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Question and Answer

Are changing seasons a result of the fall?


Are the changing seasons (spring, summer, autumn and winter) a result of the fall?


In answer to your question, as best as I can gather from the text of Scripture, the changing seasons are part of God's original creation pattern and are not due to the Fall. (However, undoubtedly the negative response to these changing seasons that comes for instance in the form of "seasonal affective disorder" is a result of man's fallen condition).

The reasons for seeing the seasonal changes as part of creation are several. Firstly, in Genesis 1 we read of the "plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit" (vs. 11). In other parts of Scripture, for example Psalm 1:3 we read of this growth taking place "in season." Also see Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted." Although there are other things in this list that pertain only to the world as "bent" by the fall (like a "time to die" or "time to kill"), the seasonal pattern of sowing and reaping in other parts of the wisdom literature seem to be of God's original design (cf. Prov. 6:8).

Secondly, in God's promise (covenant) to Noah where he vows to maintain the integrity and vitality of the creation, the Lord says, "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease" (Gen. 8:22). This almost certainly points to the fact that what is upheld is what was established from the beginning. Paul refers to this in his speech to the Gentiles at Lystra where he says, "Yet he (God) did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness" (Acts 14:17).

Thirdly, and more from a "general revelation" perspective, the seasons are more or less built-in to the way in which the earth rotates around the sun once every year, so that the northern hemisphere is closer for half the year and the southern hemisphere is closer the other half. If we believe that the earth's daily orbit and annual rotation is how God ordained the "evening and morning" as well as the "summer and winter", then it seems we should have no problem affirming that the temporal and seasonal patterns and rhythms are part of our Creator's wonderful handiwork.

About Q&A

"Questions and Answers" is a weekly feature of the OPC website. The answers come from individual ministers in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressing their own convictions and do not necessarily represent an "official" position of the Church, especially in areas where the Standards of the Church (the Scriptures and the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms) are silent.

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