Monday, July 15, 2013

Worship Stimulants

Our theistic belief system is supported by two God-provided revelations--the revelation of the world of nature (general revelation) and the revelation of scripture (special revelation). In our God discovery, these two revelations are not either/or but rather, both/and. Our blog has taken the stance that general revelation supports and clarifies the special revelation of Holy Scripture. To interpret scripture errantly is to diminish the revelation of God and God’s actions in the natural world. The two revelations harmonize and supplement each other. One is not more important than the other, nor does one revelation trump the findings of the other. Our science/faith blog stresses the importance of general revelation, but not because it is superior.

As we observe the wonder of our surroundings, we focus on its beauty at different levels. Perhaps we ponder the aesthetic beauty of the great outdoors. The wonders of the beach, the mountains, and the sky grip our senses. At deeper levels we observe the interactions of matter, forces, and energy and how their interactions impinge upon us. Life scientists help us focus on the wonders of living inhabitants within our physical creation. They describe living things according to their physical and behavioral characteristics. The behavior of matter and living things lends itself to empirical studies--careful observation, description, and analysis, the starting points of our worship experience.

At whatever level we appreciate the wonders of the natural world we are moved to worship the God who created these wonders. The constant interactions of energy and matter provide our weather phenomena, for instance. Some weather is exhilaratingly perfect and pleasant. Other times our weather provides bountiful and beneficial precipitation to water crops and restore ground water levels. A rainy day is inconvenient but usually regarded as a blessing. On occasion damaging winds or floods descend to generate concern about the vagaries of our weather system. Physical creation’s intricacy and complexity is catalogued in Job 34-38.

The behavior of living creatures is linked to their interactions with humans. Our past description of soulish animal behavior is a topic for our serious reflection. Beyond the trusting relationship binding many animals to humans, there are thousands of other animal behaviors we could highlight. Our animal neighbors provide us with entertaining antics. We marvel at their adaptive behaviors. Job 39-42 contains descriptions of the intricacy and complexity of Earth’s soulish creatures. The provision of millions of species of less soulish creatures and the marvelous variety of plant life to sustain earth creatures with food and other products afford man opportunity for multiple outlets of thankful worship.

Our physical planet provides the setting for the roles of millions of species of living players. Our rotating and revolving satellite possesses the dual combination of fine-tuned physical characteristics accompanied by the presence of living things. No other known body in our cosmos is so endowed. The probability of this dual combination occurring on one tiny satellite is a topic for profound wonder. The double-edged presence of a finely-tuned physical system and a superabundance of life speaks of God’s tender care for creation.

The Creator of this double-faceted cosmic system supplies the summit of His living creatures, man, with unique ability for conscious worship. Humanity’s “Image of God” essence guarantees our outlet for praise and worship of the Creator. Understanding the theological truths of our relationship with the Creator and spiritual redemption offered by Him thereby acquires additional richness of meaning.

The NIV expresses the jubilation of those who recognize the worship song of creation. Psalm 96:11-13 exults: “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it; let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the earth in righteousness and the peoples in his truth.”