By Leonard Lauriault: Quay County Sun Columnist
The natural law of gravity holds the solar system together. The moon orbits the earth because of their mutual gravitational attraction. The moon’s gravity causes tidal changes on earth but it isn’t great enough to lift a feather because earth’s gravity keeps things on earth. Gravity also is what causes things to sink in water if they have a greater mass (weight per volume) than the water.
God defined natural laws for our benefit (Genesis 1: 14-19, 26-31; 8: 22; Job 26: 7, 8; 36: 26-33; 38: 31-33). While we cannot change or break natural laws, we can observe consistencies in nature and learn cause and effect, or, at least, correlation allowing us to use natural law to our advantage in gaining dominion over the earth, by (Luke 12: 54-56; Matthew 16: 2, 3).
For example, ships laden with cargo can keep afloat because they’re designed to displace less water than their mass.
Additionally, we can fly either by creating artificial wind across a wing or by the same principle of mass/displacement that keeps ships afloat.
We also learn about the existence of God as well as the consequences (good, bad, or neutral) of the choices we make by observing nature (Romans 1: 19, 20).
God has divine power to break natural law when it’s in our best interest (Jeremiah 29: 11). Jesus did that several times while on earth (although, when he did it the last time he wasn’t on earth anymore).
When Jesus walked on the water (Matthew 14: 22-33), his displacement capability was limited by his shoe size but his weight continued to reflect his whole body increasing his mass at the water’s surface.
Now, I know some teenagers with canoe feet making rapid growth toward aircraft carriers, but for all their talents, walking on water or even floating in a vertical position isn’t among them.
By walking on water and calming the storm, Jesus proved his deity, his power over nature, and that he’d be near even when we’re isolated or in danger. That’s good to know!
Jesus also defied natural law regarding his death, burial, and resurrection. Without relying on the law of gravity, he could have kept himself from being lifted up on the cross because, as God, he had a huge army at his disposal (Matthew 26: 53).
Secondly, Jesus could have come down from the cross although he was tightly held to it. His adversaries encouraged, even challenged, him to do that to prove his deity (Mark 15: 25-32). This would have been easy, although the effect would’ve been short-lived and not in our best interest (John 10: 25- 39, 12: 37; Hebrews 10: 1-4; 9: 11-15).
Similarly to the law of gravity, the law of death and decay that are the result of Adam’s sin could not keep Jesus down (buried) because he had no burden (mass) of his own sin (Genesis 3: 17-19; Romans 6: 23; 5: 12-14; Acts 2: 22-28; 1 Peter 2: 24; 2 Corinthians 5: 21; Ezekiel 18: 20).
The last time Jesus defied gravity was when he ascended to heaven. He didn’t use wings and artificial wind for lift and he didn’t expand a balloon with something to make it lighter than air like we have to do. He used a divine power that’s stronger than natural law. As with his death and resurrection, if Jesus hadn’t ascended there would be no hope for us in the present or for eternity (John 14: 1-3, 15-21; 15-5-16; Romans 8: 26-34; Hebrews 7: 25).
Divinely established natural laws determine the two eternal outcomes of the many decisions we make. These outcomes are viewed as either going up to heaven or down to hell. If we live according to natural law of our sinful self, the pull of the world keeps us down and moving farther downward (Romans 8: 5-17; 2 Timothy 3: 13-15). If we obey divine law, God will use his power to raise us from physical death and to ascend to heaven (Romans 6: 17, 18, 3-11; 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18; 1 Corinthians 15: 20-26).
Up and down aren’t cardinal directions like north, south, east, and west. No matter where we are within the earth’s atmosphere, up is always away from the earth and down is always toward the earth because up and down are defined by gravity rather than magnetism.
When it comes to Jesus, up also is always away from the world. He draws us to himself having overpowered everything that pulls us down (John 12: 32, 33; 1 John 4: 4; Matthew 11: 28-30). When we face life’s up’s and down’s, he’s right there where we can reach out to him (Hebrews 13: 5; Psalm 139: 7-10; Acts 17: 26, 27). Isn’t that just divine!!?
Leonard Lauriault, church of Christ