All you in the heavens, praise the Lord. . . . Sun, moon, and all you brilliant stars above: praise God! — Psalm 148
I’m writing this while watching NASA reveal new and stunning close-up photos of Pluto. Mountains, cliffs, tectonic activity, ice and amazing terrain capture our spirit.
Former University of Houston religion department chair, Lynn Mitchell, in his co-authored book with Kirk Blackard, Reconciling the Bible and Science, says that nature is one of the “two books of God.” And the sky above has long been a source of inspiration and devotion to our God. Think of all the worship songs we sing that celebrate creation and our Creator.
“For the beauty of the earth . . . ”
“Joyful, joyful we adore you! . . . Field and forest, vale and mountain, blooming meadow, flashing sea, chanting bird and flowing fountain, call us to rejoice in thee.”
“God of wonders beyond all galaxies. . . . The universe declares your majesty.”
“Indescribable, uncontainable, You place the stars in the sky and you know them by name.”
Indeed, “the heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19).
Abraham was promised more kids than stars. Copernicus and Galileo humbled us in the awe of God’s amazing universe. Carl Sagan captivated us with the enormity of our “billions and billions of stars.” Johnson Space Center Houston reminds us how close to home the stars actually are.
From Mercury to Mars, Pluto to “the sky’s the limit,” NASA continues to give us incredible witness to God’s great creation.
But perhaps you feel weariness about science rather than joy. Maybe you have an overwhelming feeling that science is a threat, taking more and more from you with little in return. The supposed “battle between God and science” has left generations of Christians wondering if science and faith can even be reconciled.
Climate change science, genetics and cloning, the unending fear of evolution, LGBTQ science, GMOs, and stem cell research may make you anxious.
Mitchell refers to Francis Bacon who says about science as the study of God’s amazing creation, “Let no one think or maintain that a [person] can search too far or be too well studied.”
When it comes to creation, you’ve got nothing to be anxious about.
Enjoy creation as it is, and celebrate science’s ability to reveal it to us, and its capacity to clarify how God creates.
While it’s obvious the Bible was never intended as a science textbook, it is amazing when held as a liturgical gift filled with soaring invitations to worship who and how God is in our world. Creation as witnessed to in Scripture repeatedly eliminates anxiety. Indeed, reminding us that the world “is very good” is one of the main ways we’re encouraged not to fear.
Creation and the study of creation (science) is like reading the second book of God, where we learn the beauty of how God creates.
But God, who created the world as it actually is (not as we want it to be), has given us the rich gift of nature to bless us and reveal the character of Godself.
So grab your computer and check out the latest pictures from the heavens to “Praise with joy the world’s creator!”
For our God, who has created our stunning universe, has created you in perfect love and with infinite joy in who you are.
Marty Troyer is pastor of Houston Mennonite Church: The Church of the Sermon on the Mount and writes at blog.chron.com, where this post originally appeared. He tweets @thepeacepastor and is on Facebook.