Remember a while back in a previous Science and Spirituality Article and Video we talked about a Nickelate Superconductor which was touted as a new high temperature superconductor material researchers were studying?  The idea is this newly discovered type of superconductor was manufactured from a special class of nickelates which can conduct electric current without any resistance, even at higher temperatures. A recent publication  reports superconducting nickelates appear to be very difficult to synthesize, the reason being, other research groups were unable to reproduce what was reported was possible. The reason for the loss of superconductivity was the presence of hydrogen atoms incorporated in the crystal lattice of the material changed the electrical behavior of the material. Researchers used Density Functional Theory (DFT) to study the materials synthesis route. The synthesis route for the nickelate superconductor involved manufacturing a perovskite material (ABO3) where the literature  reports that the surface layers must be reduced in order to create a region in the material that will function as the superconductor. In this work,  researchers used CaH2 (calcium hydride) as a reducing agent that resulted in the structures ABO2 and ABO2H. The paper reports using DFT to study the binding energy of Hydrogen and learned the intercalating hydrogen to be energetically favorable for the formation of LaNiO2 phase, and not the Sr-dopped NdNiO2 phase that was necessary for superconductivity. The paper reports these new phases have significant consequences on the electronic structure of the material (due to the presence of adsorbed hydrogen), that affect the superconductivity, and explains why other research groups were having trouble verifying the results from reference .
- Danfeng Li et al, Superconductivity in an infinite-layer nickelate, Nature volume 572, pages 624–627 (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41586-019-1496-5 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1496-5)
- Liang Si et al, Topotactic Hydrogen in Nickelate Superconductors and Akin Infinite-Layer Oxides ABO2, Physical Review Letters (2020). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.124.166402 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.124.166402)
The apparent difficulty was in the synthesis route, when preparing the nickelates, hydrogen atoms can diffuse into the material changing the electronic properties of the material. The solution was during the reduction process, allowing the hydrogen produced to escape immediately so there was no time for the surface reaction to occur. These insights were achieved by using computational chemistry methods to understand and predict the properties of these nickelates. The researchers said, “But by combining different methods, we are now even able to estimate the critical temperature up to which the various materials are superconducting. Such reliable calculations have not been possible before.” In addition to this, the research team was also able to predict the allowable range of strontium concentration in the perovskite for which nickelates are superconducting. This prediction was confirmed by experiment. Research work is continuing on these new nickelate superconductors with the help of computational chemistry, and revealed the issues with the synthesis route and the incorporation of hydrogen, the effect being the loss of the electronic properties that are necessary for superconductivity!
The Spiritual insight that we receive from this type of research is related to the incorporation of hydrogen that changes the electronic properties of the material. This parallels the effects of sin in our lives. In addition, the idea of having a personal idol, per what Ezekiel states, may be analogous to the presence of hydrogen changing the desired phase of the material. When we live in sin, or have a hidden idol in the sense of something that we do not realize, these things change our properties by way of our not living to our full potential, we are being held back from what the Lord wants in our lives, and bringing glory to His Name! Ask the Lord to reveal the hidden sins such that we are able to repent of them! Ezekiel states the following:
וַיָּב֤וֹא אֵלַי֙ אֲנָשִׁ֔ים מִזִּקְנֵ֖י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיֵּשְׁב֖וּ לְפָנָֽי׃ (פ) 14:1 Certain elders of Israel came to me and sat down before me. וַיְהִ֥י דְבַר־יְהוָ֖ה אֵלַ֥י לֵאמֹֽר׃ 14:2 And the word of the LORD came to me: בֶּן־אָדָ֗ם הָאֲנָשִׁ֤ים הָאֵ֙לֶּה֙ הֶעֱל֤וּ גִלּֽוּלֵיהֶם֙ עַל־לִבָּ֔ם וּמִכְשׁ֣וֹל עֲוֺנָ֔ם נָתְנ֖וּ נֹ֣כַח פְּנֵיהֶ֑ם הַאִדָּרֹ֥שׁ אִדָּרֵ֖שׁ לָהֶֽם׃ (ס) 14:3 O mortal, these men have turned their thoughts upon their fetishes and set their minds upon the sin through which they stumbled: Shall I respond to their inquiry? לָכֵ֣ן דַּבֵּר־א֠וֹתָם וְאָמַרְתָּ֨ אֲלֵיהֶ֜ם כֹּה־אָמַ֣ר ׀ אֲדֹנָ֣י יְהוִ֗ה אִ֣ישׁ אִ֣ישׁ מִבֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֡ל אֲשֶׁר֩ יַעֲלֶ֨ה אֶת־גִּלּוּלָ֜יו אֶל־לִבּ֗וֹ וּמִכְשׁ֤וֹל עֲוֺנוֹ֙ יָשִׂים֙ נֹ֣כַח פָּנָ֔יו וּבָ֖א אֶל־הַנָּבִ֑יא אֲנִ֣י יְהוָ֗ה נַעֲנֵ֧יתִי ל֦וֹ בה [בָ֖א] בְּרֹ֥ב גִּלּוּלָֽיו׃ 14:4 Now speak to them and tell them: Thus said the Lord GOD: If anyone of the House of Israel turns his thoughts upon his fetishes and sets his mind upon the sin through which he stumbled, and yet comes to the prophet, I the LORD will respond to him as he comes with his multitude of fetishes. לְמַ֛עַן תְּפֹ֥שׂ אֶת־בֵּֽית־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל בְּלִבָּ֑ם אֲשֶׁ֤ר נָזֹ֙רוּ֙ מֵֽעָלַ֔י בְּגִלּֽוּלֵיהֶ֖ם כֻּלָּֽם׃ (ס) 14:5 Thus I will hold the House of Israel to account for their thoughts, because they have all been estranged from Me through their fetishes. לָכֵ֞ן אֱמֹ֣ר ׀ אֶל־בֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ אֲדֹנָ֣י יְהוִ֔ה שׁ֣וּבוּ וְהָשִׁ֔יבוּ מֵעַ֖ל גִּלּֽוּלֵיכֶ֑ם וּמֵעַ֥ל כָּל־תּוֹעֲבֹתֵיכֶ֖ם הָשִׁ֥יבוּ פְנֵיכֶֽם׃ 14:6 Now say to the House of Israel: Thus said the Lord GOD: Repent, and turn back from your fetishes and turn your minds away from all your abominations. כִּי֩ אִ֨ישׁ אִ֜ישׁ מִבֵּ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וּמֵהַגֵּר֮ אֲשֶׁר־יָג֣וּר בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל֒ וְיִנָּזֵ֣ר מֵֽאַחֲרַ֗י וְיַ֤עַל גִּלּוּלָיו֙ אֶל־לִבּ֔וֹ וּמִכְשׁ֣וֹל עֲוֺנ֔וֹ יָשִׂ֖ים נֹ֣כַח פָּנָ֑יו וּבָ֤א אֶל־הַנָּבִיא֙ לִדְרָשׁ־ל֣וֹ בִ֔י אֲנִ֣י יְהוָ֔ה נַֽעֲנֶה־לּ֖וֹ בִּֽי׃ 14:7 For if any man of the House of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, breaks away from Me and turns his thoughts upon his fetishes and sets his mind upon the sins through which he stumbled, and then goes to the prophet to inquire of Me through him, I the LORD will respond to him directly. וְנָתַתִּ֨י פָנַ֜י בָּאִ֣ישׁ הַה֗וּא וַהֲשִֽׂמֹתִ֙יהוּ֙ לְא֣וֹת וְלִמְשָׁלִ֔ים וְהִכְרַתִּ֖יו מִתּ֣וֹךְ עַמִּ֑י וִֽידַעְתֶּ֖ם כִּֽי־אֲנִ֥י יְהוָֽה׃ (ס) 14:8 I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a byword, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. (Sefaria)
Notice how this translation on what the prophet Ezekiel states draws out an interesting point. Ezekiel speaks of the man (from the house of Israel or a stranger) who turns his thoughts onto his fetishes and sets his mind upon the sin by which he stumbles; if he turns to the prophet of the Lord, God will only respond by the multitude of his sins. This draws out an interesting parallel to the prophet, king, and priest, Yeshua the Messiah! If we turn our hearts and minds to our sins, would a similar situation occur if we are seeking to hear from the Lord? Ezekiel says, the purpose is to lay hold of the hearts and minds of men. Ezekiel states, “Thus I will hold the House of Israel to account for their thoughts, because they have all been estranged from Me through their fetishes.” The Lord God is concerned with our thought life! This is analogous to the adsorbed hydrogen as a contaminate creating a new phase in the material preventing the superconductivity. Consider the severity of this based upon what the rabbis discuss in the Talmud Bavli Kiddushin 40a
Talmud Bavli Kiddushin 40a:14
ואלא הא דכתיב (יחזקאל יד, ה) למען תפוש את [בית] ישראל בלבם אמר רב אחא בר יעקב ההוא בעבודת כוכבים הוא דכתיב דאמר מר חמורה עבודת כוכבים שכל הכופר בה כמודה בכל התורה כולה
The Gemara asks: But with regard to that which is written: “So I may take the house of Israel in their own heart” (Ezekiel 14:5), which indicates that one can be punished for thoughts alone, to what is this verse referring? Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov said: That is written with regard to idol worship, as the Master says: Idol worship is very severe, as anyone who denies it is like one who admits the truth of the entire Torah. Conversely, one who embraces idolatry is considered to have rejected the entire Torah. Due to the severity of idol worship, one is punished even for contemplating this transgression.
The Talmud is discussing these passages from Ezekiel and the rabbis say, “Idol worship is very severe, as anyone who denies it is like one who admits the truth of the entire Torah.” In regards to seeking to hear from the Lord, John 9:31 states, “We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will.” It has also been said that “the only prayer that God hears from a sinner is the prayer for salvation.” As a result of these statements, some believe that God does not hear and/or will never answer the prayers of an unbeliever. In addition, 1 John 5:14-15 states that God answers our prayers based upon whether we are asking according to His will. This principle places some context on John 9:31 in the sense that the prayer of the unbeliever is made in repentance, the Lord will hear and answer. Jeremiah 29:13 states, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” This was the case for Cornelius according to Acts 10:1-6. Pertaining to the scientific research, the atomic hydrogen contaminant, the new material phases that are produced, and the resulting failure to achieve superconductivity, the idea of setting our hearts upon our sins or fetishes, are the definition of idolatry, our hearts and lives being given to such. These things remind us of the second commandment from the Ten Commandments which states, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” The Second Commandment spans four verses in the Torah from Shemot / Exodus 20:3-6, which actually contain four separate prohibitions against various aspects of idolatry. The first part, lo yiyeh-lekha Elohim acheirim (לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים), which is rendered, “There shall not be to you the gods of others,” which follows from the First Commandment that we must attribute all power to the one true God alone. The phrase “Elohim acheirim” (אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים) should not be understood to suggest that there actually exists other gods in this world other than the God of Israel. This is a reference to the (so-called) gods of the nations or to the idols that one sets up on his heart. The God of Israel is eternal, omniscient, and omnipresent, This may be derived from the expression עַל-פָּנָי (‘al-panai, literally translated as “before My face”) which means forever and in every place. Idolatry of any kind applies at all times and to all generations regardless of the tribe, nation, or people! The next verse in Shemot / Exodus 20:4 states that we are not to make idols, לֹא-תַעֲשֶֹה לְךָ פֶסֶל (Lo ta’seh-lekha fesel, meaning “You shall not make for yourself a carved image.”). Here the Hebrew word פֶסֶל is translated as “molten image” or “carved image” and references something that is manufactured and set up to be a god, something that represents the divine. The next section states, וְכָל-תְּמוּנָה אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִמַּעַל וַאֲשֶׁר בָּאָרֶץ מִתָּחַת (v’khol-temunah asher bashamayim mima’al ba’aretz mitachat, meaning, “and you shall not make for yourself any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below”). This draws in the prohibition against any form of human representation, such as a statute (i.e. like seen in Greek culture, the bust of Ceasar, etc.). The next passages from Shemot / Exodus 20:5-6 speak of not serving or worshiping idols (Avodah Zarah). Idolatrous worship involves (i) prostrating oneself before an idol, (ii) offering sacrifices, (iii) eating or celebrating before the idol, and (iv) drinking in celebration before the idol, etc. These commands tell us these things are forbidden, and how the one who sets his heart and life to these things is doomed. This is what the prophet Ezekiel is trying to say, and what the scientific research is drawing out for us from the Scriptures!
The Scriptures tell us how we are to guard our hearts, placing our affections and desires upon the Lord and His Messiah, as opposed to our own interests and sins ahead of His love and mercy (grace). We demonstrate our love for God by being faithful. The Scriptures also speak of God visiting the sins of the fathers upon the children, and the reason this is significant is because it is a warning to us, if we do not turn from our sins, and our children grow up to learn our sinful ways, they will walk in them, and follow in the sinful way to a greater extent. The history of Israel reveals this to us. We are told that the mercy / grace of God defers the punishment of the sinner, for the purpose of allowing time for repentance, so the sinner will turn towards God, and away from his sin. The Lord God will wait until the third and fourth generation, the scriptures say this is the time frame for sin to become complete, and the wrath of God comes. This time frame, three and four generations is a very long time, again shows us how the Lord God waits, allowing us to turn away from idols, the idols of our fathers, the idols or our hearts, and return to Him. This kind of judgement comes to those who hate the Lord God Almighty and Yeshua the Messiah. By embracing one’s sins, the parallel to the scientific research in the sense of creating a new phase, we are told in the research paper  that the synthesis route is very important for the preparation of the superconductor, eliminating the hydrogen so the contaminant does not lead to the desired phase. This is reckoned to embrace the sins of the fathers, and the heart becomes hardened into a hatred of the Lord to where one becomes God’s enemy. We are told in the Scriptures that the measure of God’s steadfast love (his chesed) for the one who loves Him is no less than 500 times greater than His retribution upon the faithless. (see Tosefta Sotah 3:4) Note what is written in Shemot / Exodus 20:6 ו וְעֹשֶֹה חֶסֶד לַאֲלָפִים לְאֹהֲבַי וּלְשֹׁמְרֵי מִצְוֹתָי: The Lord showing mercy to a thousand generations. The word אֲלָפִים is written in the masculine plural indicating duality suggesting not just 1000 generations, but 2000 generations. So the idea is that God’s love extends at least 500 times more for those who walk in His love, and have love for Him! We are told in the Apostolic Writings (NT) that we demonstrate love for the LORD? By keeping or guarding (shomer) His commandments (1 John 5:2-3, John 14:21) In these things we give praise to the Lord for His mercy and grace, and for His love! The great salvation that He provides, and the mercy and opportunity give to us to turn from our sins, to set our hearts upon Him and His Word! We can rejoice that His mercy extends to those who have come from brokenness and sin. We can rest under His shadow, and be at peace knowing that He is in control, and there to help those who are in need!