by Bruce Gerencser cross posted from his blog The Way Forward
Here in rural NW Ohio, we are having a memorable winter. Record snowfalls, record lows, just the kind of weather global warming deniers love to see. There is a long-term drought in places like California and Arizona, and many places across the globe are recording record high temperatures and record high low temperatures. (the low temperatures are much higher) Floods, tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes,high winds, no winds, lots of rain, no rain, ice, sleet, snow, freezing rain, lightning, droughts, heat waves, record highs, record lows, along with periods of perfect, wonderful, low humidity, temperatures…just right days. The only constant about the weather is that it is always changing.
In Greek mythology, Zeus, along with a host of gods underneath him, controlled the weather. While no one today, believes Zeus controls the weather, hundreds of millions of people believe that the God of the Christian Bible does. Daily prayers are offered to the Christian deity in the hope that he will change the weather for the petitioner. Ohio farmers are known to pray when they need rain or when they need the rain to stop. In times of drought, churches gather together to corporately beseech the Divine Weatherman to act on their behalf.
Here is some of what the Bible says about God and his connection to the weather:
…for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth…For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth… (Genesis 2:5, Genesis 7:4)
And, behold, I (God), even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die. (Genesis 6:17)
…Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail…(Exodus 9:18)
…and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground…(Exodus 9:23)
…And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts…(Exodus 10:19)
…and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night…(Exodus 14:21)
…that I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil. (Deuteronomy 11:14)
…and then the Lord’s wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit;…(Deuteronomy 11:17)
The Lord shall make the rain of thy land powder and dust: from heaven shall it come down upon thee, until thou be destroyed. (Deuteronomy 28:24)
So Samuel called unto the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day…(1 Samuel 12:18)
Go, shew thyself (Elijah) unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth. (1 Kings 18:1)
Who (God) giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields (Job 5:10)
He caused an east wind to blow in the heaven: and by his power he brought in the south wind. (Psalm 78:26)
Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places. He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth;he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries (Psalm 135:6,7)
And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. (Amos 4:7)
For if God… spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;…(2 Peter 2:4-6)
It is clear, from the Bible, that the Christian God controls the weather. Most Christians also believe that God is all-powerful, that he holds the world in the palm of his hand. Most Christians believe that God is sovereign, that he is in control of everything. He is the first cause and nothing is beyond his purview.
Yet, when a tornado or hurricane cause horrific property damage and loss of life, most Christians refuse to blame their God. When Hurricane Katrina and Sandy laid waste to the Gulf Coast and East Coast, no Christian minister, except perhaps a hardcore Calvinist or Pat Robertson, took to the pulpit and said, dear people, God is responsible for the devastation! When the weather kills, maims, and destroys, why do most Christians not blame the one person the Bible says is responsible?
Evangelicals, in particular, must maintain that God is good all the time, all the time God is good. God can never be charged with doing anything that is considered evil or bad. If the above mentioned verses are true, and Evangelicals believe ALL the verses in the Bible are true, then culpability for the destruction that comes from adverse weather must be laid at the feet of God (Jesus). There is no possible way for an Evangelical to talk themselves out of this one. The inerrant, infallible, inspired Bible is clear…God controls the weather. If God controls the weather then he is responsible for what happens when he puts his divine weather plan into action.
I am sure more than a few Christians right now are trying their best to come up with a rebuttal to what I have written here. I am sure they are desperately trying to figure out a way to hang on to their belief that the Bible is meant to be read literally and is inerrant, and at the same time ignore or explain away the verses I mentioned above. (and I could have mentioned many more) Good luck!
[Editorial Note: This article is written from the premise that the Bible is not the authoritative last word for faith and practice. If you are not one of those readers, please be understanding of the intended audience and refrain from commenting on whether the Bible should be taken as such. Please show some respect for the writer and others of their faith or own belief/nonbelief by discussing the topic, rather than questioning whether the topic is one that even should be discussed or attacking the author. We try to be supportive of everyone coming out of abusive theology and Religious Trauma Syndrome. For more info on the site please visit - Is NLQ an Atheist Website?]
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Bruce Gerencser spent 25 years pastoring Independent Fundamental Baptist, Southern Baptist, and Christian Union churches in Ohio, Michigan, and Texas. Bruce attended Midwestern Baptist College in Pontiac, Michigan. He is a writer and operates The Way Forward blog. Bruce lives in NW Ohio with his wife of 35 years. They have 6 children, and nine grandchildren.
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