Friday, 22 February 2008

Water, God and mudpies...

I've just come across this wonderful scientific site by Martin Chaplin which tells you masses of things about water in a really accessible way. When I was at school I remember being fascinated in chemistry by the idea that there was something in the atomic structure of water molecules which means that a bit of air gets trapped when the temperature falls so ice floats rather than sinks.
Of course I've bored generations of young people in catechism and école biblique by using ice cubes to explain the idea behind the theology of the trinity - as you breathe on the ice cube so it melts and you can see both water vapour, water and ice - it's the same substance in three different forms, like God is: Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer - or for patriarchal traditionalists among you Father ,Son and Holy Spirit, "God in three persons blessed trinity". As I am not entirely convinced on every single day of the week by the theology of the trinity myself, I'm not sure that I have done much more than confuse lots of children and young people into thinking that God is a melting ice cube. This just shows my commitment to educating future generations into growing up to be as confused as I am. Living with confusion is what modern life is about isn't it?
Anyway the fact that ice floats might seem like a completely usleless piece of knowledge, but the structure of this tiny little molecule which traps air and makes ice float is the building block for all life. If ice sank rather than floated then all that yukky rich mucus and mud at the bottom of the ponds from which amoebas and life emerged would have been smothered before it could be born.
On good days, when even the trinity seems understandable and believable, I do reckon God must have had something to do with the structure of H2O. Water is the most amazing stuff and even chemistry lessons can get you thinking about God!