Clouds are always interesting to look at, most times we can see different shapes in them that captures our imaginations, but what exactly are clouds?, how are they made?. On Earth the condensing substance that form clouds is typically water vapor, which forms small droplets or ice crystals. When surrounded by billions of other droplets or crystals they become visible as clouds. Dense deep clouds exhibit a high reflectance throughout the visible range of wavelengths; they therefore appear white, at least from the top. Cloud droplets tend to scatter light efficiently, so that the intensity of the solar radiation decreases with depth into the gases, hence the gray or even sometimes dark appearance at the cloud base. Thin clouds may appear to have acquired the color of their environment or background and clouds illuminated by non-white light, such as during sunrise or sunset, may appear colored accordingly. Clouds look darker in the near-infrared because water absorbs solar radiation at those wavelengths.
God’s Presence and Glory in the Clouds
Clouds are used many times in the Bible to describe the Glory of God. The metaphoric and symbolic uses of clouds are many, and furnishes some of the most powerful figures of the Bible. In the Old Testament, God’s presence is made manifest and His glory is shown forth in a cloud. The cloud is usually spoken of as bright and shining, and it could not be fathomed by man:
“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” Matthew 17:5
God Himself was present in the cloud (Ex 19:9; Ex 24:16; Ex 34:5) and His glory filled the places where the cloud was (Ex 16:10; Ex 40:38; Num 10:34); “The cloud filled the house of God” (1 Kings 8:10). In the New Testament we often have “the Son of man coming on” or “with clouds” (Mat 24:30; Mat 26:64; Mark 13:26; Mark 14:62; Luke 21:27) and received up by clouds (Acts 1:9). The glory of the second coming is indicated in Rev 1:7 for “he cometh with the clouds” and “we that are alive …. shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord” and dwell with Him (1 Thess 4:17). – Bible History.com
Below are some of the most beautiful Creative Commons images of natural cloud formations.
All sizes of these photos are available for download under a Creative Commons license.
Click image to see all sizes on Flickr.