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Gems and Precious Stones

On the gems, minerals, and precious stones mentioned in the Bible.

From the book of Genesis all the way to Revelation, the Bible makes many mentions of beautiful and valuable rocks. For example, in Genesis 2:12 we read about onyx stones. And, in Exodus 39 (see also chapter 28), the high priest was decorated with several precious and semiprecious stones, including (but not limited) to diamond, ruby, sapphire, emerald, and amethyst. Some other notable mentions of precious and semiprecious stones are found in Job, Ezekiel, and the aforementioned book of Revelation (e.g., Job 28:19; Ezekiel 28:13; Revelation 21:19-20).

Clearly, the Creator God of the Bible appreciates beauty and these stunning stones come in an array of…sizes, colours, and formations.[1] And with modern technology scientists have finally been able to go behind the scenes (and, thus, into the mind of God a little bit)[2] and identify and unlock the physical properties and the chemical compositions of rocks. Christian scientists Michael Oard and Robert Carter in their book Biblical Geology 101 have done just that.

“And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there.”

Genesis 2:12

As they explain, “With only a few exceptions such as coal, rocks are composed of minerals, and any given rock type can have one or, more likely, various combinations of minerals. Minerals are made up of atoms that are arranged in a repeating order. This order is incredibly important. For example, even though coal and diamonds are made up of nearly pure carbon, the precise arrangement of the carbon atoms in a diamond makes them hard, clear, and quite beautiful. Diamond is very different from coal, but the only real difference is the order of atoms within. Each mineral has its own chemical composition and its own distinctive physical properties. These are often used to identify the rock…A few rock types are composed of a single, fairly pure mineral. We call these crystals…Some crystals are common, like quartz. It is made of one part silicon and two parts oxygen, so we call it silicon dioxide (SiO2). It is so common that ground-up silicon dioxide is simply called sand…Pure quartz is nearly transparent…but quartz crystals can also have beautiful colours if they contain specific impurities. Amethyst is a purple to reddish purple quartz that contains traces of iron or one of the other iron-like ‘transition’ metals…Rose Quartz is pinkish in color and contains traces of titanium, manganese, or iron…Smoky quartz does not have a contaminating element, but natural radiation has broken off silicon atoms within the crystal structure. Breaking up the crystal lattice makes it more difficult for light to travel straight through and the crystal picks up a ‘smoky’ characteristic…Other crystals are rare and beautiful, making them valuable. These include diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds…These crystals are called gems.” [3] So, to summarize, “rocks are made of minerals, and minerals are made of one or more elements from the periodic table…We also know that all gems are minerals, but not all minerals are gems.”[4]

I don’t know about you but personally these discoveries cause me to take a step back and to echo the words of Job when he said, “But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?” (Job 12:7-10)

Ryan Hembree is a daily co-host, speaker, and writer of Bible Discovery. He also hosts a YouTube channel that shows the unity of the Bible and how science and Scripture fit together. Ryan also has an honorary Masters of Ministry in Creation Science from Phoenix University of Theology.

[1] Michael J. Oard & Robert W. Carter, Biblical Geology 101, P.41.
[2] Indeed, the famous 16th century Christian scientist Johannes Kepler considered scientific exploration to be “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” (See, Henry Morris, Men of Science, Men of God, P.12.)
[3] Michael J. Oard & Robert W. Carter, Biblical Geology 101, P.41-43.
[4] Michael J. Oard & Robert W. Carter, Biblical Geology 101, P.43.

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