By Joseph Justice
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Thus wrote King David in the nineteenth Psalm, verse one.
Springtime has a way of reminding me to take a closer look at nature. This should not be surprising. Spring brings with it the budding of flowers from their long winter slumber, the vibrant blossoming of once bare trees, clear blue skies, white puffy clouds that look like cotton candy, warmer weather with refreshing cool breezes: in short, spring brings new life.
It has long been understood in every culture that springtime is the birth of new life. This is one of the greatest reasons, I think, why we look forward to spring after a long, cold winter. I live in North Carolina, and this past winter was surprisingly cold. It goes without saying that the mild weather that is dawning here, and no doubt in many other places around the world, is a great refresher to the weariness winter can often bring.
Nature, By Season
To be sure, it is possible to admire the beauty of God’s creation even during the winter months, and some people actually prefer winter over spring. Indeed, no matter what the season, God’s handiwork can be seen. His design is especially hard to miss during spring though.
Seeing new life blossom forth during springtime is actually an apt metaphor for resurrection. Just as all plants temporarily “die” during the cold months of the year and come to life again when it gets warmer, so too do humans die, and if Christians, look forward to the final resurrection of the body: from death to life. We just celebrated the resurrection of Jesus just last week, as nature began resurrecting too. What a beautiful image!
I took a walk with my fiancée a few days ago in a park that is close by to where she lives. As we walked the sequestered cement trail taking in the beauty around us, I was reminded of how much easier it is to see the hand of God in nature when the weather is nice. I was reminded about how David, while possibly standing on his parapet in Jerusalem, looked up at the vast expanse of sky over his city and proclaimed, “Wow! Lord, you made all of this, you are mighty indeed!” (my paraphrase)
Nature Reflects God
Scripture is full of exclamatory praises about God’s creation. Indeed, the Psalms contain a large amount of hymns to God’s glorious works and this world he has made. But we Christians must be careful. Nature is not God; it is only a reflection of His design and awesome power.
Many world religions, most notably those of Eastern varieties exalt nature as the highest divine substance in the universe. Buddhism is pantheistic; “God,” in other words, “divineness,” is everywhere and in everything, from the smallest rock to the highest mountain. Hinduism has some strains of this thinking too. Taoism and Confucianism are also pantheistic. Indeed, the often overlooked “religion of Darwinism” is right there with these others, though not as explicitly pronounced. In all of these philosophical systems, nature is the supreme deity.
Christianity sees nature and the world around us as an outpouring of God’s wisdom, power and love. As Christians we should not ever worship the created over the creator.
So as the weather continues to get nice this year, let us remember that God made the natural world around us for his glory, and no doubt to inspire awe in his human creations. Let us, as David did all those years ago exclaim with heartfelt wonder and thankfulness, “How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all! (Psalm 104:24).
See Also — Worship Not the Creature
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