In a letter to God a youngster wrote, “Dear God, ‘In school they told us Thomas Edison invented light, but I know you did. I bet he stole the idea from you.’” In a recent visit to The Science Place with my wife and three of my grandchildren I had the truth in this child’s reasoning made more literal than comical. We visited the Electric Theater in which we received an interesting illustrated lecture on some of the common benefits of electricity we enjoy every day.
Nicola Tesla was a brilliant Croatian inventor who emigrated to the U.S. in 1884 to work with Thomas Edison. He was brilliant but plain-spoken and criticized some of Edison’s work. The result was that he was fired, but finally was backed to start his own laboratory in Colorado. His work led to improved dynamos, transformers, and a high frequency coil which, in turn, led to radar, the fluorescent tube, neon lights, and many other fantastic things we take for granted every day. Tesla never received much credit for his work because of his feud with Edison and he died in near poverty.
All of the “inventions” of Tesla, Edison, Galileo, Newton and others were discovered by hundreds of trials, most of which resulted in negative results, before they found the principles for which they are known. Static electricity had been here since the beginning. The phenomena which led to neon lights, radios, microwave ovens, transformers, and every other awesome benefit we have today was in existence in the day of Adam and Eve awaiting discovery. No wonder the Psalmist said, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” Psalms 19:1.
The book of Job is supposed to be the most ancient book in the Bible, written before Genesis was written. Certainly, Job lived in the Patriarchal Age. In the book, God asked Job many, many questions about commonly seen natural phenomena. Most of these questions await answers even today. We have found a few answers, and this emboldens us to act as if we had created rather than discovered. The questions God asked are valid today: “Who is this that darkeneth counsel without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?” Job 38:2-3. Elsewhere in the book the question is asked, “If it be not He, who is it?” That question cannot be answered by the atheist. I learned this in the Science Place.”