I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I’ve had an awe-full life. Not awful, mind you, but awe-full or full or awe. I was teaching a class a few days ago and I asked those in it if they could point to instances where they had experienced awe or wonder in nature. Every single member could point to a time. As we listed these out loud together I found myself coming up with example after example. From my first glimpses of the Appalachian mountains and Atlantic ocean as a child until the present moment nature has continued to fill me with wonder and awe. I can’t help but believe that is true for everyone.
God’s Creation is simply awesome! I’ve seen that awesomeness in giant trees and tiny flowers. I’ve seen it in the Milky Way above and in marvelous creatures here below. I’ve seen it in the heated desert and in the frozen tundra. I’ve seen the awesomeness of nature in calving glaciers, steaming geysers and raging rivers. I’ve seen it in mountains high and valleys low. Near and far I’ve been blown away by the wonders and mysteries of Creation and led to moments of pure awe and worship.
This awe-full life I’ve had comes as no surprise because the Bible teaches us that there is an awesome God behind all of this. Nature is awesome because it is a reflection of the awesomeness of God. That awesomeness is found everywhere. Isaiah 6:3 says “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Because this is true there are awe-full moments waiting for us all of the time. If we will but use the eyes and ears that we have been given we cannot escape experiencing God’s glory.
The apostle Paul believed that God’s awesomeness in Creation was so great and evident he declared “For 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) Having seen what I’ve seen, it would be difficult for me to argue with Paul concerning this matter.
I believe that the Creator made the world awesome on purpose so that it would lead individuals like you and me to God. The marvels of nature are signposts directing us to God. Today I am thankful for those signposts and for this awe-full life I’ve been given. It has brought me much joy and brought me closer to the Maker of heaven and earth.
( I took the pictures shown above at Yellowstone NP, Olympic NP, and the Atlantic ocean.)
I try not to go too long between posts without including one that reminds everyone that God has blessed us with two wonderful books through which we can get to know our Creator and Lord. One is the Bible; the other is Creation. Most believers take seriously the call to read and study the Scriptures. I’m not so sure that many believers seriously study nature as God’s “other Book.”
In 1994 Philip Keller wrote a delightful book called Outdoor Moments With God. I highly recommend it to you. In the introduction to this work Keller addresses the question “Why this book?” I’d like to share his answer with you. He writes: “The simple answer to that blunt question is that often, often outdoors, flashes of inspiration come with brilliant illumination in a matter of moments. Suddenly, swiftly, clear spiritual perception of profound truth sweeps into my own spirit like an artist’s painting in vivid colors. The impression comes in an instant but endures forever. These moving outdoor moments stir my spirit. They parallel the parables Christ used to convey truth. They are lessons learned from the realm of nature. In actual fact our Father, through the creative work of Christ and by the agency of His Spirit, has produced two remarkable books. One is His Word, articulated in human language we can comprehend. The other is His creation, the remarkable and lovely natural realm around us which can be read clearly. Because He is the genius behind both books, the Creator and the originator of both the natural and the supernatural revelations, the principles which apply in the one also function in the other. The two realms are contiguous, and they are complementary.”
Keller helps us understand the relationship between the two divine books–Scripture and Creation–when he refers to them as being “contiguous” and “complementary.” My dictionary defines contiguous as “sharing an edge or boundary.” It defines complementary as “serving to fill out or complete.” I think what makes the two books contiguous is that they share a common author. In both we find God’s self-revelation. The two books are also complementary; Scripture helps us better understand Creation and Creation has a way of illuminating the Scriptures as well.
I am extremely grateful for both of the books God has given us. Both have richly blessed my life. I know that there are some Christians who feel uncomfortable looking at nature or Creation as a divine book but the apostle Paul seemed to understand this. In Romans 1:20 he wrote “For 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.” Long before Paul the Psalmist insisted that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” (19:1) I am convinced that we will miss much that God is trying to tell us if we ignore either of the two divine books. Are you taking time to read both? I hope so.
(I took the pictures used above on my trip to Colorado last month.)