The Nature of the Created Universe

Psalm 19 (of David)

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat. The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.  The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.  The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.  They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.  By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.  Who can discern his errors?  Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.  Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

As I have contemplated this magnificent passage from Psalm 19, I have found myself marveling at how often I have lost sight of some of the more obvious things it is so elegantly telling us .  One thing that the nature of creation reveals, at least partly, is the nature of the Creator.  The first passage speaks of His glory.  Glory is an intrinsic attribute of God.   As dwellers in a world now widely illuminated at night, many of us may traverse large spans of our lives without a proper look at “the heavens”.  As a boy, growing up in Eastern New Mexico, I spent many Summer evenings lying on my back in the yard with my Dad, peering up at that glorious expanse.  We lived on a high desert plateau.  The humidity was sometimes only twenty percent, and the air was thin enough at four thousand feet to give a largely unfettered view.  With the naked eye, the Milky Way looked like some of those awesome Hubble telescope pictures of distant nebulae; you could see a breathtaking array of stars in a glittering pin-point overlay to the milky backdrop made up of more suns, each raging in its own nuclear fury, but indistinctly fading into the perspective of infinity.  When one examines a photograph made by telescope, one misses something critical that came with the territory in that high desert — the sense of being an insignificant speck, laying in the grass, on a world engulfed in an endless sea of stars.

Those earliest boyhood star-gazing experiences predated anything that could be called a bona-fide Christian “conversion” in my life by at least ten years.  My family did not attend church in my remembrance (though my Dad said he had attended Sunday school as a boy).  Still, the nature of those glorious heavens clearly convinced me that there is a Creator and that He is AWESOME! That is the first thing that jumps out at me in the first part of Psalm 19.  Our awesome Creator has written a message in the heavens for us and it says directly that He is God, and we are not.

Another evidence to consider, of the universe displaying the nature of the creator, is that the heavens “pour forth speech”.  This phrase was not chosen simply as a bit of poetic whimsy.  God speaks.  In fact, the Biblical account of creation makes it plain that “God said” describes the method of creation, insofar as human terms can describe it. (See Genesis 1.)  That the aforementioned starry host came into being on the very breath of God is testimony of the limitless power of his Word.  The opening chapter of the Gospel of John expands the notion that the Word is the creative power that lives in God.  An honest reader will find it unmistakable:  the Word, the creative side of Almighty God, took on the form of flesh in Jesus to further expound the message that God is working to reconcile us to Him.  Imagine! We, while still trespassers, reconciled with the One who is Holy.  Just as the Word brought all things into being, so Jesus gives “the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name”.

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