How Can Clouds Float in the Air?

How Can Clouds Float in the Air?

The sky is falling! Well, not exactly. Actually, the clouds are falling, or are they? Clouds are made of water, and everyone knows water is heavier than air, so how can clouds float in the air? Have you ever wondered about that? Are clouds floating, or is it an optical illusion? I’m baffled. How about you?

Before we answer those questions, here is another one. What does the Bible say about clouds? Clouds are mentioned many times in the Bible. God gives us a creation story in the Book of Job that expands on the Genesis account. These are some of the words God used to challenge Job and his friends in Job 38:8-9:

“Or who shut in the sea with doors,
When it burst forth and issued from the womb;
When I made the clouds its garment,
And thick darkness its swaddling band;
When I fixed My limit for it,
And set bars and doors;
When I said,
‘This far you may come, but no farther,
And here your proud waves must stop!”

In this poetic account, when the early Earth was a water world, God shut up the ocean “with doors” and told it, “Here your proud waves must stop!” I love that word picture of the creation process! God speaks, and the seas listen! But we are talking about clouds, and how can clouds float in the air?

In this Job passage, God explains something we wonder about in Genesis 1:1, where it says, “darkness was on the face of the deep.” The garment of clouds explains the darkness covering the oceans. Otherwise, we have to wonder why the first part of Genesis 1:1 tells us, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The heavens would have to include the Sun, Moon, and stars, as well as all of the galaxies and everything in them. Why, then, was there darkness on the water-covered Earth? God answers that question by saying: “I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band.”

Genesis tells us that God divided the water covering the land from the water in the sky, meaning the clouds. (See Genesis 1:9-10.) We read further in Genesis 1:14-18 that God caused the clouds to clear up enough to allow the Sun and Moon to be fully visible “for signs and seasons, and for days and years” and to “give light on the earth.”

We see that God’s description of the creation process in Job clarifies some questions that the Genesis creation account leaves unanswered. But that isn’t all God said about clouds in Job 38. He challenges Job with this question in verse 34:

“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,
That an abundance of water may cover you?”

God verifies that clouds are made of water, and as Genesis tells us, God divided the water on the surface from the water in the air. So how did God make the water float in the air? Are the clouds defying gravity, or is this an optical illusion? Is God breaking His own laws of physics, or is He fooling us? The answer is – we are out of time for today. But tomorrow, we will answer the puzzling question, “How can clouds float in the air?”

— Roland Earnst © 2023