The Heavens Declare
Ancient creation stories fascinate me. Whether from ancient old world civilizations like Egypt and Babylon, or from Native American cultures, it is always intriguing to discover how others thought the world came to be. Creation stories, known as “cosmologies,” reveal more than we might think at first glance. Cosmologies betray the values and world-view of respective cultures. For instance, the creation stories of Babylon, Canaan, and other ancient nations contained a lot of violence and warfare because those societies were quite antagonistic. But cosmologies also reveal something of who we believe our G/god to be. Babylon believed their gods to be just as capricious, immoral, and violent as themselves. In contrast to that, we gain a wondrous glimpse of what God is like through Israel’s cosmology, one that is detailed in Gen 1–2.
In these chapters we learn that Yahweh is a God who loves order and structure. He created all things in perfect sequence and ordained that all things reproduce after their kind. He did not create fish and fowl until he had created the seas and sky to hold them. Nor did he create man and animals until there was dry land for us to walk upon and sustain our existence. The seasons follow one another predictably.
He is also sovereign over all created things, and all things came into being through divine fiat, i.e. his spoken word. God does not have to manipulate or strive—only to speak—in order for his will to be accomplished. The apostle Paul later claimed that God’s eternal power and divine nature are witnessed in the natural world (Rom 1:20; cf. Ps 19:1).
I see other clues to God’s personality in the natural world he has created. The sun rises faithfully every morning and sets every night. One of my favorite things to photograph is a breathtaking sunrise over a great vista of God’s creation. Every day that the sun rises is a day that God will be faithful to his people.
I also see evidence of God’s love for us all in that human beings were the crowning achievement of God’s creation. We were not an afterthought, nor were we made to do God’s dirty work. And we most certainly are not accidents of the evolutionary process. We are a purposeful part of God’s design, conceived in his heart.
I believe God created us because he wanted to know what it is to love someone who can choose to love in return or reject that love. The love and adoration God receives from the angels is different than that which he receives from us. Our love to him is freely given. It is also by faith. The angels know without question that God exists. We, however, can only believe.
We live in a world saturated with so many distractions. Technology and social media are the biggest interruptions for me; they keep me from seeing evidence of God’s glory and grace in the natural world. Let me encourage you to carve out time in your schedule to witness what creation is saying about its Creator. Turn the TV off, put your phone away, or close your laptop. Sit and think. Take a walk in an open meadow or drive down a country road. Grab the family and picnic in a local park one night for supper. Most of all, take advice from the Lord himself: “Be still, and know that I am God,” (Ps 46:10).
Heavenly Father, thank you for the Work of your hands. Thank you for creating such a splendid universe. Thank you for creating us, your children. I pray that you will never give up with pursuing us with evidence of your glory and grace, evidence that you have embedded into your creation. Bring to our attention those things in creation that remind us of your values, of your love for order and faithfulness. Forgive us of our sins, and help us to always stand in awe your mercy and grandeur. In Jesus’ name.
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