Reading the Book of Nature

Imagine a person who grows up without access to the Bible. He has never heard of Jesus. He knows nothing about the church. What does he know?

He knows he exists. He can look into a mirror and say, “I exist, and I did not bring myself into existence.”

If he thinks deeply he will realize that he lives in a world uniquely suited to sustain life. Is it a coincidence that our earth, our solar system, our galaxy, our universe are put together with ingenious purpose? That purpose appears to be the sustenance of human life with the biodiversity to support it.

The Bible agrees and says these facts are pointers to the existence of a Creator. “What may be known about God is plain. … God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).

Whether or not he has read the Bible, the thinking person knows that right and wrong exist as immutable moral laws. These moral standards are universal and are found in all philosophies and religious systems. This awareness of good and evil is written on every human heart (Romans 2:14-15). Natural law is God-given and is the foundation for justice.

Furthermore, the person who has not yet received formal teaching about God may still contemplate with awe the beauty of creation, and he may create beautiful things himself. His appreciation of a glorious sunset, the majesty of the heavens at night, a beautiful garden, the birth of a child, may provoke a worshipful response. Who is he to worship? Aesthetics is not the product of blind chaos. Beauty itself is a pointer to the beauty of God.

Our thinking person is reading the book of nature and it tells him that God exists. But nature by itself cannot lead him to know the Creator in a personal way.

The Creator is also a communicator. He has chosen to reveal himself through the written words of the holy scriptures. The Bible tells how God has revealed himself in his son Jesus Christ. It is through faith in Jesus that our thinking friend may be brought into a personal relationship with God. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

This is the essence of the church’s concern for people who do not yet know God. This is the reason missionaries cross cultural and geographic boundaries to go to those who have never heard the message of Jesus. When they go, they often discover that there are people whose hearts the Lord has opened as they have thought about the purpose for existence, the quest for justice, and the gift of beauty.

These are reasons to worship God and to give careful attention to the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are reasons to seek him.

“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7).

    –  Pastor Randy Faulkner