by Vern S. Poythress
Storms and natural disasters proclaim the regularity of God
As if cyclones and earthquakes are not enough, the hurricane season is around the corner. The strongest hurricanes, in Category 5, have winds above 155 miles per hour. A wind like that produces a pressure of about 4 pounds per square inch, which may not sound like much, but it results in a total force of 3,000 pounds on a human being who stands in its way. That is fierce power.
Scientists can't stop hurricanes, but they can explain them. Huge wind spirals arise in a complex process starting with differences in air pressure produced by the sun's heat and evaporation in tropical waters.
The Bible says, He [God] makes His wind blow (Psalm 147:18). The wind—including hurricane wind—is His. It belongs to Him. And He makes it blow. Do you believe that?
Many people believe that some kind of God exists. But to them He seems remote. For practical purposes science, they think, has replaced God. The wind blows because of differences in air pressure. The nightly weather report explains it. And what the nightly weather report doesn't explain, the expert scientists could explain and explain in massive detail until your eyes glazed over.
So was it just a primitive mentality when the Bible said that God made the wind blow? No. The scientists still deal with the same God, the God who rules the wind. What the scientists investigate is the regularity and faithfulness of the way in which God makes His wind blow. He is so faithful and so consistent that you can write mathematical equations to describe it. And of course the mathematical equations come from man's mind being in tune with God's mind, and having the privilege of thinking God's thoughts after Him.
Modern man would like to forget God most of the time, and maybe bring Him in only for convenience, when he feels a sudden need for some sweet religious comforts. But the real God is not comfortable. He is the infinitely powerful and sovereign ruler, governing His wind in all its detail.
That is why the scientists' equations work.
This God brings us the spring winds and rains and May flowers. But He also brings hurricanes that exhibit the power of His word: The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; . . . The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire (Psalm 29:5, 7).
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, empowers God's word, and so the Holy Spirit is behind the power of the wind that blows at the command of God (Ezekiel 37:9, 14).
We need to wake up to God's presence as He rules the wind, and stand in awe of His wisdom and power. Scientific explanations should remind us of the faithfulness of God's rule, rather than serving as a substitute for acknowledging Him who is the origin of the very possibility of science.
By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their host" (Psalm 33:6). "In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1).
—Vern S. Poythress is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, where he has taught for 30 years
Copyright © 2008 WORLD Magazine
May 31, 2008, Vol. 23, No. 11