Lists have been
compiled of the unique characteristics of water and the water molecule.
All life, as we know it on earth, depends significantly on this amazing
Ian Stewart, in Why
, gives this brief insight into light, “Light is
so familiar to us that we seldom think about how weird it is. It seems
to weigh nothing, it penetrates everywhere, and it enables us to see.
What is light? Electromagnetic waves. Waves in what? The space/time
continuum, which is a fancy way of saying, ‘we don’t know.’”
Something special can happen when these two enigmas
of physics come together. Light, traversing space at 186,282.4 miles
per second, slows down to about ¾ of that speed when it travels
through the denser water. However, the light is composed of a range of
electromagnetic wave lengths and along that spectrum of wave lengths
there is variation in the amount of slowdown. I could never have
imagined that white light is composed of red, orange, yellow, green,
blue, indigo and violet, but this spectrum emerges from raindrops and
Anytime you stand
facing a rainstorm with your back to bright, low-angle sunlight, that
spectrum of colored light appears in the clouds. White light entering a
raindrop divides into a spectrum of colors. That light, reflected from
the backside of raindrops travels to your eye. The red comes to you
from the drops that create the top of the bright colored arc and the
other colors are progressively lower — orange, yellow, green, blue,
indigo, and finally violet.
The resulting rainbow is mentioned in only six Bible
verses. Three are in Genesis
, culminating with verse 16, “Whenever the rainbow
appears in the clouds, I will see it … .” Other translations render
this, “… I will look upon it … .” So whenever you are looking at a
rainbow, know for sure you are not alone. There is a greater being and
higher consciousness observing that rainbow.
It might be a little awkward to imagine that you are
just doing something fun with God. However, take a leisurely look at a
rainbow and sense the presence of God there doing what He promised.
Like the tree of life, the rainbow occurs in
Genesis, Revelation, and only one Bible book in between. In 1:28
describes his vision of a radiance like a rainbow around
the one on the heavenly throne.
, John is invited to enter a door to that throne room scene. He
sees the one on the throne, but encircling that throne he sees, “A
rainbow, resembling an emerald.” I always struggled at the thought of a
green rainbow. It seemed like a contradiction of terms. Rainbows
require a variety of colors, but emerald is green. There is no
one-colored rainbow on earth, nor perhaps in this heavenly vision.
The etymology of the word “emerald” that occurs in
Wikipedia includes references to it likely deriving from Semitic words
meaning “lightning” or “shine.” Examples given include a Hebrew word.
So while in English we think of color when we hear the word emerald, I
think John, being Semitic, probably spoke of brilliance or
illumination. The word rainbow should already have addressed the matter
So, the rainbow around the throne shone with the
luster of an emerald. Today’s New
captures this essence of that rainbow
vision with the words, “A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled
the throne.” The Easy-to-Read Version
reads, “… a rainbow with clear colors like an emerald.”
With the rainbow being so scripturally tied to the
presence of God, its radiance helps us perceive attributes of God. God
cannot be fully comprehended from earth, but the bow in the clouds can
help narrow the gap. Paul informed us in Romans 1:20
that we can perceive attributes of God from the creation. This special
relation of rainbows on earth and in heaven to the presence of God puts
them in position to help us understand the magnificence and glory of
God. We come closer to realizing why God splashed beauty throughout His
creation and designed a creature in His image that can appreciate that
beauty. God created the potential for color in the electromagnetic
field, created many animals equipped to perceive the color, and created
us with the capacity to appreciate its beauty. And He placed the
rainbow in the cloud. The pathway to atheism would be a little easier
in a cosmos without rainbows.
A human fable imagines a treasure at the end of the
rainbow. With Ezekiel’s and John’s visions of heaven, it is revealed
that what we need to be seeking resides at the center of the endless
rainbow. So when you reach that point in life where there is no longer
an opportunity to look at an earthly rainbow, by the grace of God, you
can step through the door to see a brilliant one encircling the throne.
And there too is God.