The Theology of Weather: Seeing God in the Elements (Snowy Day Thoughts)

The theology of weather. What does that mean? To me, it means gleaning what we can about God from what we see in the weather.

As I write this, snowflakes are gently falling, and have been all day, in my corner of the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I still get giddy like a little kid when it snows. Even more so when the snow sticks to the ground. Though my zest for snowball fights and building snow art has diminished with age, I remain filled with childlike wonder at the beauty of it.

As I observed the silent splendor on a morning walk, I began to think of God, and how the snow is a gift from Him, as is weather of various types. It is a gift, as well as a reminder of His character if we pay closer attention.

Here are a few comparisons in our theology of weather analysis.

Snow is pure

The white that blankets the ground after a winter snowfall makes everything appear clean, beautiful and pure. It can be seen as a symbol of God’s work of redemption in our lives, through Jesus Christ.

“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord,
“Though your sins are as scarlet,
They will be as white as snow; – Isaiah 1:18a

That alone makes me appreciate the snow even more!

Additionally, the beauty of the glorified Christ as revealed in Revelation 1 uses snow as part of the imagery to describe the purity and holiness of the Son of God.

Moving from the figurative to the literal, a practical observation about snow.

It disrupts our lives

Those of us that live in areas that are perpetually ill-equipped for snow regarding clearing roads, proper vehicles to navigate it, and a lack of knowledge about how to safely drive in it, find our lives disrupted by the beautiful white stuff. Schools get delayed or canceled, people can’t make it to work, kids (and some adults) cannot contain their glee.

For a substance that imparts such serenity, it sure can disorder schedules.  Not unlike the transformative work of God in the lives of Christians. For all the peace and joy it provides, when done right, it changes everything.

The beauty of God can easily be seen in other forms of weather as well.

About rain

Pacific Northwesterners have a love/hate relationship with rain. The consistent 8-10 months we get a year can be overwhelming. Especially when the temps are low, and we have stretches of dozens of consecutive days of drippiness.

Though there is a temptation to complain, an honest evaluation requires acknowledging that the stunning greenery and beauty we get to enjoy here necessitates the rainfall. I’ve had more experiences of profound worship of our Creator through beholding His creation than I can count. If rain is what it takes, then I say bring it on.

The wisdom of God in giving us the water cycle to keep our planet and its inhabitants hydrated also must not be overlooked.

The sun, ah yes

I scarcely meet someone who doesn’t enjoy the sun. Yes, they are out there, but they are a scant minority in my observation. Sunshine is amazing!!

To once more draw on my native Northwest perspective, we cherish sunny days. We wait through months of cold, gray, liquid sunshine for those few months when that bright orb warms up our lives.  Seasonal waterfront restaurants open, and remain consistently crowded. People who have been hiding from the elements come out in droves. The best our region has to offer is on full display.

The sun is arguably the most poignant weather metaphor for the glory of God. Its warmth sustains life, its heat can be deadly, one cannot gaze at it directly, yet its light makes seeing possible.

Ancient cultures worshipped the sun. Yet, the Bible plainly describes it as part of God’s creation — and that through which we can rightly glimpse His character.

Psalm 19:1-6 is one of the best passages to tackle this:

The heavens are telling of the glory of God;
And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
Day to day pours forth speech,
And night to night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
Their voice is not heard.
Their [a]line has gone out through all the earth,
And their utterances to the end of the world.
In them He has placed a tent for the sun,
Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber;
It rejoices as a strong man to run his course.
Its rising is from [b]one end of the heavens,
And its circuit to the [c]other end of them;
And there is nothing hidden from its heat.

To summarize, it is fascinating to observe how God reveals Himself to us through weather of all kinds. Not only do the seasons give what we need to sustain life (and themselves are a metaphor for the stages of life), but the weather contained within each is an invitation to investigate the One who gave life to us in the first place, and freely offers eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Thoughts on this subject? I would love to hear any questions or comments!

Published 2/20/18. Updated 2/22/23.

One response to “The Theology of Weather: Seeing God in the Elements (Snowy Day Thoughts)”

  1. How inspirational this is to me! You have beautifully expressed your thoughts here.

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