|To Reflect the Grandeur of God|
Creation Matters (2)
And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
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The vast cosmos is the creation of God. He made it, and He has His purposes for why He did and, therefore, for how the creation should be used. Gerard Manley Hopkins echoed the words of Moses in our text when he wrote, “The world is charged with the grandeur of God.” Men don’t have to look far in order to be persuaded of this. Ken Burns’ newest documentary series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” is a clear example of Hopkins’ claim. The first episode, a two-hour overture to the series, is entitled, “The Scripture of Nature.” The narration focuses on Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks and is shot through with religious imagery, references to the Almighty, celebrations of the power and beauty of God, and speculations on the Deity’s purpose in granting such delights to men.
This is as it should be, for God’s primary purpose in creating the vast cosmos is to reflect Himself and His grandeur, to provide an abiding, seemingly boundless witness to His goodness, beauty, wisdom, majesty, power, and pleasure. God made the world as a way of helping its creatures, in particular, human beings, to gain some insight into the immensity and steadfast love of Him Who brought them into being and sustains them by His grace. When, on the last day of creation, God surveyed all He had done and pronounced His pleasure over it, He signaled to every sentient being that this world would henceforth serve to reveal its Maker and to beckon men to consider, seek, and know Him (Acts 14:17; Acts 17:26, 27; Rom. 1:19, 20).
But, as Hopkins continued in his poem to explain, men have disregarded God’s purpose for the creation and have “bleared” and “smeared” the earth with their own rapacious, destructive ways. This is doubtless one of the reasons Ken Burns dwells so much on the divine reflections which are everywhere on display in our national parks: people have become so accustomed to the creation that they have lost the sense of wonder and transcendence it holds. We have become developers, consumers, exploiters, and wasters of the creation, and we need a kind of “national wake-up call” to remind us of just what it is we are trampling and smearing with our consumerist agendas and ways.
God made the world in order to show the world His glory. This is the starting-point for a Christian understanding of creation matters; it is also the most compelling explanation for why creation matters so much to those who know its Creator.