Seeing God’s Glory across the USA

In Romans 1:20, we find a key doctrine regarding how God has revealed himself universally through nature in a way that holds all humans accountable to their creator.  It says, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”  We call this in theology, general revelation as compared to the detailed gospel revealed in special revelation, the Word of God.

20151213_203131891_iOSMy family and I just returned from a cross country drive to spend Christmas with our families in South Carolina.  The passage from Romans comes to my mind every time I get the chance to travel across the United States and see all the beauty that makes up our nation. For me, the cross country drive starts in San Diego, right by the beautiful Pacific Ocean, then East through the Mojave Desert.  While I have done my fair share of complaining about my time spent in the desert at 29 Palms and Iraq, there is a strange beauty to even that desolate area especially during sunrise and sunset.  It’s also interesting to see the different types of deserts, from the mountainous rocky deserts in the Mojave in California to the Seguaro heavy deserts in Arizona, then going farther south in California, you see the Imperial Dunes that form an entirely different landscape.  This trip we went north from Phoenix, Arizona through a beautiful snow covered national forest to head towards Albequerque, and visit our missionary friends who work with Native American tribes there.

20151213_175841397_iOS 1From the mountains, we went through the plains areas of Texas and Oklahoma and then over to the lakes, rivers and wooded hills of southern states including Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and finally South Carolina.  It is in those states you cross the amazing river that is the Mississippi, and you see pretty little creeks that wind their way through cow fields and woods.  There are lots of contrasts in color with the Southwest where the scenery becomes much greener even in the winter from that found in the west.  You go through swamps inhabited by alligators and nasty mosquitos, but are also beautiful once you really start to look at the scenery found in them.

20151213_192658693_iOSAs we traveled through all this beautiful land created by God, and reflected on the 3 other cross country trips we have made as a family, I couldn’t help but be awed by the greatness of our God.  I can fully appreciate the thoughts of the Psalmist when he says, “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4)  As believers, all of nature should drive us back to our Creator who graciously gives it to us to enjoy and care for.  It is fascinating to me that as much talk as you hear about the destruction of our environment, which I would not immediately disagree with, you still see the fingerprints of God wherever you look.  Even in the cities and structures that mankind has built everywhere across the world, God’s prints are still there.  Contrary to what many think, instead of destroying His creation, humans have demonstrated even more the existence of God in the infrastructure we create, which is solely based on our reasoning and knowledge given to us by a gracious God. Hebrews 2:7 teaches that humans are crowned with glory and honor, and Genesis 1:27 tells us that we are created in the “image of God”.  When we as humans use our intellect, even in its fallen, sin-affected condition, to create and build, we bring glory to the creator who put within us the ability to learn and create that is unknown in the animal world.  There is no other species on earth in nature that designs and creates as human beings do.

IMG_3261Ultimately what I see when I look across our nation is the glory of God displayed in his creation, whether in nature or humans and their displayed God given intellect.  As imperfect as we may think our country is politically or socially, all of us can be drawn to the glory of God as we open our eyes up to it wherever it unfolds around us.  This should also drive our desire as followers of Christ to help other humans see their position before God as one of his creatures in need of redemption and restoration in order to fully experience all that being created in the “image and likeness of God” fully entails.

IMG_3593How Great Thou Art!

O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
consider all the works thy hand hath made,
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder,
thy power throughout the universe displayed: 

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God; to thee,
How great thou art, how great thou art!
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God; to thee,
How great thou art, how great thou art! 

When through the woods and forest glades I wander,
and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;
when I look down from lofty mountain grandeur,
and hear the brook, and feel the gentle breeze; 

But when I think that God, his Son not sparing,
sent him to die-I scarce can take it in
that on the cross, our burden gladly bearing,
he bled and died to take away our sin; 

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart!
Then shall I bow in humble adoration,
and there proclaim, My God, how great thou art!

Russian hymn
tr. Stuart K. Hine (1899-1989) altd

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