“The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.” (Proverbs 25:3)
The Heaven for Height…
NASA is making plans to be the first nation to go to Mars, the nearest planet in the solar system. The distance is so great (250 million miles) that it would take forty days each way at the speed of a nuclear-powered space probe: 35,000 miles per hour. The biggest challenge, we are told, is the constant bombardment of deadly cosmic rays that will be continuously penetrating the vessel and everyone in it the whole time; because the ship will be outside the magnetic field of the earth, which shelters us from most of the harmful radiation that comes from space. If we can get there alive, we will have traveled an insignificant distance compared to the distance of the furthest galaxy. Modern telescopes, we are told, can resolve objects that are at a distance of 13 billion light years. That’s 225 billion trillion miles.
The heavens are so vast that the stars literally cannot be counted. Scientists make estimates, but the numbers are so big as to be meaningless. As for exploration — it would take four years to get to the nearest star, if we could travel at the speed of light! At speeds that are attainable today, it would take about 137,000 years! Interstellar travel — from star to star — is only possible in science fiction. The good news (or the bad news, if you like) is that, if any space aliens are out there, they could never get to here! Truly, the height of the heaven is unsearchable!
The Earth for Depth…
The following is an excerpt from an article that I found on the internet at atlasobscura.com. I have only altered the article by substituting English measurements for metric ones. The article begins:
“It has been said that the human race knows more about certain distant galaxies than it does about the ground that lies beneath its very feet. In fact, while it took the famous Voyager 1 satellite 26 years to exit our Solar System (relaying measurements to Earth from 10 billion miles away), it took about the same amount of time for humanity to penetrate a mere 7 1/2 miles into the Earth’s surface.
While the U.S. and U.S.S.R. vied for space exploration supremacy during the Space Race, a different, less-publicized race took place between the two nations’ greatest drillers. In the late 1950s and early 1960s Americans and Soviets began planning separate efforts to drill as deep as possible into the Earth’s crust, the rocky shell that comprises the outer 19-31 mi of the 4,000 mi distance to our planet’s core.
The American “Project Mohole,” stationed off the Pacific coast of Mexico, was cut short in 1966 due to lack of funding; but set an important precedent for future off-shore drilling programs. The Soviets, thanks to the planning of the Interdepartmental Scientific Council for the Study of the Earth’s Interior and Superdeep Drilling, had greater success. From 1970 to 1994 their drill on the Kola Peninsula chipped slowly away to create an Earth-shattering record at the time: the deepest hole in the world.
In actuality, the Kola Superdeep Borehole consists of several holes branching from one central hole. The deepest of these, named “SG-3”, measures just nine inches in diameter but extends 7.5 miles into the Earth. That’s roughly a third of the way through the Baltic continental crust. To meet scientific objectives and provide a nearly continuous look at the crust’s profile, the Soviets even developed instruments to take direct physical measurements at the bottom of the borehole. The drilling apparatus thus allowed for greater measurement integrity since rock samples would deform under their incredible internal pressure when brought to the surface. Needless to say, the project produced enormous amounts of geological data, most of which elucidated how little we know about our planet.
The study of the Earth is often largely limited to surface observations and seismic studies, but the Kola borehole allowed a direct look at the structure of the crust and put geologist’s theories to the test. One of the most surprising findings was the absence of the transition from granite to basalt, which scientists had long expected to exist between two and 4 miles below the surface. Known to geologists as the “Conrad discontinuity,” this transition in rock type was reasoned to exist due to the results of seismic-reflection surveys.
Though the discontinuity has been detected beneath all of the continents, the drill at Kola never encountered the proposed layer of basalt. Instead, the granitic rock was found to extend beyond the seven and a half mile point. This led to scientists’ realization that the seismic-reflection results were due to a metamorphic change in the rock (i.e. from intense heat and pressure), and not a change in rock type as they had previously anticipated. And if the non-existence of an entire layer of the Earth’s crust is not surprising enough, the cracks of the rock many miles below the surface were found to be saturated with water. As free water is not supposed to exist at such great depths, researchers believe the water consists of hydrogen and oxygen atoms that have been squeezed out of the surrounding rock by the enormous pressure and retained below the surface due to a layer of impermeable rock above.
But the most intriguing discovery made by the Kola borehole researchers is undoubtedly the detection of biological activity in rocks more than two billion years old. The clearest evidence of life came in the form of microscopic fossils: the preserved remains of twenty-four species of single-cell marine plants, otherwise known as plankton. Usually fossils can be found in limestone and silica deposits, but these “microfossils” were encased in organic compounds that remained surprisingly intact despite the extreme pressures and temperatures of the surrounding rock.
While data produced by the Kola drilling project continues to be analyzed, the drilling itself was forced to stop in the early 1990s when unexpectedly high temperatures were encountered. While the temperature gradient conformed to predictions down to a depth of about 10,000 feet, temperatures after this point increased at a higher rate until they reached 356 °F at the bottom of the hole. This was a drastic difference from the expected 212 °F. Also unexpected was a decrease in rock density after the first 14,800 feet. Beyond this point the rock had greater porosity and permeability which, paired with the high temperatures, caused the rock to behave more like a plastic than a solid and made drilling near impossible.
A repository of the many core samples can be found in the nickel-mining town of Zapolyarny, about six miles south of the hole. For its ambitious mission and its contributions to geology and biology, the Kola Superdeep Borehole remains one of the most important relics of Soviet-era science.”
No one knows what lies in the depths of the earth. This article shows that the theoretical study using seismic data has been totally wrong! No technology has ever been able to accurately predict what is only a few miles under our feet, and the center of the earth is 4000 miles down! And there is no way known to verify the models of theorists but to drill and obtain samples; which we now see cannot be done using the best of current technology, beyond a few miles down.
The Heart of Kings…
We have telescopes and drilling rigs that didn’t exist in Solomon’s day; but we are not much closer to searching the depths of the earth or the vastness of the heaven than people were then.
The wise man tells us in this proverb that it is just as vain to try to understand what a king is thinking. One does not ordinarily become a king by being stupid. Even being born heir to the throne is no guarantee that one shall sit upon it. And it is not easy to keep the throne when it is obtained; because there will always be plenty of men who desire it for themselves above all things, and who are willing to do anything to get it!
Let us be on our guard when criticizing or condemning the words and actions of our chief executive and other powerful men, as if we knew their thoughts, and as if we would know how to do a better job than they do. They have so much knowledge that we don’t, that it would be really rash of us to judge them. In the light of this proverb, it would be very foolish indeed for us to engage in the kind of speculation that we daily hear about what our president is really trying to do.
The American system, as set up by the founders, is not a pure democracy, but a republic. Frankly, the people are not fit to govern themselves. Only the most intelligent men have the capacity for rule, and even fewer have the strength of character to be good rulers. So we elect our rulers, and then the power is in their hands. We must choose well, for once they have it, they will use it — for good or for ill.
So the next time you are tempted to condemn one of our rulers for a decision or a statement that you simply disagree with — anything that is not a moral issue, remember these words:
“The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.”
Howard Douglas King
May 12, 2018
Revised May 30, 2019