DSCN1971 (640x480)Part Eleven: What Can We Learn about God from the Book of Nature—and How Do We Read It?

God is the creator of all that exists; therefore, ultimately, all truth and goodness come from Him. Since the Book of Nature is designed to be a visual (general) revelation of God, we can rightly expect the things we observe in nature to provide glimpses of fundamental truths about God. Everything God made points to God or, as C. S. Lewis put it in Mere Christianity, “Everything God has made has some likeness to Himself”—a “symbol” or “picture” of his eternal qualities.”

How do we recognize God’s self-disclosure in the Book of Nature? It requires that we look at nature more as a poet than a scientist, that is, being mindful of—and alert to—the sensory feelings, images, and insights wild nature conjures us. This includes looking afresh at nature through the filter of his creative splendor rooted in the design, ecological harmony, provisions, and beauty of nature.

Although the Book of Nature is an abridged, limited version of God’s more detailed revelation in the Bible, what it does reveal about God is in perfect harmony and consistent with Holy Scriptures. It teaches that God reveals real truth and knowledge in and through what He created. Everywhere we look in wild nature there are symbols and illustrations of God’s divine nature, eternal truths, and character: His presence, creativity, mercy, grace, love, care, glory, provisions, trustworthiness, resurrection, and eternal promises to both human and non-human life. Former religious skeptic turned theologian, Alister McGrath—referring to his own spiritual journey—speaks to this in his book, The Reenchantment of Nature: “I now [know] that nature was charged with the grandeur and majesty of God. To engage with nature was to gain a deeper appreciate of divine wisdom.”

My intent in the remaining blogs in this series on “Encountering God in the Wilderness” is to show that the theological realities symbolized and illustrated by natural phenomenon are clear pointers to the God of creation, who is also the God the Bible. Of course this must be the case, since God is the author of both the Bible and the Book of Nature. By His very nature, God would not—could not—contradict himself.

The most obvious testimony of God’s self-disclosure in nature—and one virtually all people instinctively react to—is nature’s matchless beauty. We’ll begin our investigation of the contents of the Book of Nature here. How is God revealed in the beauty of nature? This will be the topic of next week’s blog article. ©

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