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.)


Dec 4 2011

The Window of Creation

“The heavens are telling the glory of God…” Psalm 19:1

I am currently in New Mexico photographing. When I find some free time I’ve been reading a book I recently purchased called Consider the Lilies: A Plea For Creational Theology.  The author of the book, T. M. Moore, uses an interesting analogy to describe ways we experience God.  He writes about how his study at home has an east facing window and a west facing window.  Moore says if he only looked out one of the windows he would not have a very good grasp of his surroundings; there would be much he would miss.  By looking through both the east and west window, he says, he is able to have a fuller understanding of the environment in which he lives.

Moore goes on to say that when it comes to understanding God most people live as though there is only one window through which to view His revelation, that window being Scripture.  Certainly we can learn much about God in the Bible.  A person desiring to know or understand God would be foolish not to study the Scriptures.  One could, however, also make the argument that a person would likewise be foolish if he or she did not take the time to look through other windows by which God’s revelation is made known.  The Bible makes it clear that Creation is one such window and we cannot afford to ignore it if we truly want to know and experience God.

One of the reasons Rob and I started this blog was to encourage people to utilize the wonderful source of revelation God has provided for us in His Creation.  As nature photographers we both enjoy the beauty of nature and the wonderful diversity found in Creation.  Both of us feel that many people fail to notice the wonders of nature, big and small, that surround them.  We would certainly want to encourage such people to be more attentive, but even more important we feel that all of us should be aware of God’s desire to make Himself known to us through His Creation.  Furthermore, each of us should make an effort to learn what God is trying to teach us through that which He has made.

If we fail to make an effort to view and study Creation as a source of divine revelation we will find ourselves with a truncated understanding of God.  Failure to do so doesn’t mean we won’t be able to know God, just that we will not know Him as fully as we could if we started seeing Creation as a window of glory revealing our Maker.  So, by all means, take advantage of this window and prepare to be blessed by God’s revelation of Himself in Creation.

–Chuck

(The images above were taken this past week at the Bisti Badlands Wilderness in northwest New Mexico.)