Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Old Man Winter?!

On the news I keep hearing about what Old Man Winter is up to, or Mother Nature. That's not the language I'm seeing when I open my Bible:

5 God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. 6 For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth,’ likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. 7 He seals up the hand of every man, that all men whom he made may know it. 8 Then the beasts go into their lairs, and remain in their dens. 9 From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. 10 By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. 11 He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. 12 They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. 13 Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen.

(Job 37)


  1. Larry, who was it that said these words?

  2. Are you talking about the Scripture or the news reporters?

    I assume you're talking about the Scripture: it was Elihu, who addressed Job after his three "friends" departed.

  3. The storm reminds me of a quote I heard last week from GK Chesterton:

    "Nature is not our Mother, she is our Sister, because we share the same Father. Like a Sister, she deserves to be treated with respect, but she has no authority over us."

    (That was probably a little bit of a paraphrase, since I heard it on a CD and am quoting it from memory.)

    Jim W

  4. Larry, sorry to be a 'pain in the neck' which I can be, but...I really question Elihu's assessment of how nature works. I mean, does God really manually control nature by using His breath to blow ice, and load the clouds with moisture? (vs. 10-11). From what I understand, nature is under the control of certain laws - the laws of nature, which by the way are God's laws. We experience natural disasters when these laws are broken, or if God suspends these laws supernaturally. JMHO.


  5. Sorry it took me awhile to get back to you Hillary.

    I agree that we shouldn't take Elihu's words literally. God is Spirit, so I don't think Elihu is saying that God physically blows ice onto the earth. Job is a poetic book, meaning it uses symbolic language. But what is the symbol representing? I am pretty sure it represents that God is in control of the world of nature, even when nature causes calamity and disaster.

    There is a lot of Scripture that points in that direction, but to stay in the book of Job, I'd just reference chapter 1. There the writer reports that Job loses property and family due to the fire from heaven (1:16, maybe a reference to lightning), and a great wind (v.19). Job responds by saying, "God gives, and God takes away". In other words, the fire and the wind were God's doing. And the writer adds as a postscript that in all Job said, he did not sin or charge God with wrong (1:22).

    I take all that to mean that it is not charging God with wrong to say that natural disasters are His doing. Yes, ultimately there are disasters because God has subjected the world to futility as judgment for Adam's sin. But it is still all under His rule and control.

    At least that is how I understand it.