`2 Kings 20:11`, we read that Isaiah the Prophet cried unto
the Lord; and He brought the shadow of the sun ten degrees backwards,
by which it had gone down on the dial of Ahaz. Does this record
teach that the Lord reversed the earth's motion upon its axis?
<ANSWER>--The possibility of such a miracle has been questioned
by many, who have insisted that it would involve not only stoppage
of the motion of the earth upon its axis, but an impossible
retrograde movement, to be accomplished in a moment of time.
However, Professor Garbett, writing far a magazine called Knowledge,
declares that he knew of an afternoon some years ago when, on
many sun-dials in Southern England, there occurred exactly the
wonder described in the book of Kings. Asked by Astronomer R.A.
Proctor to describe it, he writes as follows: "The shiftings
of the shadows an the dials, that Isaiah predicted to sick Hezekiah,
are liable to occur at any place, when these two circumstances
occur: (1) That the upper atmosphere is in that condition which
causes two bright parhelion or mock suns to appear an opposite
sides of the sun; and (2) that the lower air contains drifting
clouds, massive enough to hide often two of the three (apparent
suns). When the real sun and eastern mock sun are hidden, there
is only the western (mock sun) to cast shadows, which then coincides
with what the sun would cast an hour and a half later; but if
the clouds shift so as to hide the west parhelion, and disclose
the eastern, the shadows instantly become such as the sun cast
an hour and a half earlier....On March 29, 1858, these effects
occurred, had any one been looking, on every dial of Portsea,
and very probably of much of Hampshire besides. The parhelia
were present and bright enough at about 11 a.m. and still better
at 1 p.m.
Bible says "The earth abideth forever" (`Ecc. 1:4`).
How do we harmonize this with the conclusions reached by scientists
that the solar system is gradually running down and that eventually
the earth will become cold and lifeless?
<ANSWER>--Even if the conclusions of scientists were realized
as suggested above, it would not be out of harmony with the
Bible statement, for the earth would still be "abiding"
although in a lifeless form. Various have been the speculations
as to the ultimate fate of the earth. Some have conjectured
that the earth would eventually drop into the sun and thus be
consumed. Others have suggested that a collision would occur
with some comet or with another planet, and in this way, the
earth would be disposed of. The suppositions of scientists have
served to amuse a not too credulous public and, we believe,
not many have taken them seriously as to their wild guesses.
How reasonable and consistent the Bible teaching to the effect
that the Creator formed the earth to be inhabited, and that
while it is still in an imperfect condition as a habitation
for mankind, yet it is to be made glorious and perfect and in
its beautified state will form an everlasting dwelling place
for the regenerated human race! See `Isa. 14:18`.
we to understand from the words of St. Peter (`2 Pet. 3:10`)
that the earth is to be burned up at some time or other? And
what is the meaning of the expression--"the elements shall
melt with fervent heat?"
<ANSWER>--The symbolical earth of St. Peter's prophecy
doubtless refers to the social order of things or organized
society, represented in the various forms of government now
existing. In referring to the last times or the last days, our
Lord foretold a time of trouble such as was not since there
was a nation--`Mat. 24:21` and the scriptures in general show
how this "trouble" will be developed, and that it
will be so destructive in character that it will result in the
dissolution of the present evil, selfish, social structure,
preparatory to the establishment of the "new earth"--`verse
13`--founded upon principles of equity, justice and love. The
"elements" which constitute the present "earth"
or social order, are the socialistic element, the capitalistic
element, the labor element, etc. Who can not see that the friction
existing between the various elements is constantly increasing,
and that it is a question of but short time when the friction
will become so intense that the elements, bursting forth into
open flame, "will melt (be dissolved) with fervent heat,"
and thus the entire social fabric will be destroyed? As showing
that the "fire" is not literal, we have in mind the
Prophet's description of this same destructive time of trouble,
in which it is stated that after the "fire" has done
its work, the Lord will "then" turn to the people
a pure language. `Zeph. 3:8,9`.
scriptures state that God created the Earth not in vain, he
formed it to be inhabited. (`Isa. 14:18`.) And also that the
earth abideth forever. (`Ecc. 1:4`.) This seems to imply that
the earth will be populated forever. If this be true, where
will they get their supplies from, such as coal, minerals, timber,
etc. when the present sources are exhausted? (E.M.)
<ANSWER>--The earth is composed of different elements.
These elements, while they may change their forms and disappear
from mortal vision, always remain the same elements. No instance
has ever been known of where one element changed into another.
But there is constant change taking place throughout all of
the realms of nature. Yet, nothing is gained, and nothing is
lost. Water changes from a solid (ice) into vapor (steam) and
then into its elementary gases--H2O. Then the operation is reversed.
The gases change to vapor--the vapor to liquids, and the liquids
to solids. We may reason from this that when the coal, minerals,
timber, etc., have all been used in their present form, and
having been transformed into some other state, they will be
utilized in that state or condition. And this process could
go on throughout eternity without exhausting in the slightest
degree the original elements. The process of change is always
in a circle, and all that mankind will need to do will be to
follow the circle around to its initial starting point and then
repeat the process throughout all the years of eternity.