Celebrating the Wonder of Creation (Part 3)
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard (Ps. 19:1-3).
In Psalm 19, David reminds us that God speaks to us through two books. One book is the written Word of God (vv.7- 11). The other revelation is the masterpiece of creation, which eloquently reveals God to every person every day. All people in all times from the very beginning have been created by God with such an awareness. Those who do not hear God speaking through the natural world have deceived themselves. The apostle Paul spelled this out clearly in his letter to the Christians in Rome:
The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Rom. 1:18-20).
A fascinating precedent for Paul’s argument that God reveals Himself through the natural world is found in the ancient tragedy and poetry of Job. As the drama of Job unfolds, we find him writhing in pain, misunderstood by his friends, and confused by his own inability to explain his plight. Job was hurt. He felt abandoned and betrayed by the God he had tried to serve. He was angry because he thought God was unfairly tormenting him and allowing his friends to think he was suffering for some terrible secret sin.
Finally, after lengthy, frustrated, and angry conversations between Job and his friends, God Himself spoke. From out of a violent whirlwind, the Creator captured Job’s attention and challenged him to take another look at the natural world. The Lord asked Job to consider ecology, the animals, and the patterns of weather and seasons He had made. God humbled and then comforted Job with a series of piercing questions that begin with: Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding (Job 38:2-4).
In the middle of the questioning, God allowed Job to speak, but the devastated patriarch could only mutter, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth” (40:4). The purpose of the Creator’s interrogation was for Job to understand from the world around Him that a God who is wise and powerful enough to have created the natural world is certainly great enough to know what He is doing in allowing Job’s suffering. Humbled by what God had said through the natural world, Job confessed, “I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (42:3).
Even when God is not speaking verbally, the study of the creation speaks with an eloquence that compels us to stand in silent wonder before the Creator: elements of basic matter that behave in ways unimagined, and clumps of galaxies so vast in number and expanse that even broad human categories like “light years” become almost meaningless. Smallness gets ever smaller, and bigness gets ever bigger. The attempt to bring it all into the scope of human understanding has done what it has always done: We either see God and worship Him in great awe and humility, or we “suppress the truth” (Rom. 1:18) and wander in self-imposed blindness.
The view that creation is God’s “other book” is supported by classical theology, which includes the creation as the major component of what is called “general revelation.” It is the revelation that has been given to all people, in all times, and in all places. This refers to the natural world and its processes, or natural law—what Paul calls “the law written in their hearts” and revealed by the conscience (Rom. 2:15). It also includes human history—the record of God’s continuous sovereign will demonstrated in the affairs of people. Truth is revealed to us not only in special revelation (the Bible) but also in general revelation (the creation). Christian educator Frank Gaebelein understood this well when he said, “All truth is God’s truth.” The point that God reveals Himself to us through the natural world is captured in the hymn “I Sing The Mighty Power Of God” written by Isaac Watts:
I sing the mighty power of God
That made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad
And built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained
The sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at His command,
And all the stars obey.
I sing the goodness of the Lord
That filled the earth with food;
He formed the creatures with His word
And then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed
Where’er I turn my eye:
If I survey the ground I tread,
Or gaze upon the sky!
There’s not a plant or flower below
But makes Thy glories known;
And clouds arise and tempests blow
By order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee
Is ever in Thy care,
And everywhere that man can be,
Thou, God, art present there.
[Hear the Ball Brothers singing this awesome hymn here.]
How can we celebrate the wonder of God in creation?
By observing the creation carefully and reverently to discover the countless ways it reveals God and His attributes to us.
See you outdoors!