In Manifold Witness
Fall has long been my favorite season. There's something about this time of year - the brisk air, crisp leaves, and hot drinks - that feels homey to me. In particular, I like that it feels transitional; it bridges the gap between the harsh heat of summer and the bitter cold of winter. This year, as the breeze sharpens and the jackets come off their hangers, I'm reflecting on how often I've taken this good gift from God for granted.
The Good Gift of Creation
There is perhaps no verse in the Bible quite so famous as the first: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." But this verse, while profound in its own right, is merely the prelude to one of the most awe-inspiring chapters in all of scripture. If you haven't revisited the creation account of Genesis 1 recently, I highly recommend returning to it with fresh senses. God's majesty and power is on full display as he speaks into existence every atom with which you and I have ever come into contact. The account is beautiful and true in equal measure, dotted frequently with the refrain, "and God saw that it was good." As humans, we are not merely part of this good creation; we are recipients of it:
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.' And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.'" (Gen. 1:27-29)
The Dependency of Creation
Certainly, praising God for the provision of food is not uncommon amongst his people. Each of us is likely to have truly hungered for food at least once in our lives, so we can understand what it's like to go without. But how often do we praise him for the sky above our heads? For the changing of the seasons? For the laws of physics? We're never faced with the possiblity of going without these things, but they were nonetheless created by God and shared with us. Can it be that we only praise God for providing what we believe ourselves to be at risk of losing?
In all of these things, we see the intricacy of God's handiwork. His design is fascinating, complex, and completely dependent on him. He has not set all of his created systems into motion and stepped away merely to observe; he is intimately involved with every detail of the creation and is sovereign over all of it. Far be it from me to neglect to praise him for his faithfulness to bring each of the seasons around in their due time.
The Testament of Creation
Whether consistent like the seasons or spontaneous like the weather, Paul makes the testament of creation clear:
"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 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." (Rom. 1:19-20)
All of creation testifies, in manifold witness, to the goodness and faithfulness of God, the creator.
Summer and winter and springtime and harvest
Sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love