“The Fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I alone has escaped to tell you.” Job 1:16
Can the Devil control the weather? It may seem like a pretty esoteric question, but I wonder if it isn’t quite relevant. In a culture fixated by the weather, and especially after a year dominated by weather related stories, it may be worth asking who is at the wheel.
In general, we think of the weather as an “act of God.” So much so that this is the official term used by most insurance companies to identify things like lightning strikes and tornados. And certainly, there are lots of scripture references that back this point of view up. The Word regularly points to weather events as evidence of His wrath or mercy. From Elijah’s miraculous drought and rain, to Revelation’s angels holding back the four winds. And yet, that’s not the whole story.
In Job, Satan is apparently able to make fire fall from heaven to kills Job’s flocks and a great wind destroy a house with all of Job’s kids inside. Now admittedly, fire from the sky the sky is not exactly a normal weather event, but the wind is certainly normal enough. And you might notice that Job’s servant reports the fire thing as “The Fire of God.” In his mind too, such an event is God’s pervue only. In fact the central thread in Job revolves around very wise, sincere believers who mistake Satan’s activity as God’s judgment. But wait, there’s more...
“...then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.” Matt 8:26
Did you ever think about this verse – Jesus rebukes the weather. Where I come from you only rebuke someone who is misbehaving, but maybe that’s just me. Was the wind somehow misbehaving? The Word says the disciples were afraid for their lives, so we can guess that the storm was significant, but is it possible that it was some kind of an attack, that in some way the weather had turned against Jesus and his disciples? (which reminds me of the withered fig tree – a story that totally bends my noodle, but I digress...)
We’re told that the Devil is the Prince of the Power of the Air (Eph 2:2). Satan huffs and puffs and blows Job Jr’s house down. Jesus sees something about a storm that isn’t right and commands it to get its act together. It would appear that there’s more to this weather thing than what we se at first glance.
Perhaps the real problem is that we still tend to think of the weather as simply happening instead of seeing it as a process that is constantly unfolding. Despite the 24-hour weather channel and the Doppler 800, we still tend to think of storms or heat waves as discreet events that have an immediate and direct cause. Something ‘happened’ and now we have a tornado.
But let me get back to my original point – can the Devil control the weather? Well there at least seems to be the suggestion that he can influence it given the opportunity, and weather control is one the A-1 Big Time Golden Fleece goals of the modern world. At it’s heart, the entire debate about global warming hinges on weather control - the assertion that the weather and climate CAN be effected directly and that if we accidentally screwed it up in the past, we can deliberately fix it now. Now the global warming question is pretty mainstream as far as that goes, but there are subcultures out there who are far more direct about it. See the link at the top of this page for a guy who claims unspecified agencies in the world are engaged in a secret weather war using fancy weather shaping technology. Opposite the camp that is willing to say weather control is within man’s reach is the crowd who asserts that the weather is specifically and unambiguously in the realm of God. Atop both of these is the increasingly intense focus our media puts on the weather. Hurricane Katrina was recently rated as the biggest story of 2005.
Imagine a man stepping onto this stage who can demonstrate his personal ability to control the weather. Whether by saying the magic words or by pushing buttons on a remote control – how would such a man be seen in today’s world? For a populations increasingly fearful of the next ice storm, or the next heat wave, or the next partly cloudy day, such a person would be seen as something of a savior. For those who already think the weather is controllable with the right tools, here is a leader – a man after their own hearts and aims with the proper tools. For those who insist that the weather responds only to God – they may find themselves with some very difficult choices to make.
“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” Matt 24:24