Meteorology and the Bible
by G.Thomas Windsor
There are various examples in Scripture related to the field of
meteorology that give evidence of Divine inspiration. Some of
these are in what ancient writers described thousands of years ago.
Things that they couldn't have known or that aren't self
evident. These truths have only been discovered in
modern times .
Some of the more well known are as follows:
The hydrological cycle
(evaporation /transportation /condensation of water around the globe)
Job 36:27-28 " For he maketh small the drops of water: they
pour down rain according to the vapor thereof: Which the clouds do drop
[and] distill upon man abundantly. "; he that calleth for the waters of
the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD [is]
his name. (KJV)
Eccl. 1:7 "All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is
not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they
Jeremiah 10:13 " When He utters His
voice, There is a multitude of waters in the heavens:
And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the
Also Amos 9.6 " he that calleth for the waters of
the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth"
The concept that air has
Job 28:25 "To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth
the waters by measure. "(KJV)
Also in Job 37 "by watering he wearieth (to make
heavy ) the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud"
The Jet Stream circuit
The large "rivers" of winds that circle the globe are described
in Ecclesiastes 1.
It states, "the wind .. blows round and round on its
circuits... " )(NET)
Ecclesiastes 1:6 (KJV) "The wind goeth toward the
south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually,
and the wind returneth again according to his circuits."
The "Whirlwind" in Scripture
Relating to the jet stream, let us go to a more detailed look at the
subtle atmospheric characteristics the Bible makes reference to that
wouldn't be discerned by visual observation in ancient
times. These are some lesser known evidences of
inspiration. The Scripture speaks so much about whirling
winds when they are actually statistically very rare to behold (even
for those living in highest probability areas.)
In the natural world, whirlwinds/tornadoes are devastating.
These violent rotating columns of air can lift up almost everything in
their path, scattering vast amounts of materials far
distances down wind.
There are spots on the globe where favorable terrain, etc., helps
create this dynamic as in the central States of the
US. The Middle East is also such an area.
Certain other major factors create this weather ; simplistically
stated, colder drier air slams into very humid warmer air.
Next, the turning and veering in the direction of the winds at
differing heights creates the rotating
columns (" the pillars of cloud " to use another biblical
term) and explosive updrafts .
These are essential in the formation of the mesocyclone.
So we have two main factors A- rotation and B-
The principle of rotation
Job 37:12 " The clouds go round in
circles, wheeling about according to his plans,
to carry out all that he commands them over the
face of the whole inhabited world, v-13.
In another translation it states " And it is turned round
about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them
upon the face of the world in the earth ( kjv. )"
The large scale movement of air takes the shape of a
Although winds generally move in a linear
direction, they also contain many circuitous swirling
movements. Also, amongst the movement of bodies of
air, countless eddies are produced like in a turbulent flow
of water .
The earth's wind streams have areas of clockwise rotations and
counterclockwise rotations on many scales.
On a continental view, one could have a very large upper level cyclonic
area of the atmosphere that can form mesocyclones (a rotating
"supercell" thunderstorm) at lower levels. These can spawn
tornadoes which themselves can have within them multiple
vortices. These all wheel around, from the massive pinwheel
of a hurricane hundreds of miles across in size, to the
swirling dust-devil in a hot farmer's field.
(See illustration )
credits National Weather Service (source of the
data) and Unisys Weather.
The Bible makes a connection with the whirlwind in a repetitive them of
whirling wheels and chariots (Jeremiah. 4:13; Daniel. 11:40; Isaiah
5:28; Zechariah. 6:5; Psalm 104:4; Isaiah 66:15 .)
The principle of updraft
Typically, these thunderstorms have visible large-scale cloud
rotation, even if it doesn't produce an actual tornado that touches the
ground. The people at that time when the Scripture was penned
didn't understand the rapid updraft in severe
storms. However, they wrote of Elijah having been taken up in
the whirlwind into heaven. 2Ki.2:11 - "As they were
going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire ....
And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. "
Also, in the updraft portion of a severe storm a trained eye can
observe clouds lifting upwards and infolding upon
themselves as it rotates around.
And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great
cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and
out of the midst thereof as the color of amber, out of the midst of the
Speaking of this whirlwind it states in the Greek, "I beheld (pneuma) a
wind (exairon) lifting up." In the Hebrew it can also
translate to "touching itself around," as "in a circle.")
This is incidentally probably one of the earliest historical accounts
of a mesocyclone.
The " rolling " of the
When there is a turning or a veering in the direction of the winds at
differing heights (low level winds and the upper
jet stream winds,) this creates a "rolling " effect in the
clouds of the thunderstorm which is thought to
spawn tornadoes at the surface. So we have horizontal and
vertical turning in the atmosphere .
This rolling of the atmosphere helps produce a
spiraling updraft .
Images and photographs courtesy of the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration
The Bible also speaks of this effect as in Revelation 6 (see
also Isaiah 34): " 13.....even as a fig tree casteth her
untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14And the
heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together"
It is interesting that another passage may speak of
this concept. When God delivered his people at the Red Sea
(remember the pillar of cloud) it was described in this way:
"The crash of thy thunder was in the whirlwind,..." (Psm.
77.) Other translations state "The thunder of your
(God's) chariot wheels resounded; your lightning lit up the world; "
(NAB.) In another translation
it states "the voice of thy thunder in a wheel....
". (D.R. B.)
Here the psalmist uses the Hebrew word for "wheels" (GalGal) by an
analogy and metaphor in describing the storms in the heavens
and again portrays the heavens as in a rolling
Images and photographs courtesy of the National Oceanic
Nature is transcendent
God uses the natural physical heavens and winds to teach us
of the heavenly spiritual world. This metaphor for the spirit
is used more than any other in the Bible. The Old testament
prophets saw these and other storms as revelations and manifestations
of His glory. The physical heavens (with its clouds
and the winds) is the shadow of the true realities. The
creation that God made to show us for "The heavens
declare his glory" (Psm.19 . )
About the author --- G.Thomas Windsor,
is a storm chaser and does weather photography.