GOD'S NATURE, REVEALED IN CREATION
Nature Shows Us the Supernatural
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard" (Psalm 19:1-3). INTRODUCTION
You have probably heard about ecology. It is something that is in the news nearly every day. Politicians talk about it, and special groups crusade for it. The preservation of nature, or "ecology," has become a critical issue. Animal rights, the protection of forests, water purification, and watching the Ozone, are presented as the momentous issues of the time. It is not right to be wasteful with natural resources, or to pollute them to the harm of our fellow man. Having said that, however, nature is not to be the focus, or center, of our attention. Nature has something to say to us about God, and it is to our eternal advantage to listen to its message. It is better to be able to hear what nature is saying, that to make a god of it. The purpose of this treatise is to help us hear the consistent and powerful testimony of creation, or "nature." It is delivering a message to us that needs to be heard! It only remains for us to give heed to it. GOD SPEAKS ON THE MATTER The ultimate word on any subject is God's Word--what He has said! If He has not spoken on the matter, there is room for human opinion. However, such things cannot be assigned a high degree of importance. If there is room for opinion, that opinion cannot be forced upon another person. Every person, in such a case, has a right to their own opinion. If, however, God has spoken on a subject, it is, because of that word, an important issue. On such issues, there is no room for human opinion. We either believe what God has said, or disbelieve it. If we believe that word, God will bless us. If we choose to disbelieve it, He will judge us. Looking at the Circumstances Let us look at the circumstances. Humanity is the "offspring of God" ( Acts 17:29). He created men, and placed them in His world--a world He created with His Word (Hebrews 11:3). The chief occupation of all people is to seek the Lord; to engage in a conscientious effort to understand the One that made them. The Word of God states this requirement in these words. "And he made from one [man] every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after Him and find Him. Yet He is not far from each one of us" (Acts 17:27-27). Simply stated, God made all people groups from one man, Adam. He determined the time frames and continents in which they would live. All of this was designed to encourage men to find God--to find Him personally. That means He desires for men to be aware of Him--to be acquainted with Him and live with Him. This is not an impossible task, because God is "not far from each one of us." He can be found, and He can be known! You can experience God. That is what life is all about! The irony of the situation is that men ceased their quest for God. They settled for idols and false gods, or worse than that, no god at all. The Bible refers to this historic tragedy. It explains why mankind ended up creating his own gods -- idols. Humanity also descended into moral degradation, practicing the most despicable sins because they did not find the true God. "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, 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 men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done" (Rom 1:18-28). God's Wrath Is Being Revealed God's wrath, or indignation, is being revealed from heaven--today. It is not being made known like it will be at the end of the world. Then He will burn the heavens and the earth with fire, and pass eternal judgement upon those that chose to ignore Him. He does not do that now--but He is not inactive. His wrath, or anger, is being revealed in a different way. He responding to those that have stopped their ears to His message through nature. That message is clear enough to know there is a God, and that He ought to be sought. But some have chosen to worship what God made instead of God Himself. It might seem innocent, but it is not. Because humanity was stubborn, refusing to listen to the message of the universe, God has allowed them to degenerate to unbelievable levels. Sociologists attempt to explain the abnormal conduct of people. They say their environment, or some illness, has caused depraved behavior. God gives us the real explanation. Stifling the Knowledge of God "Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another." Sexual impurity, or immorality, is the result of stifling the knowledge of God! It is as though God pulls back far enough for people to sink into conduct that is unreasonable at any level. God's Word traces the rise of homosexuality to this situation, and it is done in vivid language. "Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men." Some may object to these words from God, but they are nevertheless true. Our point here is not the immorality of humanity, but why it has arisen. It is because God spoke to the human race in crude, yet discernible language. If His creation is seen correctly, His "invisible qualities" can be detected. God made the universe so men would see something of Himself there, and want to know Him. Our race DID see some evidence of God in creation. That is why they began to worship what was IN the creation instead of the One that made the creation. God was so sensitive about this inexcusable response, that He withdrew from them--far enough so they would act senselessly, or unreasonable. What are those "invisible qualities," clearly seen in creation. They are His "power and divine nature." Talk about power--there is nothing like that generated by nature. A hurricane, tornado, firestorm, flood, ice-storm, heat-wave, cold-wave--all of them put men in a helpless situation. When nature flexes its muscles, so to speak, the power of men disappears. What is the lesson to be learned there? That the God Who made nature is more powerful than nature itself! God His way in the "whirlwind and storm" (Nah 1:3). In what men call "acts of God, " we see the helplessness of men before an awesome God. These things are not designed to merely frighten or scare us. Rather, they are to help us look for God. The "Divine nature" is God's character. He is not only powerful, He is orderly, working for a reason, and fulfilling a plan. The precision of nature tells us about this aspect of the Lord. Nature cannot explain itself! You can never discover how or when nature came into existence by studying rocks, soil, and heavenly bodies. The point to be seen in nature is not when it began, but WHO created it. God's purpose for humanity is not to understand what He has made, but to understand Him. The word "Divinity," or "Godhead," as used in the King James Version of the Bible, emphasize the completeness of God. That is another way of saying He has no weak spots. There is nothing about God that is not sufficient. There are, for instance, some things the sun cannot do; but there is nothing God cannot do. A pocket full of money and a new car can give you some things, but there are some things they cannot give you--like health, length of life, and a good conscience. But there is nothing God cannot give you! He is Divine! He had no beginning, and He will have no ending. He is Divine! He created everything, and He sustains everything. He is Divine! Nature testifies to this aspect of our God. It does by confronting us with absolute precision, beauty, and order. If you see nature correctly, you will know it could never support itself. There is too much of it, and too much to be done. Nature is like a giant arrow pointing up to God. It is as though it were shouting in our ears, "God made me--can't you see it?" We will focus upon two texts of Scripture that talk about the message of creation. First, we will find there is no acceptable excuse for anyone NOT seeking after God. There is sufficient evidence around us to cause us to engage in a hearty effort to find God. Second, we will find nature only introduces us to God. What it tells us is necessary to provoke us to seek the Lord, but it is not sufficient to give us a personal acquaintance with Him. THE GLORY OF GOD DECLARED The heavens are preaching to humanity. They are telling us about God, and they are doing it eloquently. Here is how the Word of God says it. "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 display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard" (Psa 19:1-3). The word "declare" means more than just making a statement. It is like shouting a message! Something that is declared is obvious. To miss what is "declared," one must be blind, deaf, or just hard-hearted. When something is "declared," it can only be overlooked intentionally--like placing your fingers in your ears so you cannot hear. What is being declared by "the heavens," or firmament? "THE GLORY OF GOD!" You cannot look into the heavens without hearing them shout "THIS IS THE HANDIWORK OF GOD." Peer into the vast universe and see remarkable precision, consistency, and beauty. The heavens are marked by precision. They accurate and exact in every way. We set our clocks by according to the movement of celestial, or heavenly, bodies. They are so precise that a "leap year" is required to make up the time we cannot precisely define--even in seconds! The universe is consistent, never varying in any way. Every year has 365 days, and ever day has twenty-four hours. Day and night are never switched, and there is never a time when we do not have a day or a night. The beauty of the creation captures our minds. Whether it is a sunset, the wonders of a star-spangled night, or the display of the northern lights, the universe is beautiful and intriguing. When United States astronauts circled the earth in space, they saw sights that were of greater beauty than could be seen from earth. Precision, consistency, and beauty are all evidence of design, and a Designer. It is obvious to those that have not been corrupted by the wisdom of this world that the universe has a Creator. There is no part of planet earth where the testimony of creation is not apparent. This marvelous message is heard everyplace creation is seen or observed. "There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard." If you are in the largest canyon on earth, the language of creation can be heard. If you stand on the highest mountain, you will be able to hear the message! It can be heard in the sea, at the North Pole, or in the thickest jungle. Even if men walk on the moon, the message of creation can be heard! The message is consistent, and it is plain. it only takes a sensitive heart and a focused mind to receiver. THESE THINGS WERE MADE BY A POWERFUL AND DEPENDABLE GOD! The glory of it all is that His power and dependability are for us. They have been marshaled and offered in His great salvation. GOD'S INVISIBLE QUALITIES ARE SEEN God has qualities that cannot be seen--qualities that are even greater than precision, consistency, and beauty. They can be seen--God has qualities that cannot be seen with the eye or touched with the hand. Those qualities can be perceived in nature, or "the creation." "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 men are without excuse" (Rom 1:20). What a remarkable thing--"invisible qualities" than are "clearly seen." That is not a contradiction. The "invisible qualities" of God are seen, but not with the eye. They are perceived through reason, not physical vision. If you think upon what can be seen visually in creation, you will begin to consider God's invisible qualities. That brings you wonderful advantage! The power of God What is "the power of God," and how is it perceived in creation. The word "power" emphasizes God's ability. His power is greater than "the laws of nature." If someone you knew developed a miniature universe that ran on its own and required no power, you would call it a miracle. That miniature universe would remind you of the authority and ability of the one that made it. In this same way, the authority and ability of Almighty God is seen in creation. If you have wondered whether God is able to help you, sustain you, or even save you, look at the creation! it speaks to you of God "invisible qualities." His power, or ability to create, save, and sustain, are declared by creation. Look carefully at it, and you will see the power of God. That unbelievably massive universe was created by God--that is why it is called "creation." He created it in an orderly way. It is not spinning out of control. You can set your clock by the universe, and use it to develop a calendar. If you can depend that much upon what God made, how much do you think you can depend upon Him? The Divinity of God The King James Version of the Bible refers to the "Godhead," instead of "Divinity." The word "Godhead" might be better understood if we use the word "Godhood" -- the things that make God what He really is--GOD! Again, this refers to the completeness and sufficiency of God. He is "Divine." He received none of His qualities from someone else. Whatever you have, you have received, but this is not true of God. He is Divine. You have grown, God has not. He is Divine. You have developed and matured, God has not. He is Divine. You have changed, God has not. He is Divine. God cannot be trusted if He changes. He cannot be everything we need if He changes. But He does not change, He is Divine. This quality of God--His Divinity--is "clearly seen" in "the creation." Aeronautical engineers depend on the "laws" of nature when they construct their airplanes. They know nature is unchangeable! Mountain climbers equip their minds and bodies to avoid the downward pull of gravity. They know nature is dependable! Those that explore the oceans equip themselves so they will not be crushed by pressure, or overcome by seeping water. They know nature is consistent. No sane person attempts to fly by flapping his arms like wings. Why not? They know nature will not sustain the attempted flight of a man, even though it will that of a little sparrow or mighty eagle. What has been perceived, or seen, in creation, allows people to come to these conclusions? They have seen the consistency of creation, and have come to depend upon it. The Word of God, however, is more precise on this subject. It informs us that the "invisible qualities" of God is what has really been seen. God created the world so these things--aspects of His Person-- could be seen. He wants people to depend upon Him, to trust Him, and to mold their lives around Him. His precision, consistency, and beauty can be a source of strength to you. They can be trusted--in fact, they MUST be trusted. Can you see the God of creation in His creation? His thumb print is on the universe! When you see creation correctly, you think of Him! CONCLUSION It is not enough to just see these "invisible qualities" of God, you must act upon them. How is it that you should handle this knowledge of God's "power and divinity?" Should you simply try to do better, or live a better life? Well, there is certainly nothing wrong with that--but it is not enough! The purpose of the display of God's "invisible qualities" in creation is not to get you to be a better person! GOD WANTS YOU TO SEEK FOR HIM! The message of creation tells you there is Someone greater than you--Someone you need! The fact that you can "clearly see" His qualities in creation proves that you can find Him! If you can see things about Him in what he has made, you can expect to find Him if you seek Him. The Bible tells us this is His objective for every man. Read it once again, and be encouraged to start seeking the Lord with all of your heart. "From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us" (Acts 17:26-27). No person is within the will of God that is not seeking Him! This is not confined to an initial seeking, but is a frame of spirit that characterizes the entirety of life. In this world, you will never reach a point where God is no longer to be sought. Although we find Him in Christ, adverse influences all about us often bring clouds of obscurity. These are neutralized by seeking! The fact that God "is not far from each one of us," means we can expect to find Him if we look diligently for Him. He will help us to find Him. Looking is our part; making sure we find Him is His part. If we do not fail to fulfill our part, He will certainly not fail in His! The Lord is not looking for a reason to hide Himself from you, but to reveal; Himself to you! This is why Jesus came into the world! Be encouraged to seek God -- NOW! He is found of those that seek Him with their whole heart. You have His word on that!