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The Book of Job and the ice age


Antarctic Peninsula, Paradise Bay -- tonykliemann/Flickr/Creative Commons

Antarctic Peninsula, Paradise Bay — tonykliemann/Flickr/Creative Commons

Theologians consider the Book of Job as one of the oldest books of the Bible. It is generally believed to have been written during the time of the early patriarchs, shortly after Noah’s flood.

There is an interesting feature about Job. It refers to ice and snow more than any other book in the Bible.

It not only discusses ice and snow, but does it in a much more descriptive way.

Out of the South comes the storm.
And out of the North comes the cold
From the breath of God ice is made
And the expanse of the water is frozen. (Job 37:9-10 NASV)

The word expanse is translated in another version “broad waters” refers to massive bodies of ice. Job was describing a sea of frozen ice. Considering Job lived in the Middle East, where did he get this idea?

Then he throws out another depiction:

From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens

30 when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen?
(Job 38:29-30 NIV)

In this verse, he talks about the deepness of the water being frozen or imprisoned. The Hebrew word “tehom” refers to deeps, abyss and great quantities of water.

This is not just the surface being frozen over, but thick quantities of ice, miles deep.

Dr. Henry Morris founder of Institute of Creation Research believes these strange references in Job describe the Ice Age when glaciers covered parts of the Northern Hemisphere including much of Canada, Russia and Europe.

Though scientists believe there were several ice ages, Morris believes there was only one. As he points out in his article, The Ice Age, these same scientists acknowledge there were men around during these ice ages and they were dramatically impacted by it.

One of the problems of the ice age is coming up with a reasonable explanation of where all the water came from needed to cover nearly a third of the earth with ice. It is believed the ice was  up to three to four kilometers high (one to two miles) and in North American extended down to Wisconsin and New York City.

For the ice to move outwards from the polar caps, two things needed to take place. First there needed to be a cooling and some believe this meant summer temperatures in the US of just 58 F. There also needed to be a dramatic and rapid increase of water.

Scientists offer no reasonable explanation of how this happened, other than it did.

Morris believes that a world-wide flood as outlined in the Book of Genesis is the best explanation of what caused the ice age. It would not only have helped cool the earth, but would have been the source of the massive quantities of water needed to precipitate ice on the earth’s surface two miles high.

When the Bible speaks of the flood, it says it was not only caused by a massive rain, but also by the fountains of the deep opening up and unleashing water on the earth’s surface (Genesis 7:11).

Job probably never saw the glaciers associated with the ice age, but obviously had heard about it from others.

In his article, Job’s icy vocabulary, James Johnson says the several descriptions of ice in the book (Job 6:16, 37:6; 37:10; 38:22, 38:29-30) tells us it was on the mind of the writer.

Being from one of the more frigid parts of Canada, I understand that. We don’t talk about Palm trees very much because there aren’t any around. But ice and snow are a popular topics of conversation because we have lots of it.

This suggests the Middle East climate where Job lived was undoubtedly cooler as a result of the ice age.

So when Job brings up cold and ice he was describing life as he knew it.  Job was also clear about one more thing, God was the cause.

Sources:

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