Snow Is a Blessing from God

Snow Is a Blessing from God

I just spent an hour moving snow. Blowing out the driveway, digging out the mailbox, and leaving early to get to any appointment is ordinary for us during the Michigan winter months. People moan and complain about it, yet snow is a blessing from God.

Most of us know about igloos used by people in the far north to shield themselves from super cold conditions. Snow is an excellent insulator, preserving plants and small animals during the cold winter months. I am always concerned when we don’t have snow during the very cold days because my roses suffer. Small animals also are very active beneath the snow. Not only does the snow protect them from the cold, but also from predators.

Snow is a blessing from God. In Job 38:22, God refers to the storehouse of the snow. In many areas of the world, mountain snow stores water that melts in the spring and summer, supplying a constant water supply to arid and semi-arid locations. When additional layers compact the snow, it behaves as a fluid and actually flows. We call that a glacier and glacial ice can store massive quantities of water. One of the concerns about climate change is that if the glacial ice melts, the sea level will rise, threatening populations worldwide.

Snow exists only because of the unusual properties of the water molecule. The water molecule is polar instead of being linear (H – O – H), as you might expect. Both hydrogen atoms are on one side of the water molecule, with the oxygen atom on the other side. (We have discussed the polar nature of the water molecule previously on this website.) When the temperature is low enough, one molecule will attach itself to another, and because of water’s unique molecular structure, they form a lattice at many different angles.

If you haven’t looked carefully at snowflakes, please do so. Snowflakes are all hexagonal with six sides, but they are all different with unusual spacing that gives them a lower density than water. For this same reason, ice is less dense than water, and it forms on the surface of a lake and does not sink to the bottom. Usually, solid forms of materials are more dense than their liquid forms, but that is not the case with water. Otherwise, a lake would freeze solid and kill all the fish and other creatures living there.

This design of water is a testimony to God’s wisdom that we see in every corner of His creation. In Job 38:29-30, God reminds Job of His design of snow and ice by saying, “From whose womb comes the ice? Who gives birth to the frost from heaven when the waters become hard as stone when the surface of the deep is frozen?” We have learned much about the design of water since Job’s day, but the message of creation to us is the same as it was to Job. Snow is a blessing from God.

— John N. Clayton © 2022

Importance of Ice in Earth’s Design

Importance of Ice in Earth's Design - Snow on Mountains

In a recent discussion about global warming, a man said to me that we would be better of if we could get rid of all the ice on Earth. I’m sure some of that sentiment came because we were in the midst of an ice storm. We get lots of snow in Michigan, but when the temperature is zero degrees outside, we don’t see freezing rain, just snow. Another member of the discussion pointed out the need for ice so he could do his favorite sport of ice fishing. In truth, the importance of ice is more than just ice-fishing or winter sports.

The design of the water molecule allows us to have ice, and without it, planet Earth would be in serious trouble. The water molecule is polar, meaning that it has a positive end and a negative end. When water freezes, the positive end of one molecule attaches to the negative end of another molecule. If the temperature is low enough, we have a rigid form of water we call ice.

Many people don’t realize the importance of ice. It is a major design feature of Earth and its ecosystems. Ice has a lower density than liquid water, which allows lakes to freeze from the top. That provides winter protection for all the life that lives in water environments. Marine and freshwater life-forms of both animals and plants could not exist if it were not for the design of the water molecule and the formation of ice.

Ice is also a significant controller of the water cycle on Earth. Job 37:6 indicates that snow is a conscious creation of God. Job 38:22 speaks of the “treasures of the snow” which God says He has “reserved against a time of trouble.” People living in the western United States can tell you of the importance of snow and ice, which locks up water in the winter so that it is available during the heat of the summer. If all the ice on planet Earth melted, what would happen to the sea level? There are debates about how much the oceans would rise, but there is no question but that the state of Florida would be submerged.

Ice in the form of snow cleans our air. It provides insulation in very cold places allowing mammals to survive underground during the winter months. We should not underestimate the importance of ice because it is truly a treasure in whatever form it comes. We must do what we can to maintain the water cycle and the balance that God built into the design of planet Earth.

— John N. Clayton © 2020

Design of Snow Is Awesome

Design of Snow Is Awesome
As I write this, we are sitting here in Michigan after having experienced a record snowfall for one day. As we shovel and snow-blow our driveways and around our mailboxes, we hear a great deal of abusive language from our neighbors. Still, there is a great deal of good in every snowflake because of the design of snow.

It is not just the aesthetic value of snowflakes that makes them good, although that certainly is a wonderful thing to see under a hand lens or microscope. The snow has a variety of other positive attributes designed into its structure.

A snowflake is made of water which is a polar molecule meaning that it has a positive and a negative end. The reason ice forms and water expands as it freezes is that the positive end of one molecule is attracted to the negative end of the next molecule. This structure also allows the snowflake to attract particles in the atmosphere that have a polar makeup. Salt, for example, has a sodium atom which has a plus charge, attracted to chlorine which has a negative charge. A salt molecule in the atmosphere will be attracted to a snowflake. Even molecules such as carbon compounds, which do not generally have a polarity, are attracted to the snowflakes. Snow cleans the air, and many of us enjoy being outside when it is snowing because of the freshness and purity it gives the air.

Snow stores water in places where water shortages are a problem. The western United States gets heavy snow in the mountains in winter. Water has a high heat of fusion. What that means is that it takes extra energy to melt ice–80 calories per gram of ice to be exact. For that reason, snow stays in the solid state for a long time after the temperature has risen above freezing. That allows snow to melt slowly sending a constant supply of water to dry areas at lower elevations.

The design of snow is also friendly to animals, especially small animals. When the snow is finally off the ground here in Michigan, there will be small tunnels visible in the ground where mice, voles, squirrels, and other small animals have built passageways under the snow. The low temperatures of the air in winter are not a problem for these animals because the snow is a good insulator. Predators cannot easily get to the animals because the snow covers them from aerial attacks.

Water is unique in many ways. Its freezing temperature and its boiling temperature are only 100 Celsius degrees apart. That allows water to exist on our planet as a solid, a liquid, and a gas. Each of those states of water allows some form of life to exist.

In Job 38:22 God questions Job, “Have you entered into the treasures of the snow? Or have you seen the treasures of ice which I have reserved against the time of trouble…” The Hebrew word translated “treasure” in this verse is atsar meaning “a thing laid up.” It is doubtful that Job knew anything about the water cycle or how he benefited from snow. But the God who designed snow and its role on Earth to benefit humans and all living things certainly knew all about the design of snow.
–John N. Clayton © 2018
Michigan also has “summer snow”