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Discovery Magazine 5/1/2001

Caves—a World Down Under

by  Trae Bailey

Imagine yourself walking below the ground, deep inside the Earth. It sounds scary, but it is really quite fascinating. As you walk, you suddenly find yourself standing in a large room, which is called a cavern. The beam from your flashlight reflects beautiful colors, and sparkles against the walls of this grand room. All around the ceiling and floor are cone-shaped formations of rock known as stalagmites and stalactites. The way you know which is which is to remember that stalactites are "stuck tite" in the ceiling and you "mite trip" on stalagmites because they are on the floor.

As you walk deeper into the cave, you suddenly are surrounded by total darkness. There are three places in the world were you can be in total darkness—space, under water, and in a cave. Because caves are dark, they make great hiding places, and animals that like the dark (for example, bats or sleeping bears) will stay there.

Sometimes in the Bible we read of people hiding in caves. When evil Queen Jezebel was trying to kill all the prophets of God, Obadiah took a hundred prophets, and hid them by fifties in a cave (1 Kings 18:4). In the Old Testament, we read of times that the people of Israel hid in caves and used them for strongholds or forts during times of war (Judges 6:1-2).

Caves provide research material for scientists, as well as recreation for people who like to explore. The study of caves is called speleology and the people who like to explore them are called spelunkers and cavers. Many different kinds of animals and insects live in caves (the scientists that study them are called biospeleologists).

Through the centuries, caves also have been used as tombs. The Bible gives us many examples of people being buried in caves. We know that Abraham’s wife, Lazarus, and even Jesus were all buried in caves.

Caves are a wonderful gift from our Creator. Caverns and cave formations provide a hidden beauty, and declare the glory of God. No matter how deep into the Earth you may go, the beauty and value of God’s creation remains.



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