What Do We See of Nature?

Seeing Creation 11-19-2This looks like a normal photograph of a small arch in the Santa Monica Mountains west of Los Angeles. In the distance, you can see the Pacific Ocean.

But this is not a normal photo. It is a special type of image that uses a technology called HDR (high dynamic range). The problem with cameras is that they cannot see the range of detail that our eyes can see in bright light. HDR helps the photographer compensate for that lack of vision. You take several photos that capture the full range of tones and colors that are really in the world, then combine them in the computer to create a photo closer to what we actually see. Here are two photos showing what the camera originally saw in its limited way.

Seeing Creation 11-19-3

Seeing Creation 11-19-4

I got to thinking about this technology and what we see. Sometimes we are like the camera and don’t alway see what is really in front of us. I believe that God has created a wonderful, stunning world all around us. We can’t be constantly on high alert seeing all of His creation, but often we miss seeing the world completely and so take that creation for granted.

Or we see the world in very limited ways, such as only seeing profit in nature or feeling that we actually own God’s world. When I was younger, I often wondered about the Bible verse, Matthew 19:24 – “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” That worried me because if Jesus’ message is one of grace and forgiveness, how could it be that rich people cannot enter the kingdom of God? I think this might be a bit about how being rich can affect the way we see the world. If we only see the world as a means for us to profit, then it will be very difficult to connect with God.

It is also interesting that seeing is a big part of the creation story in Genesis. Genesis 1:12 – “And God saw that it was good.” That certainly implies that if we are not seeing the good of the world that God has created, then we have limitations to our seeing. We are then like the camera that cannot fully see what is around us. God sees that all is good, and through God’s vision, perhaps we are helped to see more just as HDR helps cameras see better. Proverbs 3:7 even provides an appropriate admonishment – “Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord.” Which in Old Testament terms, usually meant pay attention to God rather than only our own vision.

– Rob