Ordinary things remind us of the goodness of God
What do Christmas, Stone Mountain granite, fingerprints of God and halos have in common?
During the Christmas season we see many halos attached to the heads of Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus and angels. This artistic habit began with Greek artist's depiction of their gods in the first century, A.D. This became a common feature of Christian art in medieval times.
So, why do these halos remind me of our Creator's fingerprints? The answer, believe it or not, is in Stone Mountain granite. In granite, possibly one of the most boring and definitely one of the most common rocks here in Rockdale County we see possibly one of the most intriguing confirmations of the Bible. That is because within the granite of Stone Mountain and within granite found on every continent is something called polonium halos. In contrast to artistic halos, however, these are real. Polonium halos are commonly seen under the microscope in the mineral biotite, a form of mica frequently found in granite. The reason this is intriguing is because according to the basic principles of evolution these halos should not be there.
So, what is a polonium halo is why is its appearance in granite significant? Uranium decays through a series of steps to lead. One of these intermediate decay steps is the isotope polonium-218. According to geologist, Dr. John Morris in his book, The Young Earth,"…when each particular radioactive atom decays, it gives off energy at a characteristic level. This energy burst damages the mineral matrix [in this case the mineral is biotite in granite] in which the atom rests, and the size of the damaged zone reflects the level of energy released." Each element in this decay process has an identifying sphere surrounding it. When observed under the microscope, this sphere is sliced and the circle that is produced looks like an archery target and is called a “radio halo.” Thus, scientists can identify polonium in granite under the microscope by its characteristic radio halo. What makes the existence of polonium-218 halos in granite significant is the fact that it has a very short half-life of only 3.05 minutes. Thus, this would mean that the granite containing polonium-218 must have formed quickly or perhaps instantaneously. Furthermore, sometimes these polonium isotopes are found without parents. That is, these poor orphans were captured in granite without the parent uranium. This has caused Dr. Robert Gentry to speculate that perhaps what is seen in granite is "primordial polonium," that is, the polonium was there in the beginning at the creation. Others have thought that perhaps it is there as a result of the catastrophic events that probably followed Noah's Flood. Still another explanation could be that after Adam sinned when God declared, "cursed is the earth for [Adam's] sake" (Genesis 3:17) that certain elements became unstable and began to decay. Regardless, the existence of polonium certainly fits very well with the creation model of how the earth was formed.
However, this presents some very real problems for evolutionists. Evolution is built on the framework of uniformitarianism which teaches that what is happening now is exactly what happened at every point from the beginning of time. According to this conventional model, granite is thought to have originated with hot, molten material called magma deep below the earth's surface. Then it cooled, crystallized and hardened over millions of years and what we see today is the result of years of erosion of material that covered the granite. Uniformitarians seem to have no explanation that would fit their model. Their reaction has been to trivialize the finding and call it a “tiny mystery.”
Creation geologists are just "scratching the surface," no pun intended, with their research at Stone Mountain. However, their efforts to find "hard evidence" (okay, this time the pun was intended) in these rocks for the creation model of the earth's origin have been productive. Polonium halos are not even the most compelling reasons to believe that this stone mountain could NOT have formed over millions of years. Geologist Carl Froede, for example, has made some fascinating observations regarding fractionation of melts that perhaps points to Stone Mountain's formation in the events associated with Noah's Flood.
Hebrews 1:10 says, "Thou, Lord in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth…" and we are just beginning to see evidence for this in nature. As someone once said, "Give science enough time and it will catch up with the Bible." Now, perhaps when we look at halos we can remind ourselves that God has placed his fingerprints in the form of halos in the most unlikely of all places--rocks.12/23/00
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Originally published in the Rockdale/Newton Citizen