Sunday, January 27, 2019

Understanding the science of 3 Nephi 8

1 And now it came to pass that according to our record, and we know our record to be true, for behold, it was a just man who did keep the record—for he truly did many miracles in the name of Jesus; and there was not any man who could do a miracle in the name of Jesus save he were cleansed every whit from his iniquity—
2 And now it came to pass, if there was no mistake made by this man in the reckoning of our time, the thirty and third year had passed away;
3 And the people began to look with great earnestness for the sign which had been given by the prophet Samuel, the Lamanite, yea, for the time that there should be darkness for the space of three days over the face of the land.
4 And there began to be great doubtings and disputations among the people, notwithstanding so many signs had been given.

These things had been amply prophesied to come. The prophets had described them in great detail, and the people had 34 years to prepare.

5 And it came to pass in the thirty and fourth year, in the first month, on the fourth day of the month, there arose a great storm, such an one as never had been known in all the land.
6 And there was also a great and terrible tempest; and there was terrible thunder, insomuch that it did shake the whole earth as if it was about to divide asunder.
7 And there were exceedingly sharp lightnings, such as never had been known in all the land.
8 And the city of Zarahemla did take fire.
9 And the city of Moroni did sink into the depths of the sea, and the inhabitants thereof were drowned.
10 And the earth was carried up upon the city of Moronihah, that in the place of the city there became a great mountain.
11 And there was a great and terrible destruction in the land southward.
12 But behold, there was a more great and terrible destruction in the land northward; for behold, the whole face of the land was changed, because of the tempest and the whirlwinds, and the thunderings and the lightnings, and the exceedingly great quaking of the whole earth;
13 And the highways were broken up, and the level roads were spoiled, and many smooth places became rough.
14 And many great and notable cities were sunk, and many were burned, and many were shaken till the buildings thereof had fallen to the earth, and the inhabitants thereof were slain, and the places were left desolate.
15 And there were some cities which remained; but the damage thereof was exceedingly great, and there were many in them who were slain.
16 And there were some who were carried away in the whirlwind; and whither they went no man knoweth, save they know that they were carried away.
17 And thus the face of the whole earth became deformed, because of the tempests, and the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the quaking of the earth.
18 And behold, the rocks were rent in twain; they were broken up upon the face of the whole earth, insomuch that they were found in broken fragments, and in seams and in cracks, upon all the face of the land.
19 And it came to pass that when the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the storm, and the tempest, and the quakings of the earth did cease—for behold, they did last for about the space of three hours; and it was said by some that the time was greater; nevertheless, all these great and terrible things were done in about the space of three hours—and then behold, there was darkness upon the face of the land.
20 And it came to pass that there was thick darkness upon all the face of the land, insomuch that the inhabitants thereof who had not fallen could feel the vapor of darkness;
21 And there could be no light, because of the darkness, neither candles, neither torches; neither could there be fire kindled with their fine and exceedingly dry wood, so that there could not be any light at all;
22 And there was not any light seen, neither fire, nor glimmer, neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the stars, for so great were the mists of darkness which were upon the face of the land.
23 And it came to pass that it did last for the space of three days that there was no light seen; and there was great mourning and howling and weeping among all the people continually; yea, great were the groanings of the people, because of the darkness and the great destruction which had come upon them.

What happened here?

The reaction of the earth comprised three days. The first three hours were the most intense, followed by three days of darkness.

The first earth event consisted of wind, thunder, and shaking of the earth. It is likely that everyone there would have previously experienced hurricanes, tropical storms, and earthquakes. Yet, what happened at that time was worse than anything they had ever experienced.

Cities caught on fire from the lightning. The strikes were numerous enough that in 3 hours the cities were completely burned down.

The sea flowed inland without ceasing, completely covering cities on the coast.

Uprisings in earth were so significant and fast that it seemed that the cities that had been there were buried. In fact, they were destroyed by the incalculable force of a mountain rising out of the earth almost instantaneously (f = ma).

After three hours of lightning, earthquakes, and sustained extremely high winds, a darkness occurred that lasted 3 days. You couldn't see any light or ignite any fire in this darkness. After 3 days, it dissipated.

Science

Arthur C. Clarke said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I say this: "Any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from religion."

God's prophecies are our richest source of advanced science. Unfortunately, too many write off religion as mythical, and current science as the limits of what can be known. Both positions are wrong, and holding them holds us back.

Solar eruption

The 3 Nephi 8 event was not supernatural. It was a solar eruption.

A solar eruption is when the sun ejects energy and particles into space. It happens from time to time. 

Evidence for our sun's eruptions is well-known, but the science of solar eruptions has recently been advanced as freelance scientists have challenged the long-held dogma of a consistent solar system.

Here is a long list of videos you can watch all about it.

Here is the very very brief summary: Earth's rotation is a result of the sun's energy flowing to it. When solar eruptions occur, the energy jolt can cause the earth's crust, spinning at up to 1,000 mph, to slow down and/or stop. This, in turn, causes:
  • Massive floods as sea water continues turning in the direction of spin. This doesn't look like a huge wave, but rather a continuous flow of water that keeps rising.
  • Massive earthquakes as the deep earth keeps moving under the slowed/stopped crust. The tremendous energy involved can easily cause cities to almost instantaneously sink into the earth or rise into the sky. 
  • Massive ultra-hurricane winds as the atmosphere continues turning even as the crust does not.

In a solar eruption, different waves of ejecta hit the earth at different times. The first of these is the energy that causes the above events. The next is the physical material that comes from the sun. Notably, the electric charges that accompany these particles create a scenario where the air becomes superhydrated with water (more than 100% humidity) and dust. This has two effects: 1) you can't see your hand in front of your face, and 2) you can't light any fire.

With what you now know about solar eruptions, reread 3 Nephi 8. It is very interesting to note how each of the events are described.

The darkness is called "mists of darkness" and "vapors of darkness." That is exactly what it was!

The lightnings were "exceedingly sharp"--so numerous and intense that they started sufficient fires to burn entire cities to the ground in only 3 hours--the amount of time between the energy shockwave and the mists that made fire impossible.

The winds were so intense that they carried people away and were called "whirlwinds."

The whole face of the earth was deformed by the earthquakes. These earthquakes were supercharged due to the energy coming from the sun.

This will happen again

After the destruction described in 3 Nephi 8, the author notes:

11 And thus far were the scriptures fulfilled which had been spoken by the prophets.
12 And it was the more righteous part of the people who were saved, and it was they who received the prophets and stoned them not; and it was they who had not shed the blood of the saints, who were spared—
13 And they were spared and were not sunk and buried up in the earth; and they were not drowned in the depths of the sea; and they were not burned by fire, neither were they fallen upon and crushed to death; and they were not carried away in the whirlwind; neither were they overpowered by the vapor of smoke and of darkness.
14 And now, whoso readeth, let him understand; he that hath the scriptures, let him search them, and see and behold if all these deaths and destructions by fire, and by smoke, and by tempests, and by whirlwinds, and by the opening of the earth to receive them, and all these things are not unto the fulfilling of the prophecies of many of the holy prophets. (3 Nephi 10)
This is just as true in our day, and the survivors of the next round of calamities--which will be the worst this world has ever seen--will be able to say the same.

These events really happened. They happened due to a solar event. Things like this will happen again. They are plainly described in the prophecies in the scriptures. Each of these events seems like magic or miracles to the degree that we lack God's knowledge, but if we had God's knowledge, they would be perfectly scientific and perfectly predictable.

The clear predictions given and the science behind them--which was beyond human understanding until very recently--are strong evidences that God exists and that he knows everything from the beginning. When these things happen, you should grow in your belief that God knows everything.

God's prophecies do not have to be understood to be obeyed. His commandments are given so that everyone can benefit from his knowledge, even if they do not share it. 

Trust him, and obey him.