Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Song of the Dunes


“There is sufficient evidence in a tree, a pebble, a grain of sand, a fingerprint, to make us glorify God and thank Him.”[1] When I read this last week I thought, “Really? Is there evidence in a grain of sand?” So I did a little research. Not a lot of research. If you want that, you’re on the wrong blog. 

I found out a couple of interesting things. Various professionals don’t all agree on the definition of sand. What is silt, what is sand, what is gravel? There are various measurements.

I liked these practical descriptions. “... sand is anything big enough to feel between the fingers and smaller than a match head.”[2] And this one, “sand is anything small enough to be carried by the wind but big enough that it doesn't stay in the air...”[3] Let's leave the size and definition at that.

I also learned that most sand is quartz, while some is coral fragments or lava. There are dunes, beaches, and cool sand bars called tombolo. (That’s not a sandwich) The facts went on.

“Okay, fine,” I thought, “but this doesn’t make me feel a need to ‘glorify God and thank Him.’”


Then I read something that got my attention: “Sand also makes music.”[4]

In several parts of the world from California to China a phenomenon occurs known as “booming dunes” or “sounding sand.” Evidently Marco Polo reported this in the Gobi Desert in the 1200’s, saying the sands, "at times fill the air with the sounds of all kinds of musical instruments, and also of drums and the clash of arms."[5]

As wind blows on the dunes, the dry, topical sands are blown, sand moves en masse, and the result is sound. The keys of G, E, or F to be exact. It’s music!

Melanie Hunt of the California Institute of Technology says, The sound is remarkable because “it is composed of one dominant audible frequency (70 to 105 Hz) plus several higher harmonics.”[6] Her team compared this to the music of a cello.[7]

How does this inspire me to praise and thank God?

The Bible says “The wilderness and the desert will be glad, and the desert will rejoice … with rejoicing and shout of joy…”[8] The "weeping prophet" Jeremiah wrote, “They have made my pleasant field a desolate wilderness… Desolate, it mourns before me…”[9] Paul told the Romans, “... we know that the whole creation groans … until now.”[10] And Jesus Himself told his disciples it was possible, “... the stones will cry out.”[11] 

Wow.

If the dunes raise a song, then I should praise and thank Him.






[1] James Montgomery Boice The Sovereign God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, 1978) 31
[2] Andrew Alden, About Sand (Internet: http://geology.about.com/od/sediment_soil/a/aboutsand.htm )
[3] Ibid
[4] Ibid
[5] Michael Schirber, Singing Sand Dunes: The Mystery of Desert Music, (11 January 2005) (Internet: http://www.livescience.com/3788-singing-sand-dunes-mystery-desert-music.html )
[6] Melanie L Hunt, Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Vice Provost, California Institute of Technology  http://www.hunt.caltech.edu/
[8] Isaiah 35:1-2 New American Standard Bible
[9] Jeremiah 12:10-11 New American Standard Bible
[10] Romans 8:22 New American Standard Bible
[11] Luke 19:39 New American Standard Bible

Quotes of Note ... The Invisible World

“Spiritual warfare is learning to recognize the strategies, refusing to cooperate with them, and aggressively cutting off the schemes of the devil in Jesus’ name.” Dean Sherman

“those who protest that God cannot exist because there is too much evil evident in life… Evil exists; therefore, the Creator does not. That is categorically stated… If evil exists, one must assume that good exists in order to know the difference. If good exists, one must assume that a moral law exists by which to measure good and evil. But if a moral law exists, must not one posit an ultimate source of moral law, or at least an objective basis for a moral law? By an objective basis, I mean something that is transcendingly true at all times, regardless of whether I believed it or not.” Ravi Zacharias

“But the Devil is no big threat to God’s purposes; he is not even remotely comparable in power. He has been given a limited time before his final judgment to try to prove his case, just as all other moral beings who have chosen to live in rebellion against heaven.” W.A. Pratney

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I've served as a life-long missionary in Samoa, the Pacific region, India, and now in Pennsylvania. The Christian faith is reasonable and works in real life. It is true to the facts. Hope you enjoy some of the thoughts. I appreciate feedback.

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