Philosophies, Speeches, Thoughts, Ideas
(Prepared by myself from lectures that I have heard, but never delivered.)
We shall start with the earth. I don’t have to tell you the earth is round. Most people know that. Way back our closest neighbor, his name was Torald, said, “I believe that the earth is round. It is round like a pancake and flat like a pancake.”
The Lord had foresight when he put us on this earth instead of any of the other planets. We are 93 million miles away from the sun, just right for light and heat. We stand in a slanting position to the sun. Otherwise we would not have our four seasons. We spin around once a day and we make our journey around the sun once a year. We travel at the rate of two million miles a day. And we do not notice it. We have air and we have sunlight and we have moonlight. We have only one moon. It is one-fourth million miles away.
There are people even today that believe that God was not around when the earth was created or came into existence. They believe that dust and gases floated around and finally formed a big ball which constitutes the earth. But there was no dust or anything else to float around before creation. Even at that, before God created the law of gravity, it would have floated away into oblivion or dropped out of sight.
It is gravity that holds us to the earth. When the earth turns around and we are on the underside, gravity holds us so we do not fall down. But we may ask, “Why is it that our heads don’t hang down and feet up?” This is a mystery. God foresaw this trouble and provided for it. This is a mystery of mysteries and the scientists can explain only by telling us that there is no up or down in the universe. There is an up or down in everything else.
It is the gravity of the sun that keeps the earth and the rest of our planets in their orbit. The gravity of the earth and the gravity of the rest of the planets keep their moons in their orbit. This is centrifugal force. Centrifugal force is best explained or illustrated this way. You tie a string to a stone and you take one end of the string and whirl it around. The stone got to go in a circle because you are holding it from going straight. If it had not been for this law of gravity an centrifugal force, all the elements would continue to speed forward everlastingly at a dreadful speed, never to return.
Mercury is the closest planet to the sun. It is 36 million miles away from the sun. It gets around the sun in three months. Being so close to the sun, it is so hot that it would burn anything to a crisp in a second. It is orange-yellow in color and called the “morning and evening star” although it is not a star.
Venus is 67 million miles away from the sun. It is the brightest of the morning and evening stars. Earth is the third planet from the sun. Mars is 142 milion miles away from the sun. It is orange-red. Its days are one-half hour longer than ours. They have daylight saving time! Its year is twice as long as ours and, being so far away from the sun, it is cold. One of its moons goes around three times a day and one moon once a day. Lots of moonlight for the moonlight lovers. It is the only planet besides ours that stands in a slanting position to the sun. Therefore it has seasons, but rather long ones. It also has air.
Jupiter is 483 million miles away from the sun. It has 12 moons. Its diameter is 11 times that of the earth. Saturn is 886 million miles away from the sun. It is the brightest yellow star. Uranus is 1783 million miles from the sun. All our planets turn turn from west to east, but this one turns from east to west. Why? I don't know. Neptune is 2794 million miles from the sun. Pluto is 3670 million miles away from the sun. It is so cold that anything coming close to it would freeze solid in a minute.
You have all seen our North Star. You have noticed the dipper stars. It is a collection of stars with a square dipper and a crooked handle. The two bottom stars of the dipper always point to the North Star no matter where it is located. The dipper star turns around the North Star once in every 24 hours. Another one of the polar stars is the Little Dipper. That too turns around the North Star once every 24 hours. The funny part is that one star in the Little Dipper is the North Star itself. The North Star is the pivot on which the Little Dipper spins. There are two other collections of stars up there that also go around the North Star every 24 hours. The south pole has a different kind of formation of stars around it, but we can not see it. Nor can the people way south see ours.
Comets are something that only older people have seen. When I was farming in North Dakota in the year 1910 I looked up one night. There was a bright star dragging a long tail behind it. It was a comet. We had just built a telephone line of 30 miles between our Norwegian neighbors. I went in and gave a general ring. We were all on the same line. They called it the “Olmanson Comet”. The astronomers had slipped up on it. It was not announced until we had all seen it. It happened to be the Halley Comet. It had a tail 90 million miles long, that swept down upon the earth. The tail is simply some gas. It comes back every 72 years. Those of you that are alive 22 years from now, that is in 1982, will see it and remember it is the “Olmanson Comet”.
Our grandparents saw a comet during the Civil War, in the year 1861. That was 99 years ago. It should soon be back, but I do not know when. There are thousands of those comets, but most of them are so far away that we can not see them. They do not travel in the same direction as our earth and other planets, but cross their path. The older generation also saw a comet in the year 1845. When this comet came back the next time in seven years, it had split and came as a twin. The next time again it had gone to pieces and came as a shower of fire. A shower of this kind was predicted for Oct. 1946, but it was cloudy so people did not see anything. The astronomers went up above the clouds and witnessed it.
Our sun is nothing but a star. The sun is a million times as big as our earth. The closest star outside our universe is 93 million miles away. They are as numerous as the grains of sand in the sea. The stars, perhaps, are the center of other universes. The cluster of stars seem to be close together, but they are millions of miles apart. If they were not, they would roll together and destroy one another. Besides the stars there are asteroids, galaxis and constellations.
Here on earth everything stands still where you put it. To move it you have to lift it or push it or pull it. Up above in space there seems to be a terrible speed forward. All you have to do is get up enough power to send an object into space and it will continue to spin around any heavenly body that it might get close to. If we had the same conditions here, nothing would stay put. Everything would fly away. I can see that the gravity of the sun holds the earth in its orbit and so on, but I can not see what holds the sun up. That I do not know.
I believe that God made all the natural laws. When He made something to speed on or turn, you can not stop it. If He made something not to turn, then you can not turn it even if it is so small that you can pick it up in your hand. Take an egg for instance. You can pick it up and try to turn it. You can turn the shell but not the egg. That germ from which the chick is hatched lies on top of the yolk for the purpose of getting all the heat from the hen that is hatching the egg. You can turn the shell, but not the egg.
I do not see why the Lord made all those things above. All we need it seems, is the sun and the moon. And now we have so much electricity we don’t even need the moon. When we were husking corn with a wodden peg, and unloading corn after supper in the dark, mostly into a high loft, then it was nice to see the moon peek out.
I remember the time when we were driving with horses. Rev. Johnson always used to bring an almanac along to church on Christmas Day. That was the day we always decided on the Christmas Festival. We were careful to find a night when the moon would be up by the time we were hitching up our horses to drive home.
I could never figure out why the Lord made all those conglomeration of things above. But there is a place in the Bible that gives the reason. I do not remember just where, but it reads, “And for His pleasure created He them.” It was for His Glory. Everlasting Arms: If God would retard for a moment the law of gravity, all this world would tumble down into a helpless heap, burn up and explode.
Clipping: “For this time, and this present evil world, God has given man ‘Dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.’ Genesis 1:28. For now, man has been given dominion only over the sea, the air, and the earth. Not over outer space! He is an oxygen-breathing, food-eating, water-drinking earth being. Only the earth can sustain him!”