Q: #203. Can Satan control the weather?
A: With weather disasters occurring around the world with greater and greater frequency, more and more people are asking, “Who is responsible for all of this?” “Is God responsible?” “Is Satan responsible?” And, of course, some simply believe that they are “natural disasters,” leaving any supernatural element out of the equation.
From a Biblical standpoint, we know that God is ultimately in control of ALL things (Jer 32:17,27)(Mt 19:26)(Gen 18:14)(Rev 19:6). When I am asked a question along this line (concerning this or any other major disaster) my response is, “Well, God either caused it or God allowed it.” What I mean by this is that since God IS in control of all things, He either caused the catastrophe to happen, or He could have done something to stop it and didn’t.
In regards to the weather, God is shown all through the Bible to be in control of it. He sends:
Hail: (Ex 9:18-26 and thunder)(Rev 16:21)(Ps 78:47)(Ps 105:32)(Hag 2:17)(Josh 10:11)
Snow/Frost: (Job 37:6)(Ps 78:47)
Rain: (Gen 2:5)(Job 37:6)(Deut 28:12)(1 Sam 12:17-18)(1 Kin 17:14)(Isa 30:23)
Lightning: (Rev 16:18 and earthquakes)(Ps 78:48)(Job 37:11)(Jer 10:13)(Jer 51:16)
Wind: (Ps 135:7)(Mk 4:39-41)(Jer 51:16)(Jonah 1:4)(Jonah 4:8)(Gen 8:1)(Ex 10:13,19)
Floods: (Ps 29:10)(Gen 6:17-7:24: Noah’s flood)
This being said, does this mean that Satan can’t control the weather? Actually, I believe a Biblical case can be made that Satan MAY have some ability to control the weather as well as God. Why? God performed numerous weather related supernatural acts in the Bible, many of which were catastrophic (some listed in the verses above i.e. Noah’s flood). Supernatural acts are often referred to as “signs” and “wonders” (i.e. the 10 plagues on Egypt: Ex 7:3, Deut 6:22, Neh 9:9-10, Jer 32:20-21). Included in those 10 “signs and wonders” is God sending hail (the 7th plague: Ex 9:13-35), which of course is controlling the weather.
The Bible also shows us that there can be Satanic supernatural acts, or “signs and wonders” as well. For example:
In (Ex 7:8-13), the evil magicians turned their staffs into snakes, just as God had done to Moses’ staff (but Moses’ snake swallowed up theirs: Ex 7:12).
In (Ex 7:20-22), the magicians turned water into blood just as God had done.
In (Ex 8:1-7), the magicians made frogs come up out out the water and cover the land, just as God had done.
(Rev 13:13-14) says the “beast” will be able to make fire come down from Heaven.
*** Note: The Bible also says that those performing these evil “signs and wonders” will become more numerous in the “end times” (Mt 24:24)(2 Th 2:9)(Rev 16:14)(Rev 19:20), and we are warned not to believe someone is from God just because they can perform these “signs and wonders” or miracles (Mt 7:22-23)(Deut 13:1-3).
This being said, it certainly seems possible to me that since controlling the weather can be a “sign” or “wonder,” and Satan, or those belonging to him can perform “signs and wonders,” that he could control the weather to some degree, and therefore could be responsible for some of our weather related disasters. In fact, one place that may show this is found in the book of Job (Job 1:6-2:8). In short, Satan wanted to attack Job, and one of the ways he did so was to cause “a great wind from the wilderness” to come and blow down the house Job’s children were in, killing them all (Job 1:19).
However, the verses in Job also led me to another point, which is that while Satan (and demonic forces) COULD possibly have some control over the weather, it is also quite possible that they may need to seek permission from God before performing many, or all Satanic attacks (not just weather related). Notice in Job, first God said Satan could attack anything Job had (Job 1:6-12), then God gave permission to attack Job physically (Job 2:1-6). In addition, Satan had to ask Jesus to “sift” Peter (Lk 22:31-32). Satan is the “tempter” (Mt 4:1-11)(1 Th 3:5), but yet God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Cor 10:13). Jesus told Pontus Pilate “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above” (Jn 19:11).
***Note: It is also interesting to note that the verses in Job say God had a “hedge” of protection around Job (Job 1:10), so maybe this is also why Satan needs to get God’s permission.
Personally though, I think it might be a stretch to say that Satan (or his demons) ALWAYS has to ask before attacking. Satan, by his nature is not one to ask for permission before doing anything, nor is he one to submit to authority. The Bible calls him the “god of this world”(2 Cor 4:4), “prince of this world” (Jn 12:31)(Jn 14:30)(Jn 16:11), and “prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2). He clearly has the ability to do such things as make people sick (Lk 13:16)(2 Cor 12:7) (Acts 10:38) or possess people (Lk 22:3)(Mk 7:25-30)(Lk 9:38-42) among other things. (I believe Satan possessed the snake in the Garden of Eden: Gen 3:1-15.) In his capacity as “god” of this world, God allows him to do these things, or else He would stop them from happening. Satan certainly has great power, and to underestimate what he can do would be a mistake, but as Christians we have a greater power to overcome Satanic attack: (1 Jn 4:4)… greater is he that is in you (the Holy Spirit), than he that is in the world (Satan).
(Also see: James 4:7) (Non-Christians do not have this same power).
*** Note: Neither Satan nor his demons can possess Christians! (See: Q: #251.)
So… my conclusion would be that, yes, it is POSSIBLE that Satan can control the weather to some degree. Can he always? No, I believe God nearly always controls the weather. Is Satan almost always behind these increasing weather disasters on the Earth? He may be behind some, but keep in mind as stated above, that God brought weather disasters all through the Bible in judgment for sin (Gen 19:24-25)(Jer 3:3)(1 Kin 8:35-36)(2 Chr 7:13-14) including wiping out nearly every human on the planet in Noah’s flood (Gen 6:17-7:24). The Lord wants all of mankind to repent and turn to Him, and unfortunately He sometimes has to go to great, and tragic lengths to get our attention. It often works too, as after disasters, many people begin to fill churches and pray who never did so before. It is also a great opportunity for Christians to show the love of Christ in helping them, and many come to place their trust in Christ as a result.
For more on WHY God causes or allows catastrophes, please see my study:
Why Does God Allow Suffering?
Update: In later reading, I came upon (Rev 7:1) which says, “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.” While these angels are God’s angels (not demonic), it might also point to the ability of angels to control the weather.