God’s Revelation Through Nature
by: Anthony Keith Whitehead
In the first chapter of his letter to the Romans (vv 18 – 20) Paul speaks powerfully of the way in which God has revealed himself to man. Paul argues that, since the beginning of creation, the power and divine nature of God have been clearly evident through God’s own work of creation.
This is not advanced by Paul as a proof of God’s existence since in v 21 he makes clear that he is speaking of people who do accept God’s existence.
Indeed, it could well be argued that for those without belief in God there is nothing in existence that is likely to convince them that there is a God for as Jesus has implied, to find him one needs first to seek him (Luke 11. 9, 10)
What such people need is a personal revelation of God himself. Of course, that revelation of God might come in a multitude of ways, including through nature. But that is then an explicit act of God compared with a realisation which comes from a conclusion arising from the observation of nature.
In fact, I was for over twenty years without any real belief in God and neither the beauty nor the grandeur in nature made any difference to that. It was simply there.
Creation And Believers
For those who do know God the situation is entirely different. At least, it should be different and should make an obvious and direct difference to our lives.
This is probably why Paul becomes so annoyed in the first chapter of Romans with those who are living outside the will of God. One can argue, in fact, that the greater is one’s conviction about God, the more one can see of his nature in nature, so to speak. Nature does not reflect everything of God, for nothing could do that.But what it does reflect is highly significant.
Paul speaks of divine power and grandeur. One can see this in everything from a rainbow to a violent storm; from the natural scars which typify many parts of the landscape in Yorkshire, England, to the awesomeness of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA; to the towering redwoods of Canada, to the tiny golden lady’s finger flowers in Ireland, and so forth.
The reader will be able to think of many other examples and comparisons, whether from the world above or below sea, from the tropics to ice zones, or from the multitude of creatures alive on this planet – to say nothing of what might be found on other planets, or what can be observed by this generation in the depths of the universe
Do all these things reveal anything deeper about God than their obvious grandeur and the fact (for most of us except some physicists who struggle against such conclusions) of divine power behind it all?
As Christians, we ought, perhaps, to be aware that on the whole, God leaves his creation “to get on with it” according to the laws of physics, chemistry and so forth which he has established. If something of a catastrophic kind is set to happen in nature, God allows it to happen: earthquakes, volcanic erruptions, astronomic collisions. He does not, so far as our observations and judgements tell us, interfer to stop such things. People who know God can accept that; those who do not know God find in it a further reason for their disbelief.
We might then also draw the conclusion that the same is true for the human side of his creation. That is, for those sections of humanity which either do not recognise God’s existence or choose to ignore it. In all essentials they are no different to the inanimate parts of our world.
But if the Bible tells us anything at all, it tells us repeatedly that God is ready and prepared to intervene when his people request it in faith.
The Bible is full such instances and examples, whether concerning man himself or the forces of nature. And these contrast clearly with those who ignore the Creator and with (Ã¢â‚¬Å“unavoidableÃ¢â‚¬Â)events in the natural world.
Faith leads to faith since those who have faith have that faith increased and developed by its exercise, by how they perceive God to act and by what they see around them of God’s power and divinity. They recognise that what God has made he can also change, if he so desires – and if his people ask in faith and for the right reasons.
When this is set alongside those experiences of God’s people which are recorded in the Bible, faith leads to even more faith. The grandeur, power, resourcefulness and beauty of God are intensified by the faith which beholds them.
About The Author
Anthony Keith Whitehead
Over twenty-three years in Christian healing teaching writing ministries. Wide range of secular employments before being called by the Lord into full time independent ministry in 1987. With his wife Iris he has ministered both in the UK and USA. Has written several books on healing meditation and various aspects of spirituality. Formal qualifications include: B.A. M.Phil. Cambridge University Certificate in Religious Studies Post Grad Cert in Education.
Web Site: http://www.christianword.co.uk
This article was posted on August 22, 2005