“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork. Day unto day utters speech and night unto night shows knowledge. There is no speech or language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
These words of David were later reflected in the writings of St. Paul who declared that the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly understood by the creatures of which are a part of the creation (that’s us), up to and including the power and person of God, “so that they are without excuse.”
So, for all you readers who glory in Nature (the creation) and claim it reveals God, congratulations. But don’t get too self-congratulatory, it only means you have expressed a fact, every living creature already knows. Still, understanding and articulating that understanding is very therapeutic. This is why people who connect to God through nature have touched upon something very real and healing.
It is here where I wish to speak because being awed by the creation and the wonder of what God has made is not enough…under all but extreme any circumstances, ever. Taking a hike and admiring God’s handiwork and calling it belief or worship is like looking at your paycheck but refusing to cash it and spend the money. It is nice that you have it, but it does not really do anything.
C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity has a wonderful illustration of why this is so and I’m going to steal from him here while encouraging to read it for yourself in the chapter titled, Making and Begetting. The crux of the matter is this, when compared a creed, a doctrine, or even the pages in the Bible, the work of God in nature seems so much more real. That’s because it is!
But, here’s the thing, standing on the beach at the foot of McWay Falls on the California coast is an awesome experience…truly one of those God inspiring moments. Yet, it’s only one spot on the Pacific Ocean. It’s much better than looking a Google Maps of the Pacific. Nevertheless, the map is constructed of what millions have seen over the vast area of the ocean and its shores. It’s a collective fellowship of ocean viewers.
The other thing is the map, the less real, is essential if you want to go somewhere. You cannot sail the Pacific from your one view of the falls, you must have a chart (map). For this same reason seeing God in nature is not enough. You must study the map, listen to the old captains, and set sail across the sea for yourself to experience God.
How you accomplish that is between you and God. The one thing you must not do is stand there staring at Nature and letting that be the sum total of your spiritual experience with a God who by the spoken word created the universe(s). There is more to see and experience than one human lifespan can take in, but don’t let that stop you from trying.