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Don Stewart :: How Has God Revealed Himself through Nature?

Don Stewart

Creation as a part of God's general revelation, affirms certain facts about God. Nature testifies to God's existence. Paul wrote to the church at Rome.

What may be known of God is manifest in them for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse (Romans 1:19,20).

The Universe Gives Testimony To God

The vastness of the universe gives testimony to God as Creator. The psalmist wrote.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them (Psalm 8:3,4).

Nature Is Not Identical With God

It is important to realize that nature is not identical with God. When God reveals Himself through the physical world it means that he communicates things about Himself that humans would not otherwise know.

There Are Two Main Passages To Consider

There are two main passages in Scripture that emphasize God's general revelation in creation-Psalm 19:1-6 and Romans 1:18-21.

Psalm 19:1-6

The first six verses of Psalm 19 testify to the revelation of God through His creation:

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. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat (Psalm 19:1-6).

The following truths are found in these verses.

1. God's Glory Is Being Proclaimed

The heavens are a declaration to the fact of God's glory. It is a sign to the entire human race that God does exist.

2. The Testimony Is Constant

This revelation about God's power and majesty is constant, occurring "day after day" and "night after night." Humans are constantly reminded of God's existence.

3. This Revelation Is Nonverbal

This revelation about God does not consist of words-it is nonverbal revelation. The heavens, therefore, offer a silent continual testimony to God.

4. It Is Worldwide In Scope

The scope of this testimony is worldwide. All people, everywhere, have access to this form of God's revelation. There are no geographic barriers.

5. There Is No Language Barrier

Since this is a non-verbal form of communication there is no language barrier. All people, in every language, are able to comprehend this form of God revealing Himself.

6. The Sun Gives Constant Testimony

The shining of the sun in the sky gives testimony to the existence and care of God. Like the sun, the existence of God is obvious to all. Nothing can hide from the sun; no one can hide from God.

The truths about God are there for all to see.

Romans 1:18-21

A second passage that speaks of God's revelation through nature is Romans 1:18-21. Paul wrote.

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of humanity 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 humans 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 (Romans 1:18-21).

The following important truths about God's general revelation can be learned from this passage.

1. The Testimony About God Is Clear

God has left a witness of Himself for everyone. No one has any excuse.

2. Conclusions Can Be Drawn About God And His Existence

Because of the clear testimony about God from nature, conclusions can and should be drawn about God's existence.

3. The Testimony Is Constantly Witnessed By Everyone

As Psalm 19 affirms, this testimony is constantly being witnessed since the time God created the world.

4. General Revelation Holds People Accountable

Because of the witness of nature, people are held accountable to God for the knowledge that God has revealed to them.

5. This Type Of Revelation Is Limited In What It Can Do

Revelation from nature, or creation, is limited in what it tells us. Only certain aspects about God's invisible qualities or nature are revealed. Specifically, "His eternal power and divine nature."

From these two passages it is clear that everyone is aware of the existence of God through the testimony in creation. The testimony about God's existence from nature should lead humans to seek to discover who this Creator is.

The Suitability For Life On Earth - An Example Of God's Witness In Nature

The suitability for life to exist and develop on earth is a strong testimony to the existence of a Creator. We know that Earth is the only planet in our solar system that can sustain life as we know it. We are just the right distance from the sun so that we get exactly the right amount of heat to sustain life. The planets from Mars to Pluto are far too cold to support life as we know it. There is no evidence of life existing on these other planets.

The Precise Rate Of The Earth's Rotation

If the rotation of our earth had been 1/10 its present rate, the length of our days and nights would have been increased ten times. Our vegetation would burn up during the long days, while the nights would bring such low temperatures that any plant life which survived the day would be sure to freeze.

The Earth Is The Right Size

The physical size of the earth is just right to support life as we know it. If the earth were as small as the moon, its gravity would only be 1/6 its present force and unable to hold either atmosphere or water. If its diameter were doubled, the force of gravity would be doubled and the atmosphere would be so compressed that its pressure would be increased from 15 to 30 pounds per square inch. This would seriously affect all life.

If our earth were increased to the size of the sun, while retaining its present density, gravity would be increased some 150 times. This would increase atmospheric pressure to over a ton per square inch. Life would be virtually impossible under such conditions.

The Earth's Crust Is Just The Right Size

If the earth's crust had been only ten feet thicker, the metallic elements in the crust would have combined with all the free oxygen in the atmosphere, ruling out the possibility of all animal life. On the other hand, if the oceans were merely a few feet deeper, they would absorb so much carbon dioxide from the air that plants could not exist.

The Moon Is The Right Distance From Earth

The moon is about 239,000 miles away from earth. If it were only 50,000 miles away the tides, which are now harmless, would completely submerge the continents twice a day.

Though the moon is only relatively close to earth, its surface temperature varies each fifteen lunar days from a high of 214 degrees Fahrenheit above zero, to a low of 243 degrees Fahrenheit below zero!

The Composition Of Atmosphere Is Perfect To Sustain Life

The composition of the atmosphere is about 78 parts nitrogen and 21 parts oxygen. Too much nitrogen in the atmosphere would slow down all functions of the body so that death would finally result. Too much oxygen would also be harmful since it would increase the activities of the body to such a pace that life could not last that long. It is highly unlikely that this could have been developed by accident, since most accidents in chemistry usually result in explosions. This is especially true of nitrogen which is the basic ingredient of practically every explosive!

The Angle Of The Earth Is Just Right For Us To Survive

The earth is tilted on its axis 23 1/2 degrees. This tilting, plus the revolution around the sun, gives us our seasons. In most parts of the earth this not only gives ample time to raise the necessary supply of food, but it provides a season in which the soil lies idle, soaks up moisture, and increases its own fertility.

The Testimony From The Atmosphere

The atmosphere of the earth serves a protective blanket to shield us from deadly radiation. If the radiation reached the earth, it would be impossible for humankind to exist.

In addition, our atmosphere is just dense enough to protect the earth from some twenty million meteors that enter it daily. These meteors, which travel at speeds of about thirty miles per second, would otherwise strike the earth with such impact that all life would be endangered.

This Is Not A Coincidence!

It is difficult to believe that all of these things are a series of fortunate coincidences. Yet if we accept the idea that everything is a result of chance, this is exactly what we have to believe. As one examines the universe one finds precision and order everywhere. Our earth has been made in such a way that it is suitable for life to exist.

From The Smallest To The Largest God Has Revealed Himself

Whether it be from the smallest atom or the largest galaxy, the most simple life form to the most complex, the living God has revealed himself to humankind.

All Of This Is Still Not Enough

Still, the revelation of God in creation is not sufficient for us to know Him. The truth of creation has been corrupted by sinful humanity. Paul wrote.

Because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen (Romans 1:25).

Humanity rejected the Creator and worshipped the creation instead.

There Is No Direct Contact With God

In addition, nature does not bring us into direct contact with God. It reveals the power of God without revealing His person. Humanity needs more than the testimony of creation to know exactly what God is like and what He requires of us.

Nature Is Limited As A Source Of Truth

Nature can give us only a partial perception of God. From nature we can discover the wisdom and power of God. However nature is limited as a source of truth about God. Human beings are only able to infer certain things about God from nature because there are no explicit statements about him. We are not competent to understand anything more that certain general truths about God. This is due to our limitations as human beings as well as our fallen sinful nature.

Summary

The Bible testifies that "nature" or "creation" gives clear testimony to God's existence. Everyone, everywhere, has this testimony. Natural revelation is more than sufficient to make humanity responsible and to show them they are "without excuse." Consequently humans should attempt to find out who this Creator is and what He requires of them. Unfortunately, many people have corrupted the revelation of God in nature and have chosen to worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator. Instead of worshipping the Creator, they have turned creation into a god. For this, God has pronounced judgment upon them.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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