Reasons to Believe

Oh, What a Rain: Earth’s Remarkable Water Cycle

A song I sing to my little daughter as I get her ready for the day goes like this:

If all of the raindrops
Were lemon drops and gumdrops
Oh, what a rain that would be!

I imagine that sort of “rain” would be more like a sugary hailstorm (à la Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs). While our Creator did not see fit to endow the skies with a candy dispenser, He did create a sweet water cycle perfectly suited to support life and human civilization.

Day two of the creation week (Genesis 1:6–8) provides a succinct description of the water cycle’s formation through the separation of the water on Earth’s surface from the atmospheric water above it. Based on what I can recall from grade school science class, the basics of this system include:

  1. evaporation of water particles from Earth’s oceans and other bodies of water;
  2. accumulation of water in the skies in the form of clouds;
  3. precipitation of liquid and frozen water back to Earth; and
  4. distribution of water via rivers, streams, etc., to rejoin the oceans and lakes.

And on it goes. This arrangement seemed simple enough when I was reading The Magic School Bus as a child—but RTB founder Hugh Ross points out in his booklet Genesis One that Earth’s water cycle is far more complex:

Such a water cycle demands intricate balancing of multiple factors: the physical characteristics of the Sun and Earth; the size, orientation, and average elevation of the landmasses; atmospheric composition, temperature, and pressure; wind velocities; and varied values of these atmospheric characteristics at certain altitudes above Earth’s surface. As precise as all these factors had to be to allow transformation of Earth’s atmosphere from opaque to translucent (light-penetrable), they had to be even more precise to permit a stable, life-essential water cycle.

Not only was the establishment of this life-sustaining system fine-tuned, but also its ongoing operation and maintenance appears designed to benefit Earth’s inhabitants. For example, the current arrangement of the planet’s continents ensures optimal distribution of precipitation across the globe. Moreover, plate tectonics helps maintain Earth’s liquid water supply and prevents our home from turning into another Venus or Mars—utterly barren and uninhabitable.

No wonder Scripture so often associates water with God’s provision and care. David declares in Psalm 65, “You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly.”

Thank God for those April showers!

— Maureen

Resources: For more on Earth’s remarkable water, check out the RTB resources below. Plus, keep an eye out for an upcoming Today’s New Reason to Believe series on water from guest author Dr. John Millam, starting May 20.

Subjects: Geophysical Design