Originally published in Creation 12, no 4 (September 1990): 25-28.
‘Bother!’ grumbled Tom on the third wet day of half-term, ‘We can’t go out again! It’s always raining! I don’t know where it all comes from!’ ‘You’ve discovered earth is the only place in the Solar System with liquid water, so don’t grumble! Suppose you look up Ecclesiastes 1:7 in your Bible, to see where the rain comes from, and then make a drawing,’ suggested Mother.
The Bible seemed a strange science book, but Tom found these words:
‘All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.’
‘Funny!’ said Jenny, ‘where do rivers come from?’ ‘Rain,’ said Tom.
‘Well, where does that come from?’
‘The sun heats water in the seas, and evaporates it to steam—no it’s not steam, it’s water vapour, like when steam disappears in a room.’ ‘We can’t see it then,’ Jenny pointed out, and being a practical person, she switched on the electric kettle. They watched the steam come out and vanish.
‘So how do we see clouds?’ Jenny puzzled. ‘Try bringing a glass of water with ice in it near the radiator,’ advised Mum. A mist formed on the outside of the glass. ‘I see,’ said Tom. ‘The vapour must be cooled. Hot air rises and is cooled as it goes right up, so clouds form over the sea. Then the wind blows them to the land.’
‘But we’ve still got to get rain, haven’t we?’ ‘Put a lot of ice cubes in this saucepan,’ said Mum. She held it in the steam from the kettle. Very quickly, the water molecules from the steam were cooled and condensed on the outside of the saucepan and made drops of water which trickled down.
‘Oh, there’s the rain,’ said Jenny, ‘but what cools the clouds?’ ‘They may have to blow for a long way without cooling, but if they have to rise over hills or mountains they may be cooled enough to form large drops of water around particles of dust. If these are too heavy to stay up, then it rains,’ explained Mum. ‘I see.’ said Tom. ‘It rains on the hills and the water runs down as rivers back to the sea. So the same water goes round and round all the time—like the Bible verse said—so the sea doesn’t get more full. That’s clever!’
‘But who was clever?’ asked Jenny. ‘It’s God’s design for watering our world!’
‘But He once made it rain enough to cover the whole earth, didn’t He?’ Tom remembered. ‘And He can stop rain as a punishment, like He did for 3.5 years in Elijah’s time.’ ‘Yes, God warned the Israelites that if they worshipped idols He would stop the rain, so they should have known what would happen. It’s in Deuteronomy 11:16–17,’ said Mum, ‘and Paul told the people of Lystra, who worshipped Jupiter, that the true God “has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons.” So rain can teach us about God. And King David said “Sing praise to the Lord with thanksgiving … He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain“ (Psalm 147:7–8).’
‘Oh dear!’ said Tom, ‘I’d better thank God for this rain instead of grumbling, hadn’t I? We do want crops to grow!’ Tom and Jenny then sat down and drew a diagram of the water cycle.
Tom and Jenny will be back in our next issue.
If someone mentions the word ‘desert’ you may well think of the camel, for these tough animals have been used to carry people and goods across deserts for several thousand years. This very useful animal is sometimes called ‘the ship of the desert’, and it is perfectly designed for living and travelling in the desert.
In deserts there are often terrible sandstorms, so the camel has extra-long eyelashes to keep sand out of its eyes, and also has special muscles to close its nostrils to stop sand getting into its nose! Special pads on the bottom of its feet make walking on the sand much easier than if it had hard hooves like a horse, and a thick coat of hair protects the camel both from the hot midday sun and the cold desert nights.
The most wonderful thing about the camel, though, is that it can live for many days without a drink, and even for several weeks if it can find some leafy plants to eat. It can lose up to one quarter of its body water and still keep going as strongly as ever, even though it may look very thin and starved. If we lost only half that amount we would feel very ill, because our blood would become thick and sticky and our heart would find it harder to pump the blood around our bodies. But the camel does not lose any water from its blood, so its heart still works normally. After a long time without a drink, a thirsty camel can drink 27 gallons (120 litres) of water in 10 minutes!
Some people think that camels store water in the humps on their backs—there are one- and two-humped camels—but these humps really contain stores of fat, which provide the camels with extra energy when they are feeling weak after a long journey without water. There may be as much as 100 lb (50 kg) of fat in a camel’s hump. Another thing which helps the camel to live in the desert is that its body temperature drops at night, and rises slowly during the day, so that it does not start to feel very hot until the afternoon. Our temperature varies very little between night and day (unless we are ill) so we start to feel hot quite early in the day.
What a wonderful animal the camel is! Everything about it is just right for living and travelling in the desert! Do you think the camel could have evolved to be the way it is, or was it designed and created by God?
It is difficult to imagine the world being very different than it is now, but there have been two big changes since God created the earth and both of them happened because of sin.
In the very beginning there was no pain, suffering, sadness, or death. These things came into the world at the time we call ‘The Fall’, when Adam and Eve—the first people on earth—disobeyed God. But even though death and suffering came into the world, the whole world still enjoyed a good climate and there was plenty of (plant) food for people and animals. Yet, sadly, people went on disobeying God, and He had to punish the world by sending the great Flood. The Bible says that ‘The world of that time was deluged (flooded) and destroyed.’ (2 Peter 3:6). After the Flood, Noah and his family found a very different world that was harder to live in.
What a terrible thing sin is! How it has spoilt our world! In fact, sin is so terrible that the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, had to come from heaven and die on a cruel cross to save us. One day this world, with all its sin and pain, is going to come to an end but God has promised to create ‘a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.’ (2 Peter 3:13). But we have to prepare for that new world whilst we are still in this old world. And there is only one way to do this—by coming to God through Jesus!