[Originally published as God’s Promise of Winter]
When Noah left the ark, God gave him the promise that he would never flood the entire world again. This promise is used as evidence that Noah’s Flood was indeed a global flood, for there have been many local floods since that time. If Noah’s Flood was just a large local flood, then what did God’s promise mean? God keeps his word; there will never be another global flood.
But, there is another promise which God gave to Noah that has been overlooked, forgotten. God promised Noah in Genesis 8:22,
While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
In this time of paranoia over climate change, this is a promise that needs to be remembered. We can trust God to keep his word. God is the ultimate sustainer and provider. He has promised there will be cyclic seasons. Winter is his design, providing a cooling system for the earth that purifies the water and renews the soil.
God created winter by tilting the earth’s axis 23.5 degrees. Without a tilt, the entire earth would receive twelve hours of sunlight followed by twelve hours of darkness every twenty-four hours.
There would still be a temperature change depending on the distance from the equator. The polar regions would receive angled, not as intense, radiation from the sun and thereby stay cooler, while the equator would receive direct overhead radiation. It would be a gradient change without any extreme variations, so there would be no storms, strong wind, or snow. The equator would constantly be hot during the day and cool at night, while the poles would be cool but not freezing.
But, with the tilt, one pole is in total darkness while the other has total sunlight on a six-month rotating basis. Every year both poles experience winter followed by spring and summer, just as God promised. This polar summer sunlight is angled, not directly overhead, but it is constant without the cooling effect of night, so the heat gradually builds, and most of the ice and snow that accumulated over the winter melts by late summer.
Greenland, arctic sea ice, and Antarctica are the exceptions. Here the snow and ice accumulate over the years. Although there is some melting during the summer, as would be expected, most of it remains through the summer, only to be added to the following winter. Eight WWII planes that made an emergency landing in Greenland in July 1942 testify to just how quickly the ice can accumulate. Fifty years later, the planes were found buried under 260 feet of ice.
Interestingly, the 260 feet of ice consisted of thin layers, making it appear as if accumulation took place over thousands of years, not just 50.
In 1929, a world map was discovered in a Turkish palace. Drawn on gazelle skin and dated 1513, it shows the shoreline of Antarctica with detailed accuracy—a shoreline that today is hidden by ice. The map is the work of Piri Reis, a cartographer and admiral in the Turkish army. On the map, he documented the twenty earlier maps he had used when making this compilation. It would appear that since the flood, the ice on Antarctica has slowly accumulated until today the entire continent is buried under seven million cubic miles of ice.
But, there is no need to worry about melting ice causing the oceans to rise and earth’s coastline to flood. God has promised winter will follow summer. While ice melts at one pole, water freezes at the other. There is a balance in nature because God put it there.