Is it God or Satan or chance or global warming that sends bad weather?
The Bible answers plainly.
First, it is apparent that even the winds “obey” Jesus when He commands. In the midst of a storm that was threatening his disciples’ ship Jesus came to their rescue:
Mt 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Mt 8:27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
Second, God made the world as a wonderful machine. The sun was made a proper distance and with a proper size to warm the earth well. The great volume of water in our atmosphere causes the earth to be temperate. The placement of the moon causes the tides that refresh the coastal areas and promote sea-life. The water-cycle cares for plants and animals alike, providing trillions of gallons of fresh water daily.
The lightening enriches the soil with nitrates. Periodic fires make way for new growth and remove natural clutter. The system of winds and air currents make local weather similar from year to year allowing plants and small animals to find a comfortable home (the snow hare not dwelling in Ecuador and the mango not sprouting in Alaska). The insulation of snow protects the ground in northern climates from the bitter cold.
In short, God made the world a precious machine that uses weather to benefit the creation.
This is love. Jesus said that we should love and care for our enemies. He explained that his Father does so and that we should do the same:
Mt 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
So God sends good weather on both good and bad people. He does this through the plan established at creation where He caused the current weather system to be developed. The system originally used dew and later used rain. All the elements of nature work together to fulfill God’s word to creation that they be fruitful.
Ge 2:5 . . . The LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. Ge 2:6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
Ps 148:8 Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
When God was speaking with Job, He revealed the fact that God’s love extends further than the habitation of man. God cares for His tender plants in the desert. He makes provision for their life. He arranged for the desert dew that feeds its denizens. God asked Job:
Job 38:25 Who hath divided a watercourse for the overflowing of waters, or a way for the lightning of thunder; 26 To cause it to rain on the earth, where no man is; on the wilderness, wherein there is no man; 27 To satisfy the desolate and waste ground; and to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth? 28 Hath the rain a father? or who hath begotten the drops of dew?
This system of climate control is greater than the powers of heathen enchantment. We must depend on our Father for the provisions that we need from the weather:
Jer 14:22 Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art not thou he, O LORD our God? therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.
The way that the system was set up shows that chance is involved in the day-to-day operation of the system. Whether we get rain on Tuesday or Wednesday may not be a matter of providence. The wind, according to Jesus, may seem to have a mind of its own. The waves of the sea may neither trouble its sailors nor benefit them, but they exist as part of the system. Chance harmonized with God’s general plan of life:
Ec 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
Joh 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
Jas 3:4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
Even prophets doing God’s work must, at times, work around the operations of nature. (See Acts 27:4, for example). Winter is not a good time to sail, harvest not a good time to sow seed.
And understanding the system also helps us understand the relation of global warming to bad weather. The Bible predicted that, in the end of time, man would find a way to trouble the gigantic system of nature.
Re 11:18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time . . . that thou . . . shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.
So, yes, the effects of global warming may interfere with the loving provision God has made for man and nature. It is the same principle as when political strife prevents the world’s abundant supply of grain from reaching starving persons. God’s provisions are intercepted alike by careless consumers and wicked conspirators.
Satan (with God’s permission)
But it would be far from accurate to say that all weather, all storms, happen merely by natural workings. Satan is directly behind some destructive events. We see this in the story of Job. There (Job 1) Satan attacks Job’s family with a “great wind” and kills Job’s sons. Job 1:18-19.
It would be unreasonable to suppose that Satan does not have recourse to similar activities today. But in the book of Job God’s man was protected, generally, from Satan’s attacks. Satan was limited in the destruction that he was permitted to perpetrate.
Corrective Judgments (intending mercy)
More commonly in scripture we see God using bad weather as a means of drawing men to Himself. Men tend to seek God in their distress. And their eternal life is worth enough to warrant more than a little weather-caused trouble in their lives, if it will give them a better chance to seek God earnestly.
God explained, for example, that capricious local droughts, hail storms and even pest infestations were tools for bringing Israel to repentance. And a terrible storm was used effectively for the same purpose in the case of Jonah.
Am 4:7 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. 8 So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.
Hag 2:17 I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the LORD.
Jon 1:4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
Bad storms often bring individuals to cry out to God for deliverance. If they learn by this means to depend on Him their entire life will improve. They can see in their physical deliverance an evidence of what God can do in the spiritual life.
Ps 107:25 For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof…28 Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.29 He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. 30 Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven. . . .
Droughts, in particular, have been sent as judgments on the “wickedness” of men. In the case of Elijah and Ahab, a three year judgment of drought was followed by national revival and abundant rain. But the rain only came in answer to the earnest and persistent petitions of Elijah.
Ps 107:33 He turneth rivers into a wilderness, and the watersprings into dry ground; 34 A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.
1Ki 18:41 And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. 42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, 43 And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. 44 And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. 45 And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel.
Discipline without Mercy
Not all weather-related disasters in the Bible are intended to draw victims to repentance. We have already noted that some disasters are man-made and others are chance-oriented. Men will die one way or another and weather is one of the potential causes.
But some men die at the hand of God. The world-wide flood of Genesis 9 wan an example. No mercy consoled or plead with the wicked men of the world once the rain began to fall.
And Egypt suffered a barrage of horrific plagues that famously included hail. Less known is the part that lightening and frost played in the humbling of that proud nation. Pharaoh’s short-term repentance during the plagues shows men the folly of a danger-only religion.
Ex 9:18 Behold, to morrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now. . . 34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
Ps 78:47 He destroyed their vines with hail, and their sycomore trees with frost. 48 He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.
While the plagues on Egypt might properly be classed with those disasters that are tended to lead men to repentance, I include them here because they portend a set of plagues that have been mentioned by prophets for thousands of years. The Seven Last Plagues will fill up the wrath of God on those who have rejected his last offers of mercy. The last of the seven is a plague of 75 pound hail stones.
Job 38:22 Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, 23 Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
Isa 28:17 Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.
Re 16:21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
When Jesus returns storm and whirlwind, lightening and rain, will accomplish his purposes. He “will not at all acquit the wicked” in the day that the “hills melt” and the “earth is burned at his presence.”
Na 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. 5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein.
Jer 51:16 When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens; and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures. [See also Jer 10:13]
God is love. He has made the world well. He saw that “it was good” at the end of each day of Creation. The systems of this earth marvelously use a variety of weather patterns to benefit plants and animals and man.
This is the cause of most weather.
The system has been compromised by the intervention of man. Global warming and pollution have tipped balanced and corrupted rain-water. The effect has included unhelpful weather patterns.
Satan also interferes with the weather. In the case of righteous men like Job, Satan is limited in what he can do. So as the world becomes more wicked we should expect that he will have more power over the weather.
But in all times of earth’s history God has used various types of bad weather to lead men to seek him, to repent, to humble themselves and pray. We ought to be thankful for this type of corrective love just as adults are thankful for the discipline they received as children.
Finally, some men have died in heaven’s weather-related judgments on earth. When this has happened others have had opportunity to take warning and to reform. But a time is coming when Jesus will return. At that point all nature will seem to be out of control and scorching heat will combine with killer hailstones to “sweep away the refuge of lies.” It will be too late to repent.
God is love. And God is just. We may not be able to point to a particular incidence of bad weather and say whether it was caused by God or Satan or global warming, or by Satan being permitted by God to use global warming.
But we can know that God is love. And we can turn out hearts toward him while there is still time.
I hope this has been helpful to you in relation to your question.
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