Impact Events

Earth exhibits remarkable characteristics such as massive volcanic eruptions, enduring magnetic fields, majestic mountain vistas, an oxygen-rich atmosphere, and long-lived oceans. While each of these highlight different ways Earth appears designed to support life, they also serve as useful illustrations of biblical principles. The third installment of the Impact Events series describes the details.

I distinctly remember where I was on October 16th, 1999, at 2:45 AM. I awakened about 10 seconds before a large (magnitude 7.1) earthquake struck about 80 miles away. As my house rocked like a boat in the ocean, I stepped out of bed, walked a few steps into my kids’ bedroom to make sure they were safe, then calmly returned to bed. The shaking stopped a few seconds later. Nothing I did affected the earthquake one iota.

From a purely physical perspective, humanity’s most significant influence on the planet pales in comparison to events that regularly occur throughout Earth’s history (and will continue to in the future). Yet, those physical events reveal just how much God cares for us and how He wants us to grow.

So, how does a one-million-year-long volcanic eruption, which spewed enough lava to cover the United States a quarter-mile deep, reflect God’s care—especially since it led to the most devastating extinction event in Earth’s history? First, any planet with active plate tectonics will experience volcanism and earthquakes. Abundant research shows the important role that active plate tectonics play in preparing Earth for more advanced life and for maintaining its habitability.

An interesting parallel exists in how a Christian experiences spiritual growth. Romans 5:3–5 (and James 1:2—4) clearly states that all Christians will experience trials and tribulations, but we are called to respond with gratitude, because those challenges ultimately produce growth and maturity.

One finds a similar parallel when considering the protection and guidance provided by Earth’s magnetic field. Without this field, Earth would have lost all its water long ago and become a barren wasteland like Venus. Earth’s magnetic field also provides direction for human and animal navigation. In an analogous way, the Holy Spirit dwells in every Christian, offering protection and guidance to all who allow Him control.

Plate tectonics, volcanoes, and earth’s magnetic field provide a few examples of God’s impact in creation and in our lives. Coauthor Ken Hultgren and I offer more examples in the recently released third installment of the Impact Events student devotional series. God wants to have an impact in your life. Are you willing to let Him?

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