The thing I love most about gravity is that it’s dependable. When toast pops out of my toaster, it doesn’t keep going till it hits the ceiling. When I turn on my faucet, water droplets don’t start floating listlessly through my kitchen. When I trip, I don’t go sailing off into the stratosphere like a balloon.
As a fundamental law of nature, gravity does what it does all day, every day. No exceptions.
This is a good thing. It’s hard to say exactly what would happen if gravity took a day off, but the best guesses all agree: It would be unpleasant.
For starters, our atmosphere would be sucked into the expansive vacuum of space. Everything not anchored to the earth’s surface would begin to float away, including our oceans, which would start boiling in the absence of atmospheric pressure. As if to add insult to injury, the molten layers of the earth would likely force their way to the surface, destroying our planet in an apocalyptic swirl of lava and death.
According to James Overduin, a physicist at Towson University in Maryland, without gravity, the universe would be “completely flat and featureless.”
Also, you would be dead, so there’s that.
The power of consistency
Shouldn’t that—I don’t know—worry us a little bit? If a few moments without gravity could be so disastrous, why don’t we have more contingency plans about what to do if gravity just … stops?
There wouldn’t be a point. We’re talking about gravity. It’s a constant. It’s a fundamental part of the universe, and it does the same thing, in the same way, every time. You can count on it.
Gravity is so predictable that physicists have developed and refined equations you can use to calculate its effects in a given situation. Here’s what the Einstein field equations look like:
Gµv=8πTµv = Rµv– ½ gµv R
For the people who understand them, these equations are powerful tools that allow them to examine the effects of gravity in nearly any scenario, anywhere in the universe.
Interpreting the universe
The same is true for a host of other physical laws—from electromagnetism to thermodynamics, the universe is consistent. Scientists take those consistencies and define them as laws and equations, which often lead to new technologies and scientific advances.
But there’s an important relationship to keep in mind: These equations are shaped by the universe, not the other way around.
In other words, gravity was doing its thing long before scientists started trying to define it. Textbook equations don’t pull objects back down to earth—gravity does. Altering those equations doesn’t alter reality; it just makes the equations wrong. They exist to help us understand how the world around us works—not to change it.
We interrupt this article …
I’d like to shift my focus for a moment and introduce you to a fictitious construct of my imagination. We’ll call him Bob.
Bob is about to have a very bad day.
You see, Bob works on the second story of a corporate office building, and he’s gotten it into his head that gravity isn’t quite the big deal everyone makes it out to be. Which is why, in spite of his coworkers’ frantic warnings, Bob is confidently striding toward the open window of a corner office.
“Bob!” shouts a concerned friend, “Have you lost your mind?!”
With one foot already on the sill, Bob turns around with a confident grin. “Don’t worry,” he assures the panicked crowd. “I don’t believe in gravity anymore!”
Two sets of laws
No one can stop Bob from ignoring gravity, but neither can Bob stop gravity from giving him an impressive collection of broken bones. Gravity isn’t a matter of opinion, and it doesn’t matter how you happen to feel about it—if you jump, you’re coming back down. There are no alternatives. Anyone insisting differently would have to be delusional.
So, why is it that every day, billions upon billions of people insist on believing something just as delusional—and even more dangerous?
You see, there’s more to what makes the universe tick than the laws of physics alone. The same God who established physical laws also established a set of spiritual laws that are just as real and just as important.
The problem is, it’s easy to see one set of laws as essential, and one set as … well, optional. No one can argue the importance of the strong nuclear force that keeps our atoms from falling to pieces, but it’s not as if the world would collapse if we ignore the instructions in the Bible, right?
Actually, that’s exactly what would happen. That’s exactly what is happening all around you. The spiritual world isn’t as tangible as the physical world—it can’t typically be touched, seen or heard—but the consequences that come from ignoring spiritual laws can be even more painful than the consequences of ignoring physical laws. Take that fact, multiply it by thousands of years of disobedience, and you’ll catch a glimpse of why our world is in the shape it is.
For millennia, the human race has approached the law of God the same way our dear friend Bob approached gravity—and the impact has left us reeling. There are a lot of reasons people have for disregarding God’s law, but none of those reasons mitigate the damage that comes from ignoring it.
Like gravity, the law of God is constant and unchanging. It does what it does all day, every day. No exceptions. And like the equations that scientists use to model gravity, the instructions God gives us in the Bible help us understand how to interact with the spiritual world around us. Changing or reinterpreting these instructions has no effect on the spiritual forces they describe—it just makes the instructions wrong.
Spiritual “starter equations”
That said, here are a few of the “spiritual equations” given to us by the Creator of the universe. This is by no means an exhaustive list—it’s just a good place to start.
1. You reap what you sow
A lot of people have phrased this principle in a lot of ways: “What goes around, comes around.” “You get out what you put in.” “Chickens come home to roost.” But no matter how you say it, the underlying message is still the same. Here’s how the apostle Paul put it:
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).
A lot of people picture God with His hand hovering over a big red button labeled “SMITE”—just waiting for us to mess up so He can rain down punishment from the great beyond. But the fact is, it’s rarely God who punishes us. Most of the time, we do that. The laws established by God are not arbitrary; they serve to protect us from decisions and actions that would otherwise lead to painful consequences for ourselves and others.
Understanding this principle is vital for understanding so many of God’s laws. Our Father in heaven wants us to sow seeds that ultimately result in happiness, not pain and sorrow. And we’re more likely to do that when we realize …
2. Results take time
Wise King Solomon once bemoaned that “because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). In others words, a lot of bad people do a lot of bad things, and instead of being incinerated by a divinely aimed bolt of lightning, these people seem to prosper.
But Solomon didn’t stop there. He looked at the bigger picture and continued, “Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him” (Ecclesiastes 8:12).
Acts of evil don’t always bring immediate punishment, and it’s rare that acts of good are instantly rewarded—but every act sows a seed, and the harvest is coming.
3. Sin does not subtract; it destroys
On that note, it’s easy to think of good actions and bad actions as deposits and withdrawals in a spiritual bank account—every good action increases our balance, while every bad action reduces it. But that’s not the way it works. Sin doesn’t simply “take away” from our bank account—it completely eliminates it.
Paul explained that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). No amount of righteousness can undo or balance out a sin, and a single sin can earn us an eternal death penalty that can only be paid for with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. (For more on this subject, be sure to read our free booklet The Last Enemy: What Really Happens After Death?)
Mostly good isn’t enough—with God’s help, we must strive to be all good, all the time.
4. Righteousness transforms us
The prophet Malachi describes God as a refiner’s fire, purging His people like gold and silver, removing their impurities and bringing them toward perfection (Malachi 3:2-3). Nothing about that process sounds pleasant or comfortable, but the end result makes it worth it.
Concerning “those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name,” God promises, “They shall be Mine … on the day that I make them My jewels. … Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him” (Malachi 3:16-18).
Isaiah—another prophet of God—painted a similar picture, one where “justice will dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah 32:16-17).
Righteousness—obedience to God—produces a change both in us and in the world around us. We explore the ultimate result of righteousness in our free booklet The Mystery of the Kingdom.
What will you do?
Those are just a handful of the spiritual equations God gives us in the Bible—but you don’t have to believe this article. You don’t even have to believe God—because the fact is, your beliefs have absolutely no impact on reality. The universe works the way God designed it to work, both physically and spiritually, and you can’t change that.
But because God loves us and wants the best for us, He’s given us the spiritual principles and equations we need to get the most out of this life—and the next.
If we’re smart, we won’t let that go to waste.
Learn more about God’s beneficial laws by downloading our free booklet God’s 10 Commandments: Still Relevant Today.