When someone told me that boiling water freezes faster than water at room temperature, I was flooded with doubt.  For water to boil, it has to reach 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  For water to freeze, it has to reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit.   Our assumption is that room temperature water (72 degrees) will reach freezing long before boiling water.  Naturally, with less steps to take from 72 to 32 vs. 212 to 32, it’s a cinch that you’ll look out at your snow covered picnic table in the back and see ice in the room temperature glass and cool water in the vessel that once held the boiling.   Strangely enough — and for reasons that only scientists can explain — the boiling water will freeze faster than the room temperature water.    Go and figure.

I didn’t believe such a phenomenon could be possible, so I decided to conduct a little experiment of my own.  Reaching into the back of the cupboard, I found a  favorite sauce pan of ours that once belonged to Grandma.  She’d be proud of my experiment.  Actually, she’d be worried about my hyjinks, so it’s probably better that she doesn’t see me taking on a burn risk.  I filled the pan with tap water and set it on the stovetop, waiting for it to boil so that I could bring it outside to see how long it took to freeze.   I watched and watched and the water never boiled.  Finally, I turned the burner on, forgetting that precious second step in food preparation. I suddenly turned around to see what that  crashing sound was and realized that one of the kids had accidentally knocked a glass off of the counter.  I turned the stove off and commenced to sweeping up shards of glass.  By the time I finished picking up that last shiny and toe cutting piece and saluted the memory of that old glass, it was time to put the kids into bed.  Several days later I noticed Grandma’s old  sauce pan sitting on the sotvetop, and I washed it and put it away.

My hypothesis: boiling water freezes faster than room temperature water.

My findings:  broken glass interrupts home science  experiments.

I checked online and discovered that yes, boiling water reaches freezing faster than water at room temperature.  This is rather counterintuitive, don’t you think?  (I mean the boiling water thing.  It is rather intuitive that broken glass should be picked up.  I wouldn’t insist anything different in that regard).

Other counterintuitive phenomena: turn into the skid.  Turn right to turn left.  Pull the bandaid off quickly for less pain.

And here’s one from 1st Corinthians: the message of the Cross seems like a bad idea, which gives it more credibility than anything else  in the world.

Turning stuff upside down to bring about shocking results won’t always work.  If you have a headache, just hit your head on a brick wall.  If you’re out of money, just spend more.  If want some popcorn, just eat everything except popcorn.  Etc.

But the message of the Cross — the gospel, brought to us by a person named Jesus — is remarkably counterintuitive.  “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.”  Or, check out this little number, which comes just a bit later: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”

Hot diggity:  The way that makes the least amount of logical sense to us is actually the very best way to live.

This means that, between God and I,  just one of us brings flawed logic to the table.  In other words, my own sense of wisdom is so broken that it can’t tell true up from down.  I don’t even have the capacity to measure these things, let alone live them (on my own).

Why would God do it this way?  Of all the methods God could use to save us, He chooses the cross.  He brings life by… dying.  He responds to our rejection by… setting Himself up for rejection.  He meets His requirement for holiness by… getting involved in our unholiness.  See?  It’s all backwards, this Kingdom.

God has nothing to prove.  Check and mate.

If you really think about it, it all sounds too good to be true, which is why the gospel sounds so dubious to some.

As it turns out, it’s good because it is true.  It’s counterintuitive nature gives credibility to its own audacity.

About radamdavidson

When I'm not blogging, I'm hanging out with my family, pastoring a church, or listening to vinyl. I think and write about Jesus, music, communication, organizational leadership, family whatnot, and cultural artifacts from the 1980's -- mostly vintage boomboxes. You can read my blog at, watch [RadCast], a daily 3 minute video devotional, or find me on socials (@radamdavidson). I also help Pastors in their preaching and public speaking (
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1 Response to Smrt

  1. excellent post Adam. I once wrote about such things… Used pineapple upside-down cake as the example. 🙂 you can read if you like… or not… 🙂

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