by James M. Bramblet
As we look about us and view things from our human point of view, it appears that God’s purpose in creating the world was to make us a nice place in which to live. Indeed, it is true that God has provided us with all the necessities of life, such as air to breathe, food to eat, and heat and light for our convenience. But as we examine the Scriptures we find that God had a deeper and more all-pervasive intention as He formed the universe for our habitation, I speak of the fact that God reveals Himself through His creation. This fact is revealed to us in many portions of Scripture and is stated most clearly in Psalm 19:1-4:
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge, There is no speech or language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
In these four verses we are told four things. The first is that God’s creation, the heavens and the earth, reveal the person of God, or at least His glory and His handiwork. The second verse tells us that this message concerning God is a continuous message emanating forth day after day and night after night. The third verse tells us that this message is not limited by language. Peoples of all languages have access to this message. The fourth verse tells us that the message is going forth in every part of the world. No matter in which part of the earth is our habitation, this message is reaching us there.
In light of the above passage, no person on earth can plead ignorance to God’s claim on his life. This is exactly the message the Apostle Paul gives as he writes in Romans chapter 1 concerning the world’s guilt before God. In verse 18 he explains that God’s wrath is revealed against all men. In verse 19 he points out that this is fair since the knowledge of God is revealed to all. In verse 20 he gives the way God has made this universal revelation:
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).
By examining the things God has made, we see certain things about God, especially His power and His Godhead, or the fact that He exists. No wonder the Psalmist says that only a fool would say in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). If you read on beyond verse 20 of Romans 1, you will find that mankind has rejected God and preferred to worship His creation rather than God Himself. No wonder the Scriptures say we are without excuse. But if the pagan peoples of desert and jungle are without excuse, how much more without excuse is the modern man who examines God’s creation in minutest detail through microscopes and telescopes if he rejects this message concerning the claims of God on his life.
A few of the many passages that teach this truth are as follows: “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things” (Rom. 11:36). “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). “0 Lord, our lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth, who has set thy glory above the heavens” (Psalm 8:1).
The Lord Jesus is God the Son, the second Person of the Godhead. He was there and involved in the creation of the universe (Col. 1:16, Gen. 1:26). When He uses things in the creation to point out truths concerning Himself, He does not treat them as independent items that just happen to show certain things about Him. Rather, He declares Himself to be first and the created thing secondary. For instance, in John chapter 15 He does not point out a grape vine in the field and say He is something like this vine. Rather, He says, “I am the true vine.” Before a vine had ever been created, Jesus Christ had those qualities. When God created the vine, He purposely made it to reveal those things concerning Christ. Incidentally, it also produces fruit and grape juice for men, but that is not its primary function. Its primary purpose was to be a physical illustration of the true vine which had existed through all eternity.
What is true of the vine is true of all creation. Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). John spoke of Him as the “true” light (John 1:9). They did not speak of Jesus as being like light but rather that He was light. If comparisons are made, then we must compare the physical light to Jesus and not the other way around. When God created our eyes and the eyes of the various animals, He had already created the light that would reflect from the things of earth so we could see. But the entire thing was done to show us the “true” light, which is Jesus Christ.
What is said about the vine and the light could also be said about God creating sheep with their need for a shepherd (John 10:11). It could be said concerning His creating us with the need for food and His provision of bread (John 6:48). In fact, it could be said of every part of God’s creation. Before the fall, Adam saw a great deal more of God’s glory in creation than our sin-clouded eyes can see today. When the animals were brought before Adam what he called them, “that was the name thereof” (Gen. 2:19). He did not just make up a name, but he was able to see the true nature and purpose God had created into that animal and he called it by the name that revealed that nature. The Bible makes it clear that all of God’s creation is filled with divine messages for man.
When Adam viewed creation, he viewed an exhibition. Everywhere God’s attributes were on display. His power, His grandeur, His beauty, His wisdom, His greatness, His majesty, His glory, and His providence were seen everywhere. For Adam, creation must have been like a temple filled with symbols extolling the greatness of God. The beauty of the Garden of Eden was not just that it was physically better than anything we know today, but primarily it was that sin had not yet entered and man’s eyes were still open to the glory of God.
The revelations of God that come to expression in creation are now, because of sin, hid from the view of natural man. It is only through the light of God’s Word and through the illumination of the Holy Spirit that we can again begin to see what Adam saw. That we are to seek to see God and things eternal in the things and events of this life is told us in II Corinthians 4:18:
“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
This passage does not mean that we should not look at or examine the things that are seen, but it does mean that as we examine them we should be concerned about the eternal values revealed therein.
Excerpted from Chapter 2 of An Introduction to the Christian School by James M. Bramblet, Copyright © 1985 by James M. Bramblet