“The Creator Loves Pizzazz” -Annie Dillard
O Lord, Our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth. -Ps. 8
I’m told I was two years old when I made my first trip to Colorado. We took family vacations in the summer. The drive alone was spectacular, but the first glimpse of the mountains in the distance (as a kid from Texas) was breathtaking. I dare say I found a home there along the trails and streams of the Rockies.
I learned Blue Spruce, Douglass Fir, Aspen and Weeping Willow. I learned Rainbow, Brown, Cutthroat and Brook. I met a black bear named Texana and shared sunflower seeds with a chipmunk.
Nature is a Good Teacher
I am not yet smart enough to be an environmentalist, nor jaded enough to give up on the earth, but I find things in nature that make me glad to be alive, at my best or at my worst. Nature is a good teacher.
There is Something About Nature
Psalm 8 is a companion to many in this regard. The poet finds evidence for God in nature and through an appreciation of nature is drawn to the majesty of God. As the poet conveys:
O Lord, our Sovereign,
How majestic is your name in all the earth!
When I look at the heavens,
the work of your hands, the sun and moon
and shining stars…
What are human beings
That you are mindful of them?
What are we that you care (Ps. 8:1,3–4)?
Does Nature Point to Something Greater?
Some may recall William Paley’s case for God’s existence. As his analogy goes: If one were to walk along and find a watch on the ground, one could imagine the winds and particles randomly coming together to form such a watch. However, is it not more plausible to conclude that the watch was the design of a creator with a purpose? The poet in Psalm 8 finds a creator with a purpose.
Existence is both Gift and Responsibility
Yet, the poet goes further. Not only does he find evidence for God’s existence in creation, but an experience that evokes profound delight, a sense of purpose and deep responsibility:
You have made them a little lower than the angels,
giving them responsibility for the work of your hands (Ps. 8:6).
A Sketch of Things to Come
I have a conviction that most of us find meaning in nature. That does not necessarily make a case for God or that we have any responsibility for the world around us, but it does give us pause to wonder. In the words of C.S. Lewis: At present we are on the outside…, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning, but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendours we see.
But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumour that it will not always be so.
Some day, God willing,…humans should have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch.
— The Weight of Glory
What the creation seems to do so effortlessly, (even among chaos), we have the capacity to do voluntarily —to grow, to heal, to love, to repair, to seek out and save what is lost. It begins with an appreciation of the world in which we live and finds fulfillment in our care of such a world.