Jim's Blog: Observations and Perspectives

God’s Lightnings Enlightened the World


His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. (Psalm 97:4)

My son, aged twelve, and I were discussing Benjamin Franklin earlier, and the topic was lightning and why it strikes where it strikes. It led to a discussion on his views.

Matthew writes as follows:

Ben_FranklinBen Franklin, Matthew reports, believed we would be judged by our good works, so he decided to do some good for the town of Philadelphia. He started America’s first library, etc. He decided to try and discover the mystery of electricity, so he performed experiments to see whether electricity could kill a turkey. He observed some similarities in what he observed with lightning, and found that if he put a small metal ball near a metal rod, there would be a blue spark that made a small noise, similar to what happens with lightning (though on a much grander scale in the case of lightning).

Franklin performed an experiment in which he flew a kite on a stormy day to see if he could transfer electricity from the lightning via a key that was tied to his kite and, in turn, to his finger, to be transferred to a jar to be reused.

He published details of his experiment in his almanac that year, and it caused a stir among the clergy because, in their opinion, if lightning is an act of God, then if a person or a house gets struck by it (and you are trying to prevent it by using a metal rod), then you are interfering with divine forces. Ben Franklin argued that, since we put roofs over our heads to protect us from unbearable weather, as well as rain and hail, then why should we not protect ourselves from lightning?

Thoughts and Observations from Jim and Matthew’s Discussion

This led us to look up a few Bible verses on lightning. Ephesians 1:11 makes the point that God is working all things after the counsel of His own will. So that includes lightning as a direct act of God.

Some Bible verses specifically state:

Exodus 9:23-24

And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the LORD sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the LORD rained hail upon the land of Egypt. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.

Job 37:3

He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.

Psalm 135:7

He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.

As we considered these verses, and the video clip below, we thought of how wonderfully powerful God is, able simply to send millions of volts of power surging through the atmosphere!

To find out more Bible verses on the topic, visit this site here.

Enjoy this two-minute video with HD lightning strikes!


Featured image above, www.publicdomainimages.net
"Franklin-Benjamin-LOC" by Joseph-Siffrein Duplessis - Library of Congress LC-USZ62-25564. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Franklin-Benjamin-LOC.jpg#/media/File:Franklin-Benjamin-LOC.jpg


  1. erica robb

    Excuse the pun,but what striking lightning! I was wondering what music Handel might have written to accompany these images then remembered he has already been there: the chorus of the lightnings and thunders in The Messiah. What music. What a spectacle.

  2. Jim Holmes
    Jim Holmes

    Striking indeed! Of course, Handel was no stranger to dramatic music, noted especially in the contributions he made to the pomp and circumstance of King George I sailing up and down the River Thames (the three suites making up The Water Music) and, perhaps, more significantly some years later with the Music for the Royal Fireworks (involving King George II).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *