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Reading God’s Book of Nature
I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea
around the old eternal rocks.
—Attributed to Patrick
(c. 373–c. 466)
He who longs always after God, he sees Him: for God is in all things.…God then is mingled with everything, maintaining their nature. —John of Damascus (c. 675–749)
Throughout the entire creation, the wisdom of God shines forth from Him and in Him, as in a mirror containing the beauty of all forms and lights and as in a book in which all things are written according to the deep secrets of God.… Truly, whoever reads this book will find life and will draw salvation from the Lord. —Bonaventure (1221–1274)
all things created by the word
The renewal of creation has been wrought by the Self-same Word Who made it in the beginning. There is thus no inconsistency between creation and salvation; for the One Father has employed the same Agent for both works. —Athanasius (296–373)
In the morning when the sun rose [Adam and Eve] adored the Creator in the creature; or to speak more plainly they were by the creature reminded of the Creator.… When the unformed heaven and unformed earth, each enveloped in mist and darkness, had stood forth created out of nothing by the Word, the light also shone forth out of nothing; and even out of darkness itself by the Word. —Martin Luther (1483–1546)
THE ABUNDANCE OF CREATION
If there be … eight thousand species of insects, who is able to inform us of what use seven thousand of them are? If there are four thousand species of fishes, who can tell us of what use are more than three thousand of them? … Consider how little we know of even the present designs of God; and then you will not wonder that we know still less of what he designs to do in the new heavens and the new earth. —John Wesley (1703–1791)
THE WONDERS OF THE LORD
I sing th’almighty power of God,
That made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad,
And built the lofty skies.…
I sing the goodness of the Lord,
Who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word,
And then pronounced them good.…
While all that borrows life from Thee
Is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be,
Thou, God, art present there.
—Isaac Watts (1674–1748)
Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.
The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one. . . .
All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
—Cecil Frances Alexander (1818–1895)
CHRIST INCARNATE IN THE WORLD HE MADE
In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
—Christina Rossetti (1830–1894) CH
This article is from Christian History magazine #119 The Wonder of Creation. Read it in context here!
By the editors
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #119 in 2016]
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Celtic religion had an agricultural tinge.Garry Crites
Getting back to the land
How do we care for God’s creation?Ellen F. Davis
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