I've posed this query in other forums and just wondered what my blogging audience might have to say.
There is a question that I've wondered about on and off for a number of years and I want to ask what you all think.
As most of you here know, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that while the Bible is not a scientific treatise, when it touches on scientific matters--it is believed to be spot on (as the Brits say). For instance, Isaiah talks about the "circle" of the earth (Isa 40:22), apparently referring to the oblate spheroid known as planet earth and Job also speaks of the earth hanging upon nothing (Job 26:7). This point also comports with our present understanding of centripetal and centrifugal force.
Paul likewise writes that "star differs from star in glory," thus confirming what we know today about the variegated celestial bodies that comprise part of God's creation. (See 1 Cor 15:41.)
With the foregoing in mind, I must say that the apostolic use of EN ATOMWi in 1 Cor 15:52 has me somewhat perplexed. After all, do not the words recorded in this account imply or explicitly say that an atom (as was thought in ancient times) is indivisible?
According to BDAG, ATOMOS basically means "uncut" or indivisible. Moreover, the term is used of an entity "that is viewed as such a unit that it cannot be cut, esp. because of the smallness (e.g. particle of matter, uncompounded word) indivisible . .
Aristotle uses the phrase EN ATOMWi when referring to time (see Phys. 236a, 6).
I don't want to imply that this question is about to make me stumble. But I just wanted to see if others have noticed this point before. Modern-day physics has taught us that atoms can undergo both fission and fusion. Atoms are evidently not indivisible since physicists now write about particles known as quarks that are more basic than atoms.
IMHO, the definition was appropriate for first century minds or for ancient thinkers like Epicurus or Democritus, who were not aware of the atom's ability to undergo nuclear fission or fusion. Even moderns had to learn progressively that the atom is in fact reducible to smaller constituents. Moreover, the Greek ATOMOS seems to have more to do with the putative inability of an atom to be divided than with its "size."
Thanks for your consideration,