Encountering God Through Creation

Peter McNamee   -  

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Gen 1:1) The opening words of the Bible are among the most recognized and quoted. Their purpose is twofold. They first tell of the origins of the world. They set in motion the planet and universe we know today. Before God moved there was nothing, but God created everything. He spoke and there it was, “By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God.” (Heb 11:3) This phrase begins the narrative echoing through all the pages of the Bible and still resounding today. The same story you and I are living in. Same world, same story. Second, these verses give us an early glimpse into the character of God. We don’t have to wait long for the Bible to teach us about God, the first verse reveals Him. He is a God who creates. He is the Creator. I believe that the creative heart of God is one of His most underappreciated characteristics. Simply put, we easily take for granted what He has created. The earth is full of many wonderful sites, creatures, and experiences for us to enjoy. To try and write about all of them here would be in vain. Everything is marked by the impression of God. From the mountains that project into the sky to the oceans rolling with waves. From every tiny insect that makes its home in the ground to the birds soaring into the sky. From the dazzling burst of a dying star millions of light years away to the complex structure and architecture of human cells. All of it is testifying to the wonder of the Creator. Paul tells us that God has been making Himself known to us through the physical world He has created,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.” Romans 1:20. When we delight in creation we are not only experiencing the satisfaction of the world God has made, but we are moving ever closer to the Creator Himself as we understand more of His divine nature. Therefore, rejection or ignoration of creation robs us of joy and robs Him of glory. Genesis shows us an artist who speaks and mountains form, who talks and the sun begins to shine. An artist who is intimately connected to the work He created. All of it was good. God didn’t want man and woman to just plainly endure life while on the earth, He wanted them to relish it. To dance around in it, to laugh in it, to stare in wonder at it. To be led to worship by it.

Though sin has tainted the very fabric of the world, it is still beautiful, and God is still present in it. Stop reading this for a moment and think about the most beautiful place you have ever visited. Think hard about the images, the smells, the atmosphere. Most likely, this was not just a place that you saw, it was a place you experienced. It pulled you in. You couldn’t help but stare at it. You wanted to try and use words to describe what you were seeing, but they didn’t seem to do it justice. It was magnificent. If that is the experience we have when we experience the product of the Creator, how much greater the elation and worship when we experience the Creator Himself!

But it is not just the physical world He has created, though that is most visible to the eyes. He has also made emotions, memories, laughter, dreams, and conscience. He is a God who feels and understands, and His creation reflects that. Feeling thrilled, passionate, happy, joyful, alive, or inspired. These are not a broken result of the fall, but a beautiful symphony of creation. God didn’t just create physical beings, He created beings that could experience and wonder. He created beings that could contemplate and dream. Minds that are capable of learning and retaining memories and information. Hearts that are able to feel and empathize. Observant beings that are able to enjoy the world they were created in. But most importantly, God created beings who could understand and experience Him. He created beings who were hardwired for relationships and community. God marked us to be able to know Him through His creation so that we may delight in Him forever. 

Sometimes what we need the most in this world is a fresh start. Whether we have been in a job that has grown monotonous, weekly schedules that have become suddenly dull, or we haven’t had a new adventure. We all, from time to time, need to experience the start of something new. Seasons change, people come and go, and life looks different everyday, and that’s okay. This is the way God made the world. He made the world to be always moving and changing. He designed seasons to change. With every leaf that drops in fall there is the reminder of winter’s cold presence. And the sign of the first bloom in spring fills hearts with joy and expectation, because we know the trees are not dead forever. There is beauty in change. Everything has been designed to change except one thing – the Creator. As we look out upon creation and see the ever-changing world we call home, we can take heart in knowing that it is held together by an infinite and perfect God. The chaos of our lives, whether it be a global crisis or a spilled cup of coffee in the morning, is not taking God by surprise. 

The Hebrew term for beginning in Genesis 1 connotes what comes first, or put another way, a starting point. At the starting point of the world God created. The very center of our existence orbits around a God who had a plan and purpose and put it in motion. The Hebrew term is the same one that encourages us that, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning (starting point) of wisdom” (Prov 1:7). It means that the first step, the starting square, the launch pad for gaining wisdom is fearing the Lord. The concept bookmarks the Bible as it appears at the very beginning in Genesis, and resurfaces in Revelation to fill our hearts with awe at the majesty of God, And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning (starting point) and the end.” (Rev 21:6). God is where it all begins, and He will be where it all ends. Everything that takes place in this life is held in the unblemished hands of the Creator. He’s holding the past, He’s with you in the present, and He will be there in the future. 

So the next time you walk outside, pause before you go to your car. Look up to the skies before you look at your phone. Look around you at the trees, the grass, the rich clouds rolling through the sky. Enjoy the sensations of this world. Slow down and look closely at the world around you. For God is revealing more of who He is to you through every layer of it.