In Job 38, God asks Job a series of mind-boggling questions. He desired to show Job His infinite wisdom and power. He also wanted to produce humility in Job. God’s wisdom and power are seen in the magnificent design of the universe. One aspect of that design is snow. God asks Job, “Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? Or, hast thou seen the treasures of the hail?, which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?” (Job 38:22-23). What are the treasures of the snow?
What Is Snow?
The word snow means, “crystallized rain.” Snow is formed when water molecules collect around a piece of dirt and are frozen. The temperature must be just right for snow to form. The temperature at the top of a cloud must be at least 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It can be so cold that it cannot snow. Snow forms because there is water vapor in the air. You cannot see this water vapor, but there is enough in the air to cover the earth with three feet of water! (ThinkQuest.org). The water vapor sticks to a dirt particle. It sticks because of the design of the water molecule which has a 105-degree angle between the hydrogen atoms. This allows the water molecules to be polar in nature–having a positive and negative end (Does God Exist, p. 24 No.v/Dec. 2011). The water molecules form around a speck of dust to make the crystal. The dust can be volcanic ash, man-made pollution, or a particle from outer space. This process removes particulate matter from the atmosphere and cleans the air. As the crystal grows around that speck of dust, its shape is altered by humidity, temperature, and wind. This is why the flakes seem different when we see them on the earth.
It is a myth that no two snow flakes are alike. Scientists have identified six types of snowflakes: hexagonal plate, irregular column, a needle, stellar plate, spatial dendrites, and capped columns. Even though there are various shapes, all snowflakes are six sided.
Snow consists of water, dirt (soil particles), and nutrients including nitrogen and sulphur. There is more nitrogen in snow now because of acid rain. When snow with nitrogen falls to the ground, it acts as a natural fertilizer and increases the acidity of the soil (The weathernotebook.org). Snow is nature’s fertilizer sometimes called, “Poor Farmer’s Fertilizer!”
Amazing Facts About Snow
The word snow is of English origin. It has four letters and one syllable. It is pronounced, snow! It is sometimes used as a name. In 2010, it was not one of the top 1,000 most popular girls names in the U.S. Variant spellings include the word snowy. Snow has no nicknames! (However, I would suggest, flaky).
Snow can be found all over the world. Even near the equator at high elevations. Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania has the only permanent snow cap within site of the equator. Permanent snow and ice cover about 12% (21 million square kilometers) of the earth’s surface. 80% of the world’s fresh water is locked up in snow and ice. The regions of permanent snow and ice are called cryospheres. They are located in the Arctic (North Pole) and the Antarctic (South Pole) regions of the world.
The average snowflake has a top speed of 1.7 metres per second. A single snowstorm can drop 40 million tons of snow! This carries the energy equivalent of 120 atom bombs! The most snow produced in a single snowstorm is 4.8 metres (15.75 feet) at Mt. Shasta Ski Bowl, in California, USA on Feb. 13-19, 1959. The largest snowflake recorded was 15 inches in diameter found in Montana in 1887 (Does God Exist, Nov./Dec. 2011, p. 24). Each year, an average of 105 snow-producing storms affect the continental U.S. Practically every location in the U.S. has seen snowfall. Even most portions of Florida have seen a few flurries. In the western U.S., mountain snow packs contribute up to 75% of all year-round surface water supplies.
The commonly used ratio, one to ten, of snowfall to water content is a myth for much of the U.S. This ratio varies from as low as 100 to one to as high as three to one depending upon meteorological conditions associated with the snowfall (National Snow and Ice Data Center).
What are the Treasures of the Snow?
Snow is an important source of fresh drinking water. Psa. 33:7 may be referring to snow and ice. “He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses” Snow has an effect on the earth’s climate. It reflects sunlight and so heats the atmosphere and helps make wind currents. Snow contains nutrients that help fertilize and renew the earth’s ability to produce food. Snow and ice (hail) have been used by God to plague man for disobedience (one of the ten plagues was hail-Exodus 9) and to fight battles and win victories for His people (Joshua 10:11). Snow has an aesthetic quality and provides beauty in the midst of cold and dreariness. Snow is used for recreation and enjoyment by skiers, sledders and wintertime outdoor enthusiasts. Snow provides insulation for animals, man and plants. Freshly fallen snow is between 90 and 95 percent air, so it is a good thermal insulator. Snow cover actually helps animals, some people, and plants survive the long winters and harsh conditions. Snow prevents frost heave and keeps your spring flowering bulbs in the ground during the winter. Snow purifies the air that we breathe. And, yes, you can eat snow! But, don’t eat yellow snow!
The treasures of the snow relate to every aspect of our lives on the earth. They related to the air we breathe, the water that we drink, and the food that we eat. Could we live without snow? No. God’s wisdom produces marvelous things like snow that stir our imaginations and freeze our fingers and toes!