There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens … (Ecclesiastes 3, v1)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart …
(Ecclesiastes 3, v11)
John writes …
I quoted these verses at the front of my PhD thesis many years ago. They sandwich a passage in which ‘[there is] a time to …’ as used in the folk song ‘Turn, turn, turn.’ Many people have some familiarity with at least part of the passage without knowing that it comes from the Bible. The version of ‘Turn, turn, turn’ recorded in 1966 by Pete Seeger was recently played on BBC radio. It was obvious that the programme’s presenter was one of those who do not know that the words are Biblical – he ascribed them to the anti-war movement of the 1960s.
In recent days I have gone back to these verses and again thought about them in relation to the creation. The existence of seasons results from the way our planet is set up but it doesn’t have to be that way. Planets without seasons are perfectly good planets. So, as I enjoy the lovely autumn colours and indeed understand the underlying biology, I thank God that He has made everything beautiful in its time.
But that also challenges me. Autumns are getting warmer; the biological changes, except those driven entirely by day-length, are occurring later. Ecosystems are changing because the climate is changing; this is a matter for prayer and urgent action.
All pictures are credited to the author.
John Bryant and Graham Swinerd comment on biology, physics and faith.