The Splendor of Jehovah’s Creation
‘Summer and Winter Will Never Cease’
A BLISTERING sun beats down on the desert. In other parts of the earth, it brings warmth after a cold winter. Yes, the sun’s heat is one of the prime factors behind climates and seasons.
Seasonal conditions vary around the globe. But how do seasons affect you? Do you delight in the invigorating freshness of springtime when you see trees and flowers awaken? How do you feel about balmy summer evenings? Do you enjoy crisp autumn days with their dazzling displays of leaves changing colors? Are you soothed by the sight of a snow-covered forest?
What brings about the seasons? In short, the tilt of the earth. Its axis of rotation is tilted about 23.5 degrees in relation to the plane of earth’s orbit around the sun. If earth’s axis were not tilted, there would be no seasons. The climate would be the same all the time. This would affect vegetation and the cycle of crop production.
Behind the succession of seasons, one can see the hand of the Creator. Addressing Jehovah God, the psalmist aptly stated: “It was you that set up all the boundaries of the earth; summer and winter—you yourself formed them.”—Psalm 74:17.*
From the standpoint of an earthly observer, heavenly bodies serve as unmistakable indicators of seasons. When creating our solar system, God decreed: “Let luminaries come to be in the expanse of the heavens . . . , and they must serve as signs and for seasons and for days and years.” (Genesis 1:14) In the course of a year, the earth reaches two points in its orbit where the sun appears directly overhead at noon at the equator. These occurrences are called equinoxes, and in many lands they mark the beginning of spring and of autumn. During equinoxes the periods of daylight and darkness are almost equal throughout the earth.
The existence and onset of seasons does not involve astronomical movements only. Seasons, climate, and weather are all interlocked in a complex system that sustains life. Speaking to people living in Asia Minor—many of whom were very familiar with agriculture and food production—the Christian apostle Paul and his companion Barnabas stated that God is the one “giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts to the full with food and good cheer.”—Acts 14:14-17.
The marvelous process of photosynthesis supports vegetation on land and phytoplankton in the seas. Because of this, the current food chain and the web of biodiversity respond to weather and climate in intricate ways. Paul made a fitting reference to Jehovah’s hand in all of this, saying: “The ground that drinks in the rain which often comes upon it, and that then brings forth vegetation suitable to those for whom it is also cultivated, receives in return a blessing from God.”—Hebrews 6:7.
The word “blessing” takes on new meaning if you just stop and think about what happens in those places where spring brings moderate temperatures, longer days, more sunshine, and favorable rains. Flowers bloom and insects emerge from their winter sanctuaries, ready to pollinate crops. Birds, such as the blue jay you see here, fill the forest with color and song, and the landscape becomes vibrant. The pulse of life quickens, and organisms continue their life cycles of birth, rebirth, and growth. (Song of Solomon 2:12, 13) This sets the stage for harvesting in late summer or in autumn.—Exodus 23:16.
Jehovah’s works are wonderfully attested to by the motion of the earth, providing for day and night, seasons, and seedtime and harvest. We are confident that summer will follow winter. After all, it was God who promised: “For all the days the earth continues, seed sowing and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, will never cease.”—Genesis 8:22.
See the 2004 Calendar of Jehovah’s Witnesses, July/August.
[Box/Picture on page 9]
A Satellite Crucial to Life
Down through the ages, the moon has inspired and amazed humans. Do you realize, though, that the moon influences the seasons? The moon’s presence helps to regulate the earth’s obliquity, that is, the degree of tilt of its spin axis. This plays “a vital role in producing conditions on Earth that can sustain life,” states science author Andrew Hill. If there were no large natural satellite to stabilize our planet’s axial tilt, temperatures would soar and would likely make life on earth impossible. Thus, a team of astronomers concluded: “One might consider the Moon to act as a potential climate regulator for the Earth.”—Psalm 104:19.
Moon: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C./Bart O’Gara
[Picture on page 9]
Camels, North Africa and Arabian Peninsula