Science in the Bible: Photosynthesis

English: A field in Hulah Valley, Israel עברית...

A field in Hulah Valley, Israel עברית: שדה בעמק החולה, ישראל.

And of Joseph he said, Blessed of the LORD be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that coucheth beneath,
And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon,  Deuteronomy 31:13,14

On the day he died, Moses, the man who collected and recorded the words of Genesis, gave one last speech.  He closed out his reminders and warnings with a list of special blessings for each of the tribes of Israel.  He spent extra time on Joseph’s blessing because he had been given the double portion by Jacob himself.  I’ve already written on a lot of the other parts of the blessing which goes on for several more verses, but today I want to talk about the fruits and things brought forth by the sun and put forth by the moon.

I’m guessing you already know the basics of how plants take sunlight and make sugars out of it.  If you want a short refresher, Real Trees 4 Kids has a quick page on this.  One of the things that you might not realize is how much we still have to learn about exactly what plants are doing to make these changes.  I found a yet to be published technical article with words too big for Spell Check, that says they’ve just figured out one of the little pieces of the Chlorophyll puzzle.  So this is still a very active area of scientific research.

There are a number of Scripture verses that talk about the importance of rain to help the crops grow, but our verse today is focused on the light and darkness.

Complete spectrum of electromagnetic radiation...Starlight covers a huge range of waves called the Electromagnetic Spectrum only a tiny bit of which is visible as light.  Most webpages just say that and move on, but I wanted to know just how tiny this amount is.  It does take a lot of math to solve for this percentage, but I found a physicist’s answer that’s not too eye-crossing, just mind-blowing!  Of all the waves sent out from the sun, 2.3% are in the visible range.  And then, if you had a person to represent every possible point of the range of wavelengths, you would need 10,000 people.  Of those people, only 35 would represent the visible spectrum!

Plagiomnium affine, Laminazellen, RostockFrom this tiny fraction of waves, plants take the red and blue bits to use as energy, leaving behind the green light to bounce back out to us. Looking at the spectrum chart, that seems odd to leave the middle out of the process. God knows what He’s doing and there must be some good reason for this!

harvest moon

OK, that tells us what the sun has to do with “precious fruits,” but what about the moon?  When we lived in Alaska we were very familiar with this.  Alaska is famous for its giant vegetables that love growing in the land of the midnight sun, but there are some veggies that are very hard to grow because the nights are too short.  Turns out a lot of plants need darkness, not just a warmer environment to grow well.  These darkness loving varieties are called Short Day plants.   If you’ve ever looked through a seed catalogue that sells to a large area like the whole USA, you will see this on some of their listings.

So what’s going on in the darkness?  Our verse today says that the moon “puts forth” plants somehow.  My mom grew up on a farm and she told us how you can hear the corn creak as it grows at night.  Looking around just now, I saw a number of amateur web answers saying that plants don’t really grow faster at night.  Well, don’t tell that to the scientists, because they’ve just found out a little more of what they call the “Evening Complex” that controls how certain plants grow in the darkness.

Plants that are sensitive to day-length, like Poinsettias, won’t flower properly if there isn’t enough darkness.  Or they will flower too early and not be edible, like Spinach.  God has been careful to prepare plants to fill every area on earth.  He has also been careful to prepare the sun to shine and the moon to glow for both us and the plants that give us food.  Turns out plants also convert the starches they make during the day into sugars at night.

There’s lot’s more about how plant respiration changes at night, but I’ll have to save them for later!

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.  II Corithians 9:8-11

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.  Matthew 5:44,45

See today’s Quotes HERE

For more on Photosynthesis:

Biology 4 Kids: Photosynthesis Part 1: The Sun and Light  

neoK12: Photosynthesis video links I’ve not watched these yet, but they look interesting

Academic Kids Photosynthesis: Discovery timeline of the main Scientific discoveries (about the same as Wikipedia, but with a nicer layout)

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3 thoughts on “Science in the Bible: Photosynthesis

  1. Pingback: Potpourri: The Other Water Cycle, Diatoms, and South America’s Islands in the Sky « creationscience4kids

  2. Pingback: Science in the Bible:Water of Life, Plants « creationscience4kids

  3. Pingback: Quotes: Photosynthesis « creationscience4kids

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