God in Creation
RUMC 22 May 2016
Let me show you some graffiti that was found in a men’s room bathroom stall at MIT in Boston. It is a mathematic equation. Can you guess what it means?
And God said:
…and there was light.
Today I would like to talk about how we can know God through creation. In our society there are those who would tell us there is no scientific evidence to support the claim of a Divine designer. But you may be surprised to learn this: the Bible does not argue for the existence of God; it states that He is.
My scripture text is Psalm 19.
The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge.3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,5 which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them; and nothing is hid from its heat.7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey, and drippings of the honeycomb.1 Moreover by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.2 But who can detect their errors?
Clear me from hidden faults.13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent; do not let them have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
This is the Word of God. Thanks be to God.
David, who grew up as a shepherd, was able to look up at the night sky and see the magnificent view of God’s celestial handiwork. With no city lights or buildings to block his view, all David had to do was lean up against a tree and watch the moon, the planets and the constellations do their nightly dance. As David looked up, he took out his harp and began to sing. That was how Psalm 19 was born. It was as if David saw the heavens as a preacher who announced the glory of God.
With busy lives, our post-modern society spends a lot of time inside, particularly on social media; it is probable that many miss the awesomeness of creation. On the other hand, those who see the beauty of nature on a regular basis could become so accustomed to it, they could miss it.
Here is a personal situation that speaks of overfamiliarity. When I was on active duty in the military, we lived in the country of Panama and the first place we lived was the 5th floor of a 12 story apartment building on a busy intersection. Once we were moved in, it seemed that we could hear every vehicle that passed by. We would put on the air conditioner and close all the windows in hopes that we could drown out all the noise, but that didn’t work. Fortunately, the landlord had mercy on us and we were allowed to move a quieter apartment in the back of the building away from the traffic. But to our amazement, our neighbors who had lived there a long time didn’t hear the noise. They were completely oblivious to it.
The point I want to make is that the same thing could happen to us when it comes to creation. When we see God’s creations–the sun, the various cloud formations, the moon, the stars, the beauty of a lake, the trees with their majestic looking beauty–on a regular basis, we could become blasé about it if we let ourselves.
Although creation does not have the gift of verbal speech, there is a choir of colors and shapes that sings its praise to the Lord. Certainly here in Connecticut, there is much evidence of God in his creation.
Now consider the vastness of God’s universe: (These dimensions are approximate.) Let’s pretend the earth is like a golf ball; the sun would be the size of a basketball. To show the vastness of distance: I would put the golf ball here at this church which represents planet earth. Then I would place the basketball which represents the sun at the Gulf Station on the corner of Hartford Turnpike. That would be an approximate scaled down distance between the earth and sun. The largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter would be about the size of a yellow croquet ball. To determine the magnitude of the scaled down distance from earth to Jupiter, I would place the golf ball here at the church and the croquet ball would be located at McDonalds.
Let’s say we were able to alter the earth’s rotational spin by just a few miles an hour, or add or subtract a few degrees in the tilt of the earth; with those changes the earth would not be able to sustain life as would know it. Again the amazing handiwork of God is superbly balanced.
Inside the Copenhagen city hall building in Denmark, is the most complicated clock in the entire world. This one-of-a-kind Astronomical Clock took forty years to build, is housed in a glass casing, and has ten faces and fifteen thousand parts.
This clock computes the following: local and solar time, 7 days of the week, 12 months to a year and the passing of years, lunar eclipses, and positions of planets. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this clock is that it is not completely accurate; it manages to lose 2/5 of a second every three hundred years.
There is more, this magnificent clock must be regulated by a more precise clock—the universe with its trillions of moving parts and movements so consistent that all time on earth can be measured against it.
Several days after Easter, I attended a minister’s conference at the Marie Joseph Retreat Center in Biddeford Pool, Maine. Posted in the elevator at the retreat center was the monthly tide chart. Every time I got on the elevator, I would marvel at the systematic data of high and low tides, sunrises and sunsets. And whenever I looked at the beach for confirmation, the chart was never wrong.
Unfortunately having knowledge of the One who created the universe is usually not enough to bring us to a personal faith. Add to that, there are often questions that can muddy the waters such as: Why is there so much evil and suffering in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people? What are those supposed inconsistencies in the Bible? If a person cannot come to grips with those contradictions and mysteries of life, that individual could very well end up an agnostic.
In my sermon introduction, I asked if God could really be known. We can find him through His created world around us, but we also need His written word. Francis Bacon, the great English Philosopher of the 1600’s said there are two volumes to life: there is the book of nature and there is the book of scripture. To begin to understand God, we must read both.
So let me make the challenge: Get to know the two books of life. Read and study the Word of God and familiarize yourself with the world around you. I realize the beauty of creation cannot convert a closed mind. It is only the working of the Holy Spirit that can awaken faith in the One who set the universe in place.
Let me ask this question. Do you know your creator? Is he your Lord and Savior? Psalm 19 says:
The law of the Lord is right, refreshing the soul.
The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.
The decrees of the Lord are firm and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey from the honeycomb.
True Christianity is when we focus our gaze towards God and, at the same time, show concern for those in need.