The words climate and climate control are much in the news today.
While working on the Sunday School lessons from the Book of Genesis I spent time searching what the Bible has to say about the climate of planet earth at the time of creation. I then did a google check to read what today's students as young as seventeen are thinking. There were dozens of issues connected to climate and climate control with enough predictions to leave us terror stricken if they are to be believed. I do agree with one tenet. We are seriously trashing our planet, the beautiful place God created and told us to care for.
I enjoy knowing what was written in the past, so I turned to some old encyclopedias to research "climate." Winston's Cumulative Encyclopedia, 1918 Edition, had a two column article with facts about climate variations in different parts of the world, in particular the effect of rain, moisture and winds and the iso-thermal lines drawn on a map or chart which show these variations. The last comment was interesting: "Geology teaches that vast changes have taken place in most if not all of the countries, the causes of which are not fully understood."
The 1974 Funk and Wagnalls Enclyclopedia had a map. The first sentence read "Climate, term as employed, as including not merely the conditions of a country or place with regard to temperature and precipitation but also its meteorological conditions generally...Climate may be influenced by prevailing winds or ocean currents..."
My next source was biblical. What was the climate like when earth was created? The Genesis 1 account says there was a Creator, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent. That Creator was God. Genesis 1:2 says "the world was without form and void", in chaos and darkness until the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. The waters above were separated from the waters beneath and earth was formed.
The details are scant. I used the five Ws of literature study, Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. The writers who deal with the subject are as many as the interpretations. God created the world but Who is God? The Bible writer of Hebrews says Jesus is the exact representation of God and "He who comes to God must believe that He is and rewards them that diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6.) The Book of Colossians says Jesus was the Creator God (1:16.)That is where we have to exercise faith, something we do in other ways, every day.
When? "In the beginning..." another unknown quantity, but probably about 6 millennia ago by Jewish reckoning. Where? Earth, a planet, one among many. Billions of stars, millions of galaxies, unnumbered universes, one very visible sun and a moon and with all of this a human made in God's image, unlike anything else, a perfect creation, placed on planet earth and told to care for it, still a necessity for today.
How? God spoke and the world came into being. That was it. The "big bang" may have been when God said "Let there be light" and the "light switch" did not hesitate or ask a question. The light covered the existing chaos and darkness. As an added blessing God turned the light into day and night.
>>>My search continued. I remembered something God said to Job and his friends at the end of that story. Anyone focusing on the demand to control the climate should read the final chapters of this Book. We forget how finite we are when we try to "interpret" God's ways without knowing the Creator God. There are no answers for Job as he undergoes this personal situation but we learn a lot about man's freethinking philosophy. Life has not changed much.
The story begins in the early days of Bible records. A very wealthy man named Job had a large family, an enviable reputation for his good deeds, to all appearances a godly man who offers up sacrifices for his children in case they had sinned. He knows all the right theology, does all the right things but comes under attack by Satan and God allows it to happen. Where is God in all that? When the hurts are physical, emotional and financial? When a man's whole life and fortune are turned upside down?
Three "friends" hear of Job's condition and visit him. They are relentless in their ridicule. Their arguments contain truth but it is mixed with error. This kind of thinking was still prevalent when we lived in Asia and the Middle East. Job does his best to counter the arguments but he also has a hard time "defending" what and why he believes as he does. In desperate circumstances he still retains his faith in God. He may have thought he was coming to the end of his life when he cries out in a pitiful wail, "Oh that my words were written, inscribed in a book...with an iron stylus and in lead... engraved in the rock forever...As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives and at the last He will take His stand on the earth..."
Well, Job, your words were written, not in stone but in the eternal Word of God, the Bible. Job saw beyond death and knew there was more. His confession of faith in chapter 19 should solidify the hope for everyone who turns to Christ the Redeemer for salvation. Jesus Christ paid the price on our behalf (Isaiah 43:14, Titus 2:14.)
In the next 20 chapters Job and his "friends" have a debate. Job berates his "counselors" and defends God by speaking of His creation.
In chapter 32, the three men shut up when a young man Elihu begins his discourse. They are less bitter but strong words are aimed at Job and God is still silent.
We are stopped dead in our tracks, right here. In chapter 38 God finally enters into the conversations that have gone on. In language like a sort of "Sit down and shut up" to an argumentative young student who pretends to know more than the professor, God asks, "Who is this that speaks without knowing what he is talking about? I am going to question you and you tell me the answers!"
Question after question the interrogation continues. It is all about every created thing, questions of who, what, when, where, why and even how, all which will remind this whole group how little they really know about God and creation.
Stories like this should become our answer to who gets to control the climate. It is the Creator God, the Questioner. He puts these accusers on the defense line (chapters 38-42.) Job declares he had heard of God but now his eye "sees" Him and Job does what all those who think they have answers need to do. He repents in dust and ashes, the way to show the utmost humility. It is then God restores his fortune and gives him new life.
Job was a person like us, trusting in our knowledge, our goodness and righteous acts, none of which is enough for understanding God. Thankfully, we have an advantage. It is Job's story.
The amazing thing about the Bible is that it tells us what life was like from the beginning and not much has changed. We are content to live as we please until we face adversity and begin to be in need. The same issues we are facing today were present in Job's day. It is helpful to remember God is the "Ultimate Controller." Everything on earth including life and death is still under His Hand but it reaches out in love, as it always has, when we desire to know Him. When our hearts are right with Him, acknowledging Who He is, submitting to Him, we no longer have questions. They are answered when we give them over for His outworking.
Myrtle V. Thompson, Missionary (ret.), Educator, Bible Teacher and Writer