In the last article on weight an attempt was made to treat this law or principle of gravity from a more practical approach. In this article I would like to state some of its theoretical aspects that are of concern in the study of the universe about us. In that article the distinction between mass and weight was discussed, in this article I would like to set forth some of the facts about the operation of that force that gives rise to what we describe as weight. A force this is, for as was stated, it is not a characteristic of material but a phenomenon of the created universe that gives this quality to material.
The real nature of this force is not known to the scientists of today who would like to explain all things in as sort of so-called scientific explanation, the goal being able to control it at will after the basic “cause” is determined. The scientists have learned much about it so that they are able to computer the force to an exact degree. An example of this is the recent work in rocket propulsion. Rockets are developed so that just the right amount of force is exerted to lift the missile against the pull of gravity and take it to its predetermined point of return to the earth, or to escape this return and circle about the earth as a satellite. The nature or cause of the force is unknown to the scientists.
The discovery of what causes this force has been the object of scientific enquiry for many years. The goal being that of being freed of this force to hold us in our places, preventing our escape into space at will. If this force could only be negated, think of all the things that could be done that are now impossible to accomplish. This dream has even found expression in various fictional and fantastic accounts. Witness such things as the stories of supermen and machines that can travel and move about with a freedom impossible to man. “Magicians” have capitalized on the ever-present force of gravity by awing their audiences with tricks that seem to disregard its effects.
To those to whom all things are revealed and can see in the world about us the creative word of God the basis of this force is not a mystery to be sought after with diligence. It is very obviously a created characteristic of the created universe; without it the world about us in incomplete. That man will ever be able to control it at his will is impossible since its very essence is a force that God has given to the universe to regulate it and direct it according to His plan. In fact the only incidents of its being restrained is at the hand of God in the performance of some miracle.
The influence of the force of gravity is much in evidence when we study our solar system. In our solar system there is the sun in the center with nine planets revolving about it at various distances and velocities. This force of gravity is a force that tends to pull these huge bodies together. That is the nature of the force. This force of course is opposed by another that comes into play when a moving body travels in a circular path, called a centrifugal force. The bodies in our solar system were so created and so placed in relation to each other as to speed and space that the whole system is in a perfectly balanced state, these two forces being so constant that they are at all times balanced so that our whole system operates smoothly century after century. A study of the discovery of the various planets in the solar system reveals a good example of the operation of the force of gravity. Before the discovery of the last planet in our system it was noted by astrologist that the planets were not traveling in the orbits determined according to the known forces operating. Either the forces were miscalculated or there must be another planet forcing the planets to travel in the manner because of its influence on them. Two scientists assuming that there was another planet set about to figure its location on the basis of the known value of the force of gravity. These two men announced their results about the same time but unknown to each other. Astrologists using their computations looked for the unknown planet and in a short time as had been predicted discovered another planet.
A more down to earth example of this unending operation of this force is evident to those living on the oceans of the world. The tides of the oceans rise and fall with such regularity that they have become by-words for the inevitable certainty of the earth’s operation from day to day. This phenomenon is caused by the gravitational pull of the moon upon the earth. The solid ground of the earth is firm and does not yield to this force. The water being fluid yields to this force and is pulled toward the moon. As regularly as clockwork the water level of the oceans, changes each day as the moon passes by, the water rising and then receding as the moon moves further on in its circuit.
Of course there are many practical uses made of this force, running water being a good example. As water constantly flows to a lower level as the result of gravity’s force it is harnessed to give us energy to help us in our work. By the use of balances we make use of the unchanging character of this force to measure the things we need. This same force that has so many practical uses for us has some drawbacks also. Because of it we must exert an equal force to move objects about. In fact all our movements are restrained by this gravity. Unless we oppose it to a great enough degree we are unable to move ourselves or other objects. Especially today we can see its great force when we witness the attempts of scientists to break free from its grip in space travel. One marvels at the tremendous forces necessary for this.
What the results of man’s efforts to overcome this force will be is hard to predict. Whether he will be able to free himself from the force that holds him on the earth can be debated at great length. One thing in certain though, he will not do it by being able to dispel the force of gravity as long as the creation and the Creator stand.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 19 No. 2 March 1959