Jan 15 2012

Creation and Holiness

Can enjoying nature help lead one to be holy?  Perhaps so.  In his book, Consider the Lilies, T. M. Moore makes the argument that since Creation is a form of revelation like the Scriptures then it must have as one of its divine purposes our sanctification.  He explains it this way: “If we are daily more and more conscious of the presence of the Lord around us, and enthralled with the revelation of His glory and grandeur, we will be less inclined to follow those paths that we know to be displeasing to Him.” 

Moore goes on to use God pointing out the many marvels of nature to Job as one of the tools He used to set Job back on the right path.  He writes, “The majesty, beauty, power, and intimate care of God revealed in the things He has made, and daily sustains, brings Job to his knees and turns him from sliding into sin to pursuing holiness before the Lord.  It is reasonable to suppose that disciplining ourselves to discern the glory and grandeur of God in general revelation can have the same benefit for us, thus fulfilling one of God’s purposes in so making Himself known.”

I must admit I had never previously given much thought to the idea of God using Creation to make us holy.  I certainly knew that the beauty and wonder of God’s handiwork often leads me to worship and praise Him but the thought of Creation turning me from sin and toward the pursuit of holiness is something new.  It does, however, make sense and now that I think about it I can see how Creation has operated in this way in my life for many years.

I know from experience that I have often moved towards sin as a result of what someone has humorously called “stinking thinking.”  I suppose in some sense, all sin originates in the mind.  I also know from experience that being outdoors and paying attention to God’s Creation helps me to think more clearly.  When I’m enjoying nature I’m not thinking about money, power or sex—things that often get us moving in the wrong direction.  When I’m enjoying or pondering the wonders of Creation I’m not worrying about the things I tend to worry about.  Worry happens to be something else that leads me in the wrong direction.  In looking back I can now see how many times “seeing Creation” has kept me from “stinking thinking” and thus away from sin.  It has forced my attention time and time again to God and thus toward holiness.

The apostle Paul knew that what we think about will have a profound effect on our lives.  That’s why he said, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)  I’m sure Paul had a lot of different things in mind when he gave this list but I cannot help but believe that he would include here the wonders of God’s Creation.  There truly are benefits in thinking about “such things.”

–Chuck

(I took the top image in Zion National Park.  I took the bottom two at Arches National Park.  Both parks are located in southern Utah.)