Our God is a Consuming Fire

An empty chair before a forest fire.There are only two things you can do when faced with a forest fire. You can fight the flames or you can flee. Remaining as a spectator isn’t a good third option.

In real life we often try to control fire or carefully manipulate it, harnessing its flame for various uses, Fire is powerful, giving off both heat and light. If hot enough fire melts metal, fuses silica sand into glass and even powers our sun’s nuclear furnace.

Whether fire is contained in a fireplace or a smelting plant, anyone who’s ever been burned treats fire with great respect. We’re all aware of its destructive power and its life-saving potential.

So when Hebrews 12:29 proclaims “Our God is a consuming fire.” (NIV) what does it mean?

Close-up active volcano's caldera at night.The two greatest sources of fire are our world’s molten core and the sun. Both are necessary for life on earth. According to scientists, the movement of molten metal in the core creates our planet’s magnetic field which protects all life from the more harmful solar radiation. Only a portion of the sun’s rays penetrate our atmosphere. Some scientists believe life on our planet would be destroyed without our magnetic field’s protection. In the same way, the Holy Spirit protects us from dangers we are totally oblivious to. Certainly we have a spiritual enemy who would do us tremendous harm if he were not constrained.

Autumn plants growing in and surrounded by grey volcanic soil.At the same time, our sun warms the earth, creating liquid water. If our planet’s orbit were just a few degrees closer or further away, all our water would either boil away or be unusable as ice. In John 7 Jesus invites people in the temple to believe in Him and experience the source of “living water” first mentioned in Jeremiah 2:13. In Ezekiel 47:8-12 the living water flows out of the temple and causes the salty brine of the Dead Sea to become fresh water, creating a living ecosystem.

The sun also energizes our weather patterns and provides light for plant growth, including algae. Healthy plants release oxygen. They also form the base of our food chain, both in the water and on land. Our Creator has provided everything life needs to thrive here. Even molten lava and ash exploding out of volcanoes weather into some of the best nutrient-rich soils found anywhere. Above are two images of an unknown volcano and plants growing on volcanic soil.

In John 1:1-5 Jesus is proclaimed to be the true light for all mankind and our Creator, the source of our life both physically and spiritually.

Man overseeing molten metal in a steel mill.Finally, fire has the ability to separate and purify the metal ore mined out of the earth. Aluminum, Cobalt, Copper, Iron, Tungsten, Silver, Gold and Zinc are just a few ores which require refining. The waste ends up in the slag heap, while the refined metal becomes useful in all sorts of ways. Likewise, the Holy Spirit–if we are willing–purifies us, refining us more and more into the image of Christ.

Our God is far more powerful than the hottest sun’s fire and He can’t be controlled. But He can be trusted. 

All images are from Pixabay.com.


The National Mining Association lists 40 different common metal ores and their uses in everyday life. I for one didn’t realize Aluminum was the most common metal found in earth’s crust. Click here for a short lesson in metallurgy.

My knowledge of volcanic soils comes from the geology department website of University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Click here.

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