Snowflake: The beauty of winter

Snowflake: The beauty of winter

Winter time is a time of extreme beauty and frigid temperatures, at least in the upper parts of the northern hemisphere where I live. We recently got our first snowfall of the season and that inspired me to think about the uniqueness of snowflakes and how they fit into the creationist worldview. This article is a culmination of those thoughts.

For anyone who may live near the equator and thus has never seen one, a snowflake is merely water frozen into ice that falls as precipitation. For those of us who live in the northern hemisphere and experience the joys of a winter wonderland each year, snow is much more than that. Snow is a fixture of the season, with many people feeling that Christmas is not complete unless the snow is on the ground or falling through the air. Snow has become something of a symbol of winter in the western world. No Christmas movie is complete without a few snowflakes. There are even a few Christmas movies which utilize the presence or absence of snow as a central plot point.  However, there is far more to snow than its appealing aesthetic.

Snowflakes form from water and a small particle of dust or other debris in the upper atmosphere.  The water condenses around the dust particle, forming the nucleus of a snowflake.  This nucleus is called an ice crystal. The shape of the crystal is determined by the temperature of the atmosphere. The closer the temperature is to the melting point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, the more elongated the structure will be. The crystal will always be six-sided, due to the internal organization of water molecules.  As the ice crystal descends through the atmosphere, it collects other crystals, which attach together to form the beautiful six arm crystalline structure of a snowflake.  The pattern is ever changing as atmospheric conditions around the snowflake change. Thus a snowflake might begin to build with one pattern, then switch to another as the conditions around it change. However, since each arm of the flake goes through the same area, each will have an identical pattern to all the other arms. Due to the fact that no snowflake takes an identical path from the atmosphere to the ground, no two snowflakes are identical.  This creates some stunning visual displays, particularly when viewed under a microscope. Since snow is white, it also reflects light quite well. Thus it can be a night with no moon, and there may still be enough natural light to see a fair distance. This is due to the snow not allowing the little light there is to be absorbed by the ground. It is instead reflected into the air, allowing the night traveler to find his way with greater ease.  Snowflakes are classified into eight different types, depending on shape and size.

Snowflakes, while beautiful, have little to no bearing on the origins debate, except as an illustration. Every individual snowflake has a unique form and pattern to it. If evolution were true, we would expect there to be perhaps a few standard forms that had minor variations but were frequently duplicated. This is not the case. Further, the snowflake illustrates the attention to detail of the master designer. Snowflakes are far too small for a man to see their detail with his unaided eye. To observe the form of an individual snowflake, a microscope must be used. God could easily have designed snowflakes to be duplication’s of one another, to have one or two basic forms and nothing else.  Instead, He chose to design each and every one as its own unique work of art.  If the Designer of the universe, Almighty God Himself took time to design each snowflake that falls, how much more time will He take to attend to the needs of man made in His image? That is the illustration of the snowflake. The care God bestowed upon designing the snowflake pales in comparison to the care He bestows upon us each day.

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