“The invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity.” Romans 1:20, ARV. *
The things of nature that we now behold give us but a faint conception of Eden’s glory. Sin has marred earth’s beauty; on all things may be seen traces of the work of evil. Yet much that is beautiful remains. Nature testifies that One infinite in power, great in goodness, mercy, and love, created the earth, and filled it with life and gladness. Even in their blighted state, all things reveal the handiwork of the great Master Artist. Wherever we turn, we may hear the voice of God, and see evidences of His goodness.
From the solemn roll of the deep-toned thunder and old ocean’s ceaseless roar, to the glad songs that make the forests vocal with melody, nature’s ten thousand voices speak His praise. In earth and sea and sky, with their marvelous tint and color, varying in gorgeous contrast or blended in harmony, we behold His glory. The everlasting hills tell us of His power. The trees that wave their green banners in the sunlight, and the flowers in their delicate beauty, point to their Creator. The living green that carpets the brown earth tells of God’s care for the humblest of His creatures. The caves of the sea and the depths of the earth reveal His treasures. He who placed the pearls in the ocean and the amethyst and chrysolite among the rocks is a lover of the beautiful. The sun rising in the heavens is a representative of Him who is the life and light of all that He has made. All the brightness and beauty that adorn the earth and light up the heavens speak of God.
“The earth is full of thy riches.”
“Day unto day uttereth speech,
And night unto night sheweth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language,
Without these their voice is heard.
Their line is gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.”
Habakkuk 3:3; Psalms 104:24; 19:2-4, margin.
All things tell of His tender, fatherly care and of His desire to make His children happy.
The mighty power that works through all nature and sustains all things is not, as some men of science represent, merely an all-pervading principle, an actuating energy. God is a Spirit; yet He is a personal Being; for so He has revealed Himself:
“The Lord is the true God,
He is the living God, and an everlasting king: . . .
The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth,
Even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.”
“The portion of Jacob is not like them:
For he is the former of all things.”
“He hath made the earth by his power,
He hath established the world by his wisdom,
And hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.”
Jeremiah 10:10, 11, 16, 12.
Nature Is Not God
God’s handiwork in nature is not God Himself in nature. The things of nature are an expression of God’s character and power; but we are not to regard nature as God. The artistic skill of human beings produces very beautiful workmanship, things that delight the eye, and these things reveal to us something of the thought of the designer; but the thing made is not the maker. It is not the work, but the workman, that is counted worthy of honor. So while nature is an expression of God’s thought, it is not nature, but the God of nature, that is to be exalted.
“Let us worship and bow down:
Let us kneel before the Lord.”
“In his hand are the deep places of the earth;
The heights of the mountains are his also.
The sea is his, and he made it;
And his hands formed the dry land.”
Psalm 95:6; 95:4, 5, ARV.
“Seek him that maketh the Pleiades and Orion,
And turneth the shadow of death into the morning,
And maketh the day dark with night;”
“He that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind,
And declareth unto man what is his thought;”
“He that buildeth His spheres in the heaven,
And hath founded His arch [Noyes’s tanslation]
in the earth;”
“He that calleth for the waters of the sea,
And poureth them out upon the face of the earth;
Jehovah is his name.”
Amos 5:8, ARV; 4:13, ARV; 9:6, margin; 9:6, ARV.
The Creation of the Earth
The work of creation cannot be explained by science. What science can explain the mystery of life?
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” Hebrews 11:3.
“I form the light, and create darkness: . . .
I the Lord do all these things. . . .
I have made the earth,
And created man upon it:
I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens,
And all their host have I commanded.”
“When I call unto them, they stand up together.”
Isaiah 45:7-12; 48:13.
In the creation of the earth, God was not indebted to pre-existing matter. “He spake, and it was . . . he commanded, and it stood fast.” Psalm 33:9. All things, material or spiritual, stood up before the Lord Jehovah at His voice and were created for His own purpose. The heavens and all the host of them, the earth and all things therein, came into existence by the breath of His mouth.
In the creation of man was manifest the agency of a personal God. When God had made man in His image, the human form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it was without life. Then a personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, intelligent being. All parts of the human organism were set in action. The heart, the arteries, the veins, the tongue, the hands, the feet, the senses, the faculties of the mind, all began their work, and all were placed under law. Man became a living soul. Through Christ the Word, a personal God created man and endowed him with intelligence and power.
Our substance was not hid from Him when we were made in secret; His eyes saw our substance, yet being imperfect, and in His book all our members were written when as yet there were none of them.
Above all lower orders of being, God designed that man, the crowning work of His creation, should express His thought and reveal His glory. But man is not to exalt himself as God.
“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord. . . .
Serve the Lord with gladness:
Come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God:
It is He that hath made us, and his we are;
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
And into his courts with praise:
Be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”
“Exalt the Lord our God,
And worship at his holy hill;
For the Lord our God is holy.”
Psalm 100:1-4, margin; 99:9.
God is constantly employed in upholding and using as His servants the things that He has made. He works through the laws of nature, using them as His instruments. They are not self-acting. Nature in her work testifies of the intelligent presence and active agency of a Being who moves in all things according to His will.
“For ever, O Lord,
Thy word is settled in heaven.
Thy faithfulness is unto all generations:
Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
They continue this day according to thine ordinances:
For all are thy servants.”
“Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places.”
“He commanded, and they were created.
He hath also stablished them for ever and ever:
He hath made a decree which shall not pass.”
Psalms 119:89-91; 135:6; 148:5, 6.
It is not by inherent power that year by year the earth yields its bounties and continues its march around the sun. The hand of the Infinite One is perpetually at work guiding this planet. It is God’s power continually exercised that keeps the earth in position in its rotation. It is God who causes the sun to rise in the heavens. He opens the windows of heaven and gives rain.
“He giveth snow like wool:
He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.”
“When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens,
And he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth;
He maketh lightnings with rain,
And bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.”
Psalm 147:16; Jeremiah 10:13.
It is by His power that vegetation is caused to flourish, that every leaf appears, every flower blooms, every fruit develops.
The mechanism of the human body cannot be fully understood; it presents mysteries that baffle the most intelligent. It is not as the result of a mechanism, which, once set in motion, continues its work, that the pulse beats and breath follows breath. In God we live and move and have our being. The beating heart, the throbbing pulse, every nerve and muscle in the living organism, is kept in order and activity by the power of an ever-present God.
The Bible shows us God in His high and holy place, not in a state of inactivity, not in silence and solitude, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy beings, all waiting to do His will. Through these messengers He is in active communication with every part of His dominion. By His Spirit He is everywhere present. Through the agency of His Spirit and His angels He ministers to the children of men.
Above the distractions of the earth He sits enthroned; all things are open to His divine survey; and from His great and calm eternity He orders that which His providence sees best.
“The way of man is not in himself:
It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.”
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart. . . .
In all thy ways acknowledge him,
And he shall direct thy paths.”
“The eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him,
Upon them that hope in his mercy;
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.”
“How precious is thy lovingkindness, O God! . . .
The children of men take refuge under the shadow of thy wings.”
“Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the Lord his God.”
“The earth, O Jehovah, is full of thy lovingkindness.”
Thou lovest “righteousness and justice.”
Thou “art the confidence of all the ends of the earth,
And of them that are afar off upon the sea:
Who by his strength setteth fast the mountains,
Being girded about with might;
Who stilleth the roaring of the seas, . . .
And the tumult of the peoples.”
“Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.”
“Thou crownest the year with thy goodness;
And thy paths drop fatness.”
“The Lord upholdeth all that fall,
And raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
The eyes of all wait upon thee;
And thou givest them their meat in due season.
Thou openest thine hand,
And satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”
Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 3:5, 6; Psalms 33:18, 19; 36:7, ARV; 146:5; 119:64, ARV; 33:5, ARV; 65:5-7, ARV; 65:8, 11; 145:14-16.
* Texts credited to ARV are from The Holy Bible, edited by the American Revision Committee, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1901.
This article is selected from Ellen G. White’s classic volume The Ministry of Healing, pp. 410-418. The title given this article is drawn from the refrain of the well-known hymn “How Great Thou Art,”published in the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Ellen G. White (1827-1915) exercised the gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This article was published November 8, 2012.