Sabbath Thought - Iron
Our modern world is full of things we take for granted, but without them we could not enjoy life to the level that we do. Computers are one such example - they are nearly ubiquitous being used in our cars, our homes, in commerce on virtually every level, and of course electronics. But there are more basic things that we use in everyday life. Plastic we are familiar with because it can be formed into virtually any shape and it is cheap. Iron is another example. Without iron, transportation, building, farming, and many other things we are familiar with would not be possible.
The creation of iron is one of the most violent processes imaginable. As a red giant or white dwarf star begins to degrade due to gravitational collapse, it turns all of its helium into carbon and oxygen atoms. Those atoms eventually are arranged into iron atoms before the star supernova's. Iron is the heaviest type of atom a star can produce.
Iron is the most plentiful metal on earth and is used extensively to create the world we are familiar with. It is resistant to high temperatures but also conducts heat well. It is very malleable and ductile so it can be formed, molded, and stretched in ways that other metals can't be. It is an excellent conductor of electricity (but not the best - gold and copper are better) and can be easily magnetized. Iron has a very high melting point (2800degF/1538degC) and a boiling point of 5182degF (2862degC).
Iron is very similar to nickel, cobalt and chromium, but it's weakness is that it easily rusts (that can be overcome by mixing it with metals that don't rust or with carbon). The oxygen in water (especially salt-water) creates iron oxide, but this binding of oxygen and iron is a plus in animal and plant life. Iron can carry oxygen to cells in organisms and creates chlorophyll in plants which is necessary for photosynthesis.
Interestingly, bronze is a harder metal, but iron overtook bronze because iron was more plentiful and easier to work with. Also very interesting, is that when iron is exposed to very hot water (steam) it gives off hydrogen gas (the most abundant element in the universe).
Iron is referenced extensively in scripture. God uses it as a metaphor for hardness - of hearts, the skies with no rain, the ground that doesn't yield produce and so forth. But He also uses references to iron as a metaphor of abundance - for example, silver becoming as common as iron.
It is interesting to consider how our calling is similar to the creation of iron - to be strong, but to have His spirit makes us even stronger and not susceptible to decay; to be malleable; useful and plentiful. God has such an awesome future in store for each of us, and for all of mankind. May we ever be mindful of the promise He gives for eternal life as His family!
I wish you a wonderful Sabbath,
4 September, 2020