by Dean Ohlman (see the original post here)
First-century Christian convert Paul, the apostle, claims that we can "clearly" see God's eternal power and divine nature (that which compels us to worship) in what He has created. So what is it we can actually witness in the wild? This question compelled me over the years to attend more carefully to the natural world and also to learn from others about what they have discovered while reading pages from the "book" of God's works in the wilderness. Here's a sampling of what I believe we can witness most dramatically when we enter the unspoiled areas of what John Calvin called "the theater of God's glory":
Seemingly endless time and space. Arguments in the church about whether the earth is young or old often blind us to the fact that, according to Paul, the material world will provide evidence of God's power being "eternal." Time has no beginning or ending apparent to our human senses or understanding"a fact I realized as a teenager that would sometimes cause my mind to whirl in the dark hours of the night. Because the earth-bound human mind cannot conceive of eternality, we want to either deny it or somehow bring it into our human scope. But we can't. Space too has no span measurable by our human instruments. Using our most powerful microscopes and subatomic detectors, we find no limit to smallness. In the largest telescopes and astronomy tools, bigness gets forever bigger. Yes, timelessness and infinity are frightening realities for time-bound finite creatures to ponder. Nonetheless, they are actualities we can "clearly see" in order to keep us on bent knees before our Creator.
Mystifying light, energy, and matter. Even in this day when scientific studies tell us so much about the cosmos, the true nature of light, energy, and matter still defies human definition and understanding. Because we know so much about what these natural features do and how they do it, we usually forget that we operate with them much like a person who skillfully drives a car, but knows next to nothing about what's under the hood. We need to recover the sense of awe that primitive civilizations had regarding these core elements of nature"not that we might worship them but that we might better worship their Creator and Sustainer.
Wonderful life. Life is a human mystery like light, energy, and matter. Scientists don't know what it is or how it came into a cosmos that is almost totally hostile to life. And there is no evidence that it exists anywhere else in the universe. In the wilderness there is one constant celebration of life, the varieties of which are without number. That's one reason that abuse of our wilderness areas seems to be so profane. Realizing that human beings are carelessly causing the extinction of thousands of life forms that are the miraculous handiwork of God ought to fill us with shame"and apprehension. The Bible affirms that God loves all that He has made. Certainly our destruction of these living creatures will not continue without negative consequences for humanity.