonding.  No "god" of any sort needed.

And I say, "Wow, God, that hydrogen bonding thing You came up with was genius!"

Because, once again, you can say it all happened by chance if you want.  But for life to exist there are a lot of things that had to come together in a certain time and a certain way.  Me?  I just don't believe in that many coincidences.

In conclusion: ice is cool!*

*Lame, I know. But you're still reading, so... :)

P.S.  Why do we put God in a box?  Why do some think "God created the world, therefore evolution could not have happened"; while others say "Science clearly shows evolution and explains x, y, and z, therefore there is no god"?  Those "therefores" are a load of crap!  They're non sequiturs. What, God only had a hand in it if He pulled the world out of His hat like a magician or snapped His fingers like a genie? Tell me one good reason that He couldn't have created using a process!  As to God being superfluous to the process, see above about the coincidences. There are good arguments both for and against the existence of God; these two are nonsense. 


  1. Bravo! And beautiful pictures.

  2. Yay ice, and yay you for posts like this!

  3. I am right with you on this one - studied science as my undergrad - the more I learn about it, the more it seems to me I see the "footprint" of God.

    Isn't it odd how that mathmatical number they call "e" shows up in all kinds of calculations?

    Ever noticed how the equation for the law of gravity and the law of electricity is the same - just a different constant? from the tiny electrons to the giant masses - how cool is that?

    How is it possible that light behaves sometimes like a wave and sometimes like a particle - so which is it - or something we haven't dreamed of yet??

    Science, music and nature are all ways that I feel God reveals Himself personally to me.

    Do you have a "moment" when you really feel the hand of God? For me, it happens every now and then when the wind gently blows the hair off my cheek. It just feels like a gentle caress.

  4. I know I'm a little behind the times, being that I just found your blog and all, but I love this post! My husband has his B.S. degree and has explained the genius that is water to me several times because he also gets excited about it. As a Religious Studies person, I can totally appreciate the mystery part, but not even a glimmer of the science part!

    I like your p.s. best of all. :)

  5. Hey Katie! Thanks for stopping by! :)