In divine revelation and in nature God has given to mankind mysteries to command their faith. We may be ever searching, inquiring, and ever learning, and yet there is an infinity beyond. God is the foundation of everything. All true science is in harmony with His works and all true education leads to obedience to His government. Science opens new wonders to our view. Thus she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation. The book of nature and the written word do not disagree. Each one sheds light on the other.
Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him?
With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? Isaiah 40:13, 14 (KJV)
Nature Testifies of God
The book of nature becomes a great lesson book as it reflects, as from a mirror the divine truth as revealed in Holy Writ. It works in connection with the Scriptures to guide lost sheep back to the fold of God. As the works of God are studied, the Holy Spirit flashes conviction into the mind. This conviction is different from the one that comes from logical reasoning alone. Spiritual truths of the written word are impressed on the heart and a deeper meaning is grasped. It is so unless:
- mind has become too dark to know God
- eye too dim to see him
- ear too dull to hear His voice
Nature testifies that One infinite in power, great in goodness, mercy, and love, created the earth and filled it with life and gladness. Even in their blighted state all things reveal the handiwork of the great Master Artist.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Psalms 19:1-3 (KJV)
The whole natural world is designed to be an interpreter of the things of God
In their Eden home Adam and Eve gained knowledge of God and divine instructions. They communed with God in His created works. Thus they received wisdom into their hearts. As soon as they transgressed the law of the Most High, the brightness of God’s face departed from the face of nature. Adam had stood as king among the lower creatures. As long as he remained loyal to God, all nature acknowledged his rule. When he transgressed, this dominion was forfeited. The spirit of rebellion to which he himself had given entrance, extended throughout the animal creation. Thus not only the life of humans, but the nature of beasts, trees of the forest, grass of the field, the very air they breathed, all told the sad lesson of the knowledge of evil.
Adam and Eve had chosen the knowledge of evil
To Adam God had said:
Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:17-19.
No longer were they to dwell in Eden. For in its perfection it could not teach them the lessons which it was now essential for them to learn. In sadness they bade farewell to their beautiful surroundings and went forth to dwell upon the earth, where rested the curse of sin. Although the earth was blighted with the curse, nature was still to be man’s lesson book. It could not now represent goodness only. For evil was everywhere present, marring earth and sea and air with its defiling touch. Where once was written only the character of God – the knowledge of good, was now written also the character of Satan – the knowledge of evil. From nature which now revealed the knowledge of good and evil, mankind was continually to receive warning as to the results of sin.
Apart from Christ we are still incapable of interpreting rightly the language of nature
The most difficult and humiliating lesson that individual has to learn is his or her own inefficiency in depending upon human wisdom, and the sure failure of one’s efforts to read nature correctly. Of himself or herself one cannot interpret nature without placing it above God. They are in a condition similar to that of the Athenians, who, amidst their altars dedicated to the worship of nature, had one inscribed: “To the unknown God.” God was indeed unknown to them. He is unknown to all who, without the guidance of the divine Teacher, take up the study of nature. They will assuredly come to wrong conclusions.
God is perpetually at work in nature
Nature is His servant, directed as He pleases. Nature in her work testifies of the intelligent presence and active agency of a being who moves in all His works according to His will. It is not by an original power inherent in nature that year by year the earth yields its bounties and continues its march around the sun. The hand of infinite power is perpetually at work guiding this planet. The same creative energy that brought the world into existence is still exerted in upholding the universe and continuing the operations of nature. The word of God controls the elements. He covers the heavens with clouds and prepares rain for the earth. He makes the valley fruitful and grass to grow upon the mountains. It is through His power that vegetation flourishes, leaves appear and the flowers bloom.
He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures. Jeremiah 10:12, 13 (KJV)
The Work of Creation
All things, material or spiritual, stood up before the Lord Jehovah at His voice and were created for His own purpose. The heavens and all the host of them, the earth and all things therein, are not only the work of His hand. They came into existence by the breath of His mouth.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. Hebrews 11:3 (KJV)
By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. Psalms 33:6 (KJV)
Nature is now marred and defiled by sin. But God’s object-lessons are not obliterated. Even now, rightly studied and interpreted, nature speaks of her Creator. The beautiful things of nature have been given us for our pleasure. Then let us not turn our blessings into a curse by being led away from God in the worship of the creature rather than the Creator. Let nature’s beautiful ministers of love answer the purpose of God. Thus drawing our hearts to Him to adore His goodness, compassion, inexpressible love, and to be filled with the beauties of His character.
The beauties of nature have a tongue that speaks to us without ceasing
The open heart can be impressed with the love and glory of God, as seen in the works of His hand. The listening ear can hear and understand the communications of God through the things of nature. There is a lesson in the sunbeam, and in the various objects of nature that God has presented to our view. The green fields, lofty trees, buds and flowers, passing cloud, falling rain, babbling brook, the sun, moon, and stars in the heavens – all invite our attention and meditation, and bid us become acquainted with Him who made them all.
The root of the tree has a double office to fill. It is to hold fast by its tendrils to the earth, while it takes to itself the nourishment desired. Thus it is with the Christian. When his or her union with Christ, the parent stock, is complete, when they feed upon Him, currents of spiritual strength are given to them. Can the leaves of such a branch wither? Never!
As long as the souls reach toward Christ, there is little danger that they will wilt, and droop, and decay. The temptations that may come in like a tempest will not uproot them. The true Christians draws their motives of action from their deep love for their Redeemer. Their affection for their Master is true and holy. And it is the cheerful, lovable Christians of whom Christ says: Ye are my witnesses. Such a men are Christ’s representatives. For they reflect Christ in their daily life.
Noah’s day prefigures the present age
The world before the flood reasoned that for centuries the laws of nature had been fixed. The recurring seasons had come in their order. The rivers and brooks had never yet passed their boundaries, but had borne their waters safely to the proud sea. Fixed decrees had kept the waters from overflowing their banks. But these reasons did not recognize the Hand that had stayed the waters, saying, thus far shalt thou go and no farther. As time passed on without any apparent change in nature men began to be reassured whose hearts had trembled at times with fear.
They felt secure in their unbelief. They reasoned then as men reason now. as though nature was above the God of nature. Moreover, her ways were so fixed that God himself could not change them. Thus making in the minds of the world God’s messages of warning a delusion, a grand deception. Furthermore, reasoning that if the message of Noah was correct nature would be turned out of her course of order.
We see the varied gifts of God in nature. Our hearts should be filled with praise to Him who will ever act in harmony with His own greatness. In looking upon the works of God, by faith we may contemplate what we shall behold if we are fitted for the mansions that Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love Him. Then let us not go through the world neglecting to see and to appreciate the wonderful things with which God has surrounded us. Let us not forget to talk of the compassion of our heavenly Father, who hath provided all things richly to enjoy.
Let us not begin to grumble, because we see thistles and thorns. God did not tell you to look upon these. He did not bid you grasp the thorns, that would wound and bruise your flesh, and grieve your spirit. Turn your eyes away from these things to the attractive loveliness of that which is beautiful. Think on these things, talk of the wonderful works of your Creator and Redeemer. Talk of the price that was given to win these things for you. Dwell upon the theme of salvation. Talk of the tender love of God, who gave His only begotten Son to die on Calvary, that we might come into possession of eternal riches.
The book of nature and the written word make us acquainted with God
They make us acquainted with God and His character by teaching us something of the wise and beneficent laws through which He works. We are thus led to adore His holy name and to have an intelligent trust in His word.
Nature is not God, nor ever was God. God is in nature and nature testifies of God. It only bears testimony to God’s power as His created works. There is a personal God, the Father and there is a personal Christ, the Son.
If not guided by the Word of God in their research, the greatest minds become puzzled in their attempts to investigate the relations of science and revelation. The Creator and His works are beyond their comprehension. Because they cannot explain these by natural laws, Bible history is considered unreliable. Those who doubt the reliability of the records of the Old and New Testaments will be led to go a step farther. They will doubt the existence of God. Thus they are left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity.
Moses wrote under the guidance of the Spirit of God and a correct theory of geology will never claim discoveries that cannot be reconciled with his statements. The idea that many stumble over, that God did not create matter when He brought the world into existence, limits the power of the Holy One of Israel.
Last updated: March 18, 2019
- 8T 257-270; SpTEd 59; BLJ 42; Ed 26; YI, Mar, 1898; ST, Dec, 1877; ST, Jun, 1888 – The Ellen G. White Estate
- King James Version (KJV) Bible – BibleGateway
- Image courtesy – Pixabay
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