Creation is sufficient proof that God exists, and leaves us without excuse before Him. At the very least, creation should prompt us to begin the search for God. But where do we turn to discover truth about God?
The knowledge of God comes through what Christians call revelation: that is, God’s own self-disclosure. This “revelation” is given us in three ways: the general revelation of creation, the special revelation of Scripture, and the personal revelation of Jesus Christ.
Creation is called God’s general revelation, because this knowledge is accessible to everyone. From looking at nature, what then can a person conclude about God? According to Paul in Romans 1:20, there are three things we can discern about God from observing creation – 1) his eternal nature, 2) his power, and 3) his deity.
“His eternal power and divine nature are clearly perceived in the things that have been made,” Paul writes.
Logically, that God is eternal stands to reason. The Creator of time and space (and consider how vast those are) must himself be outside these dimensions. He therefore must be an eternal being, without beginning or end.
The Creator must be a being of power such as we cannot possibly comprehend with our minds. The tiniest thunderclap is enough to startle most of us. Yet if you were to put together the power of every lightning bolt that has ever rammed into the earth, God could hold them all within his hand and it would feel to him like a carpet shock.
And clearly, for the creator to bring all of this into being, he must be divine. He must be the ultimate being, supreme in his deity. He must be…ahem…God.
“His eternal power and divine nature are clearly perceived in the things that have been made.” ~ Romans 1:20
Outside of this though, can nature teach us anything else about God? For example, can creation teach us how many Gods there are? Not really. It made sense to reasonable human beings for thousands of years to think there were many gods. It sort of flummoxed everybody when this little Hebrew tribe started harping on there being only one God.
Can creation teach you if God is good or not? On a beautiful day of warmth and sunshine, a person would think God is good and loves beauty. However, if I were a citizen of Puerto Rico standing in the rubble of what was once my house after Hurricane Mario blew through, I might have other opinions about God’s goodness.
No, creation cannot tell us everything about God. The least that creation will do is also the most that creation will do – it will put you on the path to searching for and seeking the true God. It will give you some hints of what he is like; but the full disclosure of God will have to come from someplace else.
C.S. Lewis says about this point, “Nature cannot satisfy the desires she arouses nor answer theological questions nor sanctify us. Our real journey to God involves constantly turning our back on nature; passing from the dawn-lit fields into some poky little church or maybe going to work in an inner-city parish.”
The Christian believes that the definitive truth about God was revealed to us by God himself and is contained in the pages of the Bible and is visible in the life, words and deeds of Jesus Christ. We need more than general revelation. We also need God’s special revelation of himself and his personal revelation.
You won’t find these truths written in the stars. You won’t find them skipping stones along the seashore. These life-giving, spirit-nourishing truths are found by curling up in a quiet place with the Bible in your hands and the Holy Spirit in your hearts, or plopping yourself on a wooden pew or chairs with other seekers.