I am a meteorologist and a former youth leader at church…I have a lot to say on both subjects…and then some
As the previous week has drawn to a close and the new week is just beginning, Mary and I just passed the 6 months mark. It is hard to believe in some ways, in others, it barely seems that it has been that long. This is one of the longer relationships that I have had, and one of quality to boot! In previous relationships, there was always something missing from the relationship that I could never put my finger on. I know now that it was God in the middle of the relationship and He has made all of the difference. So here we are 6 months later, and still saying cheesey things to each other and enjoying each others company. So what will the next 6 months hold? I don’t know but if it has been like my spiritual journey, I look back every 6 months and just say, “Wow!”
M&J – 6 Months Wow!
My name is Trent Salvaggio (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I am a college senior at Charleston Southern University here in Charleston, SC. I came across your site while searching the internet for resources who may be able to assist me. I am leading a group project on the relationship of Meteorology and Judeo-Christianity for a course I am currently enrolled in. Part of my work is to gain insight from as many “experts” as I can by having them answer some questions that we, as a team, have come up with (it has proven to be very difficult to find such people though). While I am sure that your schedule is extremely busy, I am hoping that you may be able to spare a few minutes of your time to help. Thanks in advance for whatever help you (or anyone you may know) can offer.
Oops, I just realized that I did not attach the questions. Sorry about that. Thanks again for any help you may be able to offer!
1) Astrophysicist Donald Menzel of Harvard once suggested that the pillar of fire of the Old Testament was nothing more than a sun pillar. Does such a suggestion have any plausibility? Why?
2) Scholars at times have proposed that the Burning Bush as well as the “glories” around the heads of religious leader were merely corona discharge phenomena. Is that a reasonable proposal? Why?
3) The emperor Constantine was converted to Christianity by his “vision” of a cross in the sky. Some meteorologists have claimed that he say a combination of a sun pillar and the parhelic circle (atmospheric halo phenomena). Is this a reasonable suggestion?
4) Could the Cloudy pillar have been merely a tornado superstitiously interpreted? Why or why not?
5) Does the bible teach that tornadoes are controlled by evil spirits? How do we know they are not controlled by evil spirits? When Jesus commanded the storm to “be still” is there an implication that storms can respond and say: “O.K., I will be still”? Otherwise, why bother speaking words- just make it happen.
6) Baal, the pagan deity, was called the “cloud-Rider.” Likewise, Yahweh is said to “ride on clouds” and some theologians claim that Yahweh is merely a personification of the natural forces involved in electrical storms. After all, the Hebrew word for “spirit” (ruach) as well as the Greek word (pneuma) can also be translated simply as “wind”. Thunder is called God’s voice and so on. Others have asked, similarly, “Isn’t the association of rainbows with theophanies (as in Ezekiel) and indication of natural storm phenomena?” Of course, the blastoff of a Saturn V rocket manifests many storm phenomena as well, but it is not merely a “natural phenomenon” since it is a device piloted and designed by intelligent beings. How can one decide which explanation, “natural” forces or “intelligent agency” is the better explanation?
7) How do we know that aurorae are not due to the flashing of angelic “light sabers” or “swords of fire” as it was once believed?
8) Does it make any sense to claim, as some scientist have that a “strong east wind” could naturally explain the events of Exod. 14 (Division of the Red Sea)? Why or why not?
9) Clouds at the tops of mountains are a common natural phenomenon arising from either orographic lifting or volcanic activity. “Nephele” is the name of a Greek deity but also means “cloud”. A cloud enveloped the top of Mt. Sinai during the Sinaitic theophany and a cloud enveloped the “Mount of Transfiguration”. At the Ascension “a cloud received him out of their sight” and Christ is to “come with the clouds of heaven”. Can the claim hat these “clouds” were supernatural “clouds of glory” and not mere natural clouds superstitiously or ignorantly misunderstood be persuasively defended without appeal to irrational leaps of faith?
10) Introductory section of many Meteorology texts will briefly note that explaining meteorological phenomena by appeal to gods, angels or spirits had to be given up before a science of meteorology could develop. Alternately, it is said that using the supernatural (intelligent superhuman agency) to explain occurrences necessarily leads to the death of science. Are these claims accurate? Can one have a science that nonetheless allows for the activity of intelligent superhuman beings? Why or why not?
I just wanted to say, Congrats on the last 6 months!
I think of you a lot during “tomato” season.. both of my sons are really into weather, and they are teaching me about the different types of clouds. Reminds me of you as a kid…
Take care! Sam ( former neighbor)
1. First off…from a man that still refers to his love of 12 years as “Sweetie”, don’t loose the “Cheese”. If for nothing else, during an argument (which will eventually come) it’s hard for a woman to be mad at a man that say’s “…but Shmookie, I love you!”.
2. In reference to the questions from Trent…who would’a thought that the whole “Meteorology & Ministry” thing would ever come together in anyone elses mind but yours!?!? LOL…amazing! (very interesting questions too!)