Nature’s Divine Show

From Dean Ohlman on September 20, 2012

Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power
and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being
understood from what has been made,
so that men are without excuse.

(Romans 1:20)

spacer I’ve often used this verse and its context in apologetic discussions with folks who were not followers of Christ, but a few years ago I began to concentrate on what Paul’s statement means within a believer’s life.  I considered primarily what Paul said that all people, believer and unbeliever alike, ought to be able to “see” in the natural creation.  The NIV states that we can see God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and His divine nature—in the creation itself.  In studying the word “divine,” I concluded that something divine is superhuman, God-like, supremely good, magnificent, and compels human beings to worship.  Then I asked myself just exactly what is it about the natural world that would demonstrate our Creator’s eternal power and His right to be worshiped.

Over a number of years, I created this list from my observations of the creation and from interactions with others on backpacking trips and other outdoor retreats.  I don’t believe this list is exhaustive; so I’d love to have our readers drop in brief comments on other aspects of the wild that have shown you God’s eternal power and His right to be the only entity in the cosmos worthy of our worship.

Here’s what I have “seen” in the natural world:

1.    Mysterious light and matter
(which still defy human definition and understanding)
2.    Seemingly endless time
(no clearly apparent beginning or end)
3.    Seemingly endless space 
(eternality seen in the microcosm and macrocosm)
4.    Astronomical extravagance and magnitude
(“Billions and billions” -Sagan)
5.    Wonderful life
(inexplicable in essence and origin-
and known on earth alone)
6.    Fearsome, but essential, death
(which is marvelously linked to life)
7.    Profound mystery
(reality beyond human understanding)
8.    Abiding orderliness
(out of seeming chaos)
9.    Regular cycles
(making the creation mostly predictable)
10.  Sabbath rest
(the balance of rest with activity)
11.  Revitalizing stillness
(quieting the human soul)
12.   Unfathomable complexity
(defying human simplification)
13.   Awesome power
(far exceeding our own)
14.   Incredibly informed design
(absolutely beyond human duplication)
15.   Virtually endless variety
(unbelievable biodiversity)
16.   Amazing adaptability
(natural response to change)
17.   Overwhelming beauty
(thrilling the heart and soul)
18.   Extravagant fruitfulness
(offering all creatures more than enough)
19.   Limitless sensory stimulation
(“candy” for the senses)
20.   Abundant joy (“even the worm can feel
contentment” -Schiller)
21.   Fear of people
(which grieves the human soul)
22.   The image of God: mankind  
(An unbridgeable gap between people and the other
creatures—people  alone having the capacity for creative
thinking, abstract reasoning, and symbolic language—and
having innate morality and the instinct to worship)

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