The Evangelistic Awe of Nature

Admiring nature in some form or another has been a favourite pastime for most people throughout history. It could be through a visit to a national park or the beach, hiking up a mountain, taking in the beauty of a sunset, watching the world-famous wildebeest migration at the Mara River, or simply enjoying the beauty of sprawling tea fields as I often do. 

What would make an estimated 300,000 people worldwide travel to merely see animals crossing a river? Well, the answer is that nature reminds us of our own insignificance. In light of its beauty and majesty, we are reminded that we are nothing in the face of the grandeur of a universe that comprises a hundred billion galaxies. And yet, despite our insignificance, the world somehow remains in our care! But I digress. 

Jonathan Edwards is credited with saying that nature is God’s greatest evangelist. Through it, we see that there is One beyond us who upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). Nature reveals God with the eventual aim that we would put our hope and trust in him (Proverbs 3:5-6). For this reason, I venture to explain how nature reveals God’s glory, care and love for us. 

How Nature Reveals God’s Glory

As we read Psalms 19:1, God’s handiwork is evident through creation. Elsewhere, Paul reminds us that God’s ways are inscrutable and his judgments are unsearchable (Romans 11:33-36). Why? Because “from him and through him and to him are all things” (Romans 11:36). The world and everything in it was created to display God’s glory. Even though creation has been subjected to futility (Romans 8:20), it remains the most blatantly obvious means God uses to reveal his glory (Romans 1:20, Acts 14:16-17). His creation reveals his works and glory to us (Colossians 1:16-17, Revelation 4:11). Because God made the known universe, he is worthy of all glory and honour. 

Even more impressive is how he upholds all things by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). God is indeed “very great” (Psalm 104:1), as the Psalmist proceeds to show through creation. He orders all things to work by the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11). So encompassing is God’s reign that R.C. Sproul once said, “If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, totally free of God’s sovereignty, then we have no guarantee that a single promise of God will ever be fulfilled.” 

Isn’t it incredible how infinite processes are happening in the universe simultaneously without a single thing being out of place? Somehow, rain can pour down hard in one place, yet a drop would not be felt in another just meters away. A desert can border a vast mass of water. Such a well-ordered world could not exist by chance, as some might want to suggest. God is the one who orders all things, and thus alone worthy of all the glory (Psalms 104:31). To his exceeding greatness, we do not respond with anxiety but, as the Psalter models, with praise (Psalms 104).

How Nature Reveals God’s Care for Us

Using nature, Jesus taught that we shouldn’t be anxious about tomorrow (Matthew 6:28-34). If the lilies of the field have more beauty than all of Solomon’s best clothing because God willed it so, then why worry about clothing? Nature, in short, is an apologetic for why we need to trust in God and lean not on our own understanding; why we ought to acknowledge him who makes our paths straight in all our ways (Proverbs 3:5-6).

Because God cares about where birds nest, we can rest assured that he seeks the good of those who are his children (Romans 8:28). Thus, there is no need to worry about tomorrow; it will worry about itself (Matthew 6:34). Since we find comfort in depending on him, we can confidently “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” certain that all else will be added to us (Matthew 6:33). The ultimate question then is: If God cares as much as he does for something as insignificant as grass (Matthew 6:30), then how much more I, whom he put in charge of all his creation (Genesis 1:28; 2:15)?

How Nature Reveals God’s Love For Us

Nature is a reminder of God’s great love for us. The grandeur of creation is a testament that God does not need human hands—if anything, he is the reason we move and exist (Acts 17:25-28). “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him” (Psalms 8:4)? For his glory alone does God care as greatly as he does. 

But the Psalms’ application goes far beyond us mortals, as we learn from the way the author of Hebrews applies it (Hebrews 2:5-10). The fuller application, we learn, is the God-man, whom God put “everything in subjection under his feet” and who went ahead to taste death for everyone. He isn’t ashamed to call us brothers. His name is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

A Warning in Closing

With all the good about nature discussed above, I must, however, caution against letting nature become an idol, as a lot of people worldwide have done. The correct response to the wonder and beauty of nature is to behold the wonder and beauty of its Creator, God, not turn nature into a god. When you admire the vastness and beauty of the earth, remember that you will have no excuse when you meet its Creator (Romans 1:20); for in your admiration something of God’s glory, care and love is made plain. 

Every time we marvel at nature, may it serve to turn our eyes to the One who tasted death for us. May we also, by the grace of God, live as to perfectly complement the truth, goodness and beauty of God that nature helps reveal to us. Thanks be to God for the marvel of his handiwork. Indeed, how majestic is his name in all the earth (Psalm 8:8)!

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