Part Eight: Does the Bible Confirm the Book of Nature? Absolutely! And in Many Places.
The Bible provides numerous examples of general revelation, which confirm that knowledge of God is accessible through the Book of Nature. A few passages are sufficient to demonstrate this:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
This passage captures the essence of general revelation. Besides the self-evident fact that God exists, it portrays physical creation as revealing His awe-inspiring “glory” and artistic craftsmanship (“the work of his hands”). The heavens “declare,” “proclaim,” “pour forth speech,” and “reveal knowledge” about God. In other words, the entire cosmos and the laws of nature make known to all people God’s spectacular creative acts, his transcendent and sovereign power, and the beauty of creation.
All of these visual manifestations should inspire the human race to acknowledge God’s existence, so that, as the apostle Paul told the Greek philosophers in Athens, “they would seek God” because “He is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:27).
Elsewhere, Paul exhorts people living in the ancient Greek city of Lystra to recognize that nature is a “testimony” to the one true, creating God. He does this by pointing out that through nature God provides for all their essential needs:
The living God, who made the heavens and earth and sea and everything in them . . . has not left himself without testimony: He has shown you kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their season; he provides you with plenty of food and fills you hearts with joy (Acts 14;15-17).
The most explicit statement of God’s self-disclosure in nature is in the book of Romans:
. . . what may be known about God is plain to them [the human race], because God has made it plain to them. 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 people are without excuse (Romans 1: 19-21).
More than any anywhere else in the Bible, this passage confirms that general revelation—the Book of Nature—provides reliable knowledge about God. This passage refers to four of God’s “invisible qualities” that are “clearly seen” through nature (“what has been made”): God is divine, all-powerful, eternal, and, most explicit of all, the Creator.
It is God who placed the stars and planets in the heavens, stretched the ears of jackrabbits, colored the forests green, and causes waves pound upon the seashore. It is God that gave odd shapes to the elephant and giraffe, put scales on fish and reptiles, feathers on birds, and fur on mammals—and created the human race to love him and enjoy him forever.
Can science contribute to—or contradict—any of this? We’ll see the limits and possible contributions of science in next week’s blog article.(C)
NOTE: Since this series of blog articles are adapted from a new book in progress, I’d appreciate any sincere comments or suggestions you may have.