Once while driving home through Gap Creek, I witnessed a wonder I had never seen. There I saw low lying clouds, blanketing a knob, flash into a torrent of snowflakes—instant paisley swirls of white. The squall caught my breath, and I would have forever second-guessed what I had seen, but the phenomenon repeated itself twice more within a minute on my trek home.  That snowflakes could form in an instant had never occurred to me before.

What makes them flakes are their two-dimensional, delicate nature. Snowflakes are intricate ice crystals that grow in hexagonal designs with branches extending outward in six directions with perfect symmetry.  Some variations have three sides (triangle flakes), and some have twelve, but never eight, five, four, or any other number.  They say no two snowflakes are alike, and considering the number of permutations one can get by arranging 1018 molecules of H₂O in different ways, that seems reasonable.

Look at these amazing, natural snowflakes. Each is a work of art, worthy of a mat and frame:

A dark gray collage with four real snowflake macro photographs

There are scientific explanations for how snowflakes grow in these symmetric patterns. According to an article in Scientific American, “molecules tend to settle in the lowest-energy state, and that almost always involves some form of symmetry. The higher the symmetry, the more stable the crystal is.” However, when considering why the shapes are so elaborate, the author said, “Nobody has a good answer for that.”

I think there is a good answer; like all forms of art and invention, there is a driving, creative force. Consider the magnitude. Even a single cubic foot of snow contains a billion flakes; each has an original pattern; incalculable numbers of them are formed in the sky, sometimes in an instant. What artist, what craftsman could come up with even a single one of these designs in a moment?

Of course, the task is beyond any earthly craftsman. But the creation of water, with its ability to crystallize into perfect winter doilies, is nothing short of the genius of God. Being the Creator, He is the One who created energy, atoms, states of matter (solid, liquid, gas), properties of matter, molecular bonds—the whole of what falls under the umbrellas of physics, chemistry, and mathematics.  God made the laws of nature that govern how atoms combine into molecules and into the strange things those molecules are—even strange enough to grow fantastic crystals when, as liquids, they cool into solids. So water, in the right conditions of humidity and temperature, becomes snow.

How dull we are to not be moved by instance after instance of indescribable beauty all around us? Does not the brilliant signature of God convince us that He is?  What kind of happy accident is this universe, what with rain, rainbows, sunsets, snow-capped mountains, flowers, birds, fish, animals, plants and herbs that are safe to eat, pleasures innumerable, and the ability for us to appreciate and revel in it all?

The next time you have a breath-taking experience, ponder this: That the amazing world in which you live is the work of a providential, loving, wise Creator. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights.” (James 1:17)


Photo credits

“Blowing Snow on Round Bald” (Cover Photo) by Eric Jon Job
Dark Gray Collage with Four real Snowflake Macro Photos” by Alexey Kljatov on 123RF Stock Photo (licensed)