Saturday, August 25, 2012

Chrysolite in the Bible

Olivine gemstones from Zabargad mines were often mixed in ancient times with emeralds or topaz. The real thing was called chrysolite (Greek for gold and stone). This is one of the twelve stones in the Priestly breastplate (Pit'dah (in the masoretic text) / Topazios Exodus 28:15-19)

Chyrsolite appears in the description of the glory of city wall of new Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation 21:19-20.

Chrysolite gem is used in Catholic Bishop's ring as a symbol of purity.

Green man in Daniel 10:6?
On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank(F) of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen,(I) with a belt of fine gold(J) from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches,his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.

I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.
Daniel 10:4-9 NIS
Powerful vision but does the Book of Daniel indeed suggest that His body was chrysolite greenish? That would definitely be the first mentioning of the famous green man of UFO stories (although not so small).

Masoretic text does not have the word Pit'dah for topaz/chrysolite but rather Tarsis  וגויתו כתרשׁישׁ
Also the ancient Greek translation LXX has Tharsis καὶ τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ ὡσεὶ θαρσις
Vulgata translates et corpus eius quasi chrysolitus

What is Tarsis? 21st Century King James Version translates it as beryl instead of the topaz/chrysolite in NIS. Also the original KJV has beryl.
That jewel names in Hebrew and Aramaic are difficult to interpret is shown by the Luther Bibel which has bluish tone! Sein Leib war wie Türkis (turquoise)

Rather than a truly out-of-this-world body color of green the tone intended by the word Tarsis might be yellowish or golden in the sense of yellow chrysolite?


Forsterite (peridotite, chrysolite)
Zabargad was mined in Pharaonic times for greenish-yellowish olivine which was used as a gemstone.

Olivine is one of the most common elements on terrestrial planets and has been found in meteorites as well as in Moon and Mars explorations. However, as olivine reacts strongly with oxygen it is not found in the crust of Earth but only deeper on in the mantle.

Olivine group consists of magnesium-iron silicate. The more magnesium, the greener the color (forsterite Mg2SiO4) and the more iron, the more yellowish the color of the mineral is (fayalite Fe2SiO4).
The island comprises three massives of peridotite, which are rich in the gemstone peridote (olivine). This gem makes the island notable as it is believed to be the first discovered source of peridot, which was called topazios in ancient times, hence the Greek name for the island, Topazios.

Layers of spinel-lherzolites with anhydrous Al-diopside pyroxenites and hydrous Cr-diopside pyroxenites can be found too on the island. The presence of all of these minerals has led to mining on the island which dates back as early as ancient times.
Rich deposits of olivine are commercially mined in the Western coast of Norway where mantle rocks are reached in mine south of Ålesund (Sibelco Nordic). The mineral could be very promising in fighting global warming as olivine is relatively inexpensive and reacts strongly with CO2 (Peter Koehler). However, it is currently not in such use and can be therefore be called one of the most underrated minerals of mother Earth.

Zabargad (St. John's Island) and olivine

St. John's Island off the Egyptian Red Sea coast
Zabargad is an island near Ras Banas that protrudes from the Egyptian coast of the Red Sea just south of the tip of Sinai peninsula. It has practically no soil and thus no place for plants to grow. It is today best known as a tourist resource reached from Rocky Island and a place for diving among in the beautiful coral world.
St. John's Island (also known as Zabargad, Zebirget, Topazios) is the largest of a group of islands in Foul Bay, Red Sea in Southern Egypt. It covers an area of 4.50 square kilometres (approx.).

It is not a quaternary volcanic island, but rather is believed to be an upthrusted part of upper mantle material. The nearest island is Rocky Island. The island is slightly north of the Tropic of Cancer, and its highest point is 235 metres.

The island is considered geologically unique as it is uplifted mantle, a fragment of the sub-Red Sea lithosphere. Rocks on the island are mainly lower crustal metamorphic rocks. The island became present above sea level after African and Asiatic continental plates converged to cause rocks in the lower crust to be uplifted.
Zabargad is thus a rare spot where the thin "skin" of planet Earth's surface, the crust, has been wounded by massive tectonic plate upheavals and a little of the underlying "flesh", upper mantle, has become visible.

Today geologists do know about many other locations where the mantle is exposed. By far the largest area is under the Atlantic Ocean where more than thousand square kilometres of the mantle is exposed. This area is so deep over 3 km under water that its exploration is very difficult and expensive. In the New World there is a large region in eastern Canada, the Tableu at Newfoundland. Mantle rocks are at the reach of humans also in several other places.

Atheistic materialistic evolutionism

The same simple schematic representation used in my previous post to describe religious and/or idealistic world view can be modified to show atheistic and/or materialistic world view.

The key point in this representation is that God is moved from heaven into matter by giving matter divine properties.

Atheistic materialistic evolutionism is one human philosophy affecting interpretations of scientific research. In this philosophy the existence of God is explicitly denied. What is left then is the real world of matter and energy, materialism, that in some wondrous ways goes on to produce the entire Cosmos, Universe or Multiverse, as well as complex life in it, us included.

Great efforts are made to explain natural phenomena and the birth and evolution of everything in a God exclusion zone where no supernatural beings or intelligence is assumed. The Big Questions of why anything exists or why there is evolution in the first place are left without answer.

Because this is how science, such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology or Mathematics work - trying to figure out things logically, experimentally, with critical evaluation of evidence, testing of theories... some people associate Atheism with Science. 

The difference is, however, that Science usually does not require and does not make far reaching Philosophical and Theological statements concerning the subject under study. It is highly focused and defines very clearly what is under research and what questions are under consideration as well as what methods and techniques are used to find answers to these questions.

However, an Atheist as well as a Christian, Jewish, Moslem or Buddhist believer, may suggest such broad Philosophical and Theological statements to explain the origins and evolution of the Universe or of Life.

Atheistic materialism, the projection of God and His divine attributes into matter and energy, has no greater claim for Scientific legitimacy than other world views held by individual scientists.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

You, Cosmos and God

This is a simple but quite effective logical analyser for our view of the world. I am indebted to emeritus professor Tuomo Mannermaa for this figure that breaks through most philosophical and religious systems illuminating their fundamental structure.

Shema Yisrael, the Jewish prayer and confession of faith, is taken from Deuteronomy 6:4. It is very short and very deep, indeed.

 שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָה אֶחָד
Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one

The oneness of God is such an important concept in Jewish theology and piety that any teaching that threatens to break it is rejected outright.

With the oneness of God comes the oneness of everything for there is nothing beyond God. In the physical world we can take an example of the oneness of the cosmos as expressed in the Big Bang theory - everything originates and is thus part in that point of origins. (New ideas about multiverse of course challenge the view of a single universe with single point of origins).

We tend to see the space as something distant and far away, something that is not one but myriads of spatial objects and forces, particles and beams. However, modern Astronomy has brought this all together. Today we know that while we are indeed made of dust as the Bible tells us but also that the earthly dust is produced in heavenly factories that make it with super-massive blasts that can be seen across the universe. We are made, as Carl Sagan said it, of star dust and thus part of the oneness of the Cosmos.

The oneness can be expressed also in religious terms within the Judeo-Christian tradition (also followed in Islam).
If ... then
If you understand through faith that God has created you 
So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27

Then you understand through faith that God has created absolutely everything but is not Himself created
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

If you believe that God knows you personally by the name that has been given to you in the covenant - even though you are one of seven billion humans living today on planet Earth
But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine."
Isaiah 43:1

Then you understand through faith that God calls every star in the Cosmos by name
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Psalm 147:4

If you trust in our Heavenly Father who according to His Son has counted every single hair on your head
And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Matthew 10:30

Then you understand through faith that not a single particle or string moves in the Cosmos without God knowing it
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.
Matthew 10:29

So your personal faith reflected in you daily prayers and actions in life in this world is one with the Cosmos. There is great oneness as expressed, for example, the fusion of two hydrogen atoms into a single helium atom in the core of the Sun. This has a number of consequences to us living upon planet Earth, doesn't it!

We have a habit of calling it "our Sun" but it is, in fact, as the Son of God says, His Sun setting for us quite an ethical and moral challenge:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."
Jesus of Nazareth
Matthew 5:43-48
Quoted Bible verses are from the New International Version NIV

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Curiosity landing

Thrusters fired from MSL entry capsule

The prayers of all of us are with NASA for the success of the risky landing of Curiosity which is attempted by using a new crane technique for the unusually massive probe.