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White Horse Inn: Conversational Theology

Cosmos Creator Contemplation

Release date:

December 15, 2010


Worldview Creation

Image copyright Amir Taheri

Every day NASA updates a webpage entitled “Astronomy Picture of the Day.” There is a photograph/image that is in some way related to the field of astronomy either from the ground or from a satellite followed by an explanation from an astronomer about what you are seeing. The title of the December 13 image was “Contemplating the Sky.” The image shows four people in Iran looking up at a crescent moon with Venus above. The explanation for this particular image begins “Have you contemplated your sky recently? Tonight will be a good one for midnight meditators at many northerly locations…”

What I find amazing about this statement how ingrained it is in the mind of humans (created in the image of God) to be drawn to the night sky and to meditate and contemplate. I actually did that on Monday night as I sat in my backyard and looked at the sky for a few moments as I watched half a dozen or so Geminid meteors streak through the sky. While I sat there I couldn’t help but be in awe (again) at the wonderful/amazing/beautiful/awesome universe our Creator God has put into place—giving God praise and adoration was at the forefront of my mind.

As I was being a “midnight meditator” contemplating these things I knew the object of my contemplation—the creator God. Psalm 8:1, 3-4 immediately came into my head, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens…. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” Looking at the expanse of the sky how can we not cry out to God “what is man that you are mindful of him?” We immediately realize ultimately how small we are and seemingly insignificant our meager frame is compared to planets, stars, and galaxies. But the night sky—indeed, all of God’s creation—does more than just cause us to think about ourselves, it teaches us.

Because God created all things, his creation reveals true knowledge about who he is. The Belgic Confession puts it beautifully in Article 2 when it states that the “universe is before our eyes as a most beautiful book, wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many letters leading us to perceive God’s invisible qualities…” (emphasis added). Even more beautifully stated is Psalm 19:

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat (Ps 19:1-6 ESV, emphasis added).

There were probably millions of people across the planet who became “midnight meditators” on Monday, December 13 to watch the Geminid meteor shower, and there are millions (billions?) of contemplators who look up at the sky on any given night. Every single person on planet Earth every single day comes into contact with God’s creation whether they realize it or not. And that creation is speaking to them, it is revealing knowledge, it proclaims God’s handiwork, it tells them truth about who God is. Paul tells us in Romans 1:19-20, “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (emphasis added). But this passage of Scripture is only a portion of Paul’s point in Romans 1:18-25:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen (ESV, emphasis added).

The scary thing when we think of Paul’s words compared with what the NASA author wrote is that when non-believers become “midnight meditators” and contemplate the heavens they are actually condemning themselves because they are “suppressing the truth in unrighteousness” and are giving glory to and worshipping either themselves, the universe’s energy, “Mother Nature”, or anything else but the Creator God to whom alone belongs all the glory.

However, believers have further revelation given to us by God that gives us the rest of the story. It tells us how we are reconciled to this Creator God whom we know to be powerful and divine because of Jesus Christ coming to earth to propitiate God’s wrath (Rom 3:21-26). We have all the more reason to praise and glorify God when we look at “the works of his hands” because of the “Son of Man which he has crowned with glory and honor.”

So next time there is a clear night sky above you, take a moment to read all the letters that are arrayed above you and be a Cosmos Creator Contemplator.