Today’s Illustration: And Then It’s Not

What: Water & Ice

When: Ice at 32-33 degrees Fahrenheit / 3-4 degrees celsius

The Physics: 

  • A substance floats because it is lighter  — less dense / less mass per unit of volume — than the substance it is in — i.e. rocks sink in water because the rocks push the water out of the way or “displace it.” [1]
  • Cold water is denser than hot water.
  • As water cools, it moves lower. Cold water drops below hotter water.
  • The coldest water is at the bottom of a body of water — UNTIL . . . .
  • Until the temperature of the water falls below 32 degrees F or 4 degrees C.  It then turns into a solid we call ice.
  • Water below 32F or 4 C becomes less dense as it turns to ice because it is about 9% less dense than water and floats.
  • “One consequence of this is that lakes and rivers freeze from top to bottom, allowing fish to survive even when the surface of a lake has frozen over.
    If ice sank, the water would be displaced to the top and exposed to colder temperature, forcing rivers and lakes to fill with ice and freeze solid.” [1]
  • “The ice we blend into our frozen drinks is a complicated compound, riddled with strange molecular inconsistencies scientists still struggle to understand.” [2]
  • Physics calls the change from linear to a total reversal – non-monotonic.


Key Illustrative Thoughts:

  • judgement
  • The Great Tribulation
  • patience
  • reversals
  • God’s laws
  • natural law
  • chastening
  • often reproved . . . without remedy
  • hardening / hard hearts
  • ears to hear
  • repentance
  • confession
  • King Manasseh
  • the resurrection
  • death
  • salvation


Sermonic Example:

(use whatever information from above you find useful)

We may remember from our high school classes that when gases or liquids get colder, they become denser and denser; they are heavier, and they sink. Cold air or cold water drops. You may have opened a freezer door and seen the cold air-fog flow out and drop towards the floor.

Lake or pool water is colder the deeper you go because it is heavier and displaces the water that is on the bottom. There is a perfectly linear relationship when it comes to water. The colder the water, the heavier it is and the lower it drops to the bottom of the lake, pool, or glass of ice tea.

Cold water sinks — until it doesn’t!

When water reaches below 3-4 degrees C or below 32-33 degrees F, something strange happens! Everything reverses! It does not sink; it begins to float!

That is a unique law that the Lord built into this world, or else every body of “freshwater” would freeze from the bottom up.

If that were not the case, almost all life in those bodies of freshwater would die, frozen in a block of ice — and that happens in some cases with a shallow body of water. Instead of freezing from the bottom up, the operating law suddenly reverses, and the ice forms on the surface.

Up to a point, the colder water moves to the bottom — you could graph that relationship. There is a clear linear relationship between its temperature and its density — and its location in a body of water — until the linear relationship is broken — and in fact — it reverses! The operating law built into H2O suddenly reverses! It now becomes a lighter solid and floats.

The laws built into H2O change, and what you expected no longer happens, but not only no longer happens, but totally reverses, and that water forms a solid and moves to the top.

There are other laws, spiritual laws, that operate like water.  The law follows a clear linear path, and you would expect it to operate that way until it doesn’t!  Suddenly, the law reverses!  One example is the law of God’s patience — until the Flood, Israel’s rebellion, and one day, the Great Tribulation . . . .



Other Information & Links: 






“Water is the most important liquid on Earth.  It’s is also one of the most mysterious and counterintuitive compounds in nature. One of water’s lesser-known properties, for example, is that hot water freezes faster than cold water. It is not fully understood why, but the phenomenon, known as the Mpemba effect, was originally discovered by Aristotle over 3,000 years ago. The mysterious effect has been attributed to a range of phenomena, but it remains a mystery.” [3] [4]


“Though the solid form of almost every substance is denser than its liquid form, due to the fact that atoms in solids normally pack tightly together, this does not hold true for H2O. When water freezes, its volume increases by about 8 percent. This is the strange behavior that allows ice cubes, and even gargantuan icebergs, to float.” [4]


“Without this non-linear, non-monotonic property of water, life as we know it would hardly exist.

Every Ice Age would be every bit as much an extinction event as a giant meteor of death. Every lake or pond above or below a certain latitude would be as lifeless as the moon.

It’s a miracle of life that liquid water—the foundation of life on our planet—gets lighter instead of heavier right before it changes state into solid ice.

There’s no reason why this non-linear property of water should exist.

And yet it does.

If you were predicting the behavior of water from a theory of thermodynamics, there is no way you would predict 3-degrees cold water would be lighter than 4-degrees cold water.

And yet it is.” [5]


The solid form is less dense than the liquid form when it comes to Gallium, Bismuth, Antimony, Germanium, Silicon, Acetic Acid, and water.

One thought on “Today’s Illustration: And Then It’s Not

  1. It’s beyond comprehension Ted. In the fall of the year here the lakes “turn over” before it freezes. A period where it sort of churns the water bottom to top, and fishermen know that the fish are everywhere and nowhere…just spread out from top to bottom all over the place. Then it freezes and the warm water is at the bottom until the spring thaws and water runs into the lake from the edges. Once again the lake churns and melts the ice from the bottom up as it gets warmer while melting on top (this is the dangerous part for ice fishermen). Scientists play the “Name Game” saying they know all about it by naming it…like “instinct” everybody knows what that is but actually nobody can come up with “how” it happens, only “what” happens.


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