What Does Our World Tell Us About our Creator?

One beautiful day this summer, I was walking on a trail with my oldest son (aged 5).  It was so great to be outside and see the beautiful trees and flowers.

This captivating sight led me to pose the question: "What does our world tell us about our Creator?" 

First, to clarify, I'm posing this question from the believer's point of view.  I've already written a post saying that merely observing our surroundings will not, on its own, tell us whether or not we have a Creator.  However, if there is a Creator, then there is something we can infer about this Creator by observing our surroundings:

Our Creator sees beauty and delight in non-uniformity, at least in the natural world.

However, it is difficult for us to know which things appear are as the Creator originally wanted them, and which are a consequence of the Fall.

Let's expand on these two points:

1. Our Creator sees beauty and delight in non-uniformity
Trees have irregular shaped branches.  Flowers are not all uniform in size, shape and height, even when they come from the same plant.  Sometimes there is no breeze, sometimes a slight breeze and other times a bigger breeze.  

Now, God could have created a world with perfect uniformity, if He had wanted to.  The fact that he didn't do that, suggests that perfect uniformity is not pleasing to him.  Indeed, he made each of us humans unique and different.

What would a world with perfect uniformity be like? Madeleine L'Engle depicts that type of world in her classic book "A Wrinkle in Time".  In a world that we visit in the book, children play outdoors at precisely the same time of day and in precisely the same way.  Houses are identical.  And so on.  No-one is miserable, but no-one is actually happy either.  The world she describes is one in which Satan has taken a stronghold.  (For the record, she analogizes our world, Earth as 'shadowed' by Satan: at risk of being taken over, but not yet in the same dire straits as the other).

It appears from observing our surroundings that non-uniformity is something that God values. In this day and age of mass-produced, identical items, it is sometimes hard to remember that the non-uniformity of nature and life should actually be valued.  But it should be, if for no reason other than that it is pleasing to God. 

Of course, on the other hand there are plenty of examples in the Bible where a certain symmetry or uniformity of craftsmanship was very important to God.  These are seen in the instructions given in making a temple to God, or the Ark of the Covenant.  Measurements were precisely given, and workers were expected to follow these.  However, these referred specifically to certain items crafted by us, not to nature itself.

So the non-uniformity of nature is something which can and should be prized by us too, because God created it.  All too often we seek to impose our will upon nature, whose side effect can be an attempt to create a perfect uniformity.  But this is not what God had wanted.  We should instead admire the profusion of nature.

We can learn from this and extrapolate it to our lives, too.  We should not try to seek so much to exert total control over our lives and/or those of other people.  Observing nature that day led me to try to practice the mantra "Embrace the chaos."  I tried to see a certain amount of chaos (not total anarchy, but some chaos) as Godly.  Indeed, I was sorely tested in the following few weeks, as plenty of things I would define as chaotic happened.  But I tried my hardest to "Embrace the chaos" and find enjoyment in the unexpected.

2.  It is difficult to know which things appear as the Creator wanted them, and which are a consequence of the Fall.
Some elements of our surroundings are clearly due to the Fall.  For example, weeds did not appear in the Garden of Eden.  The first time weeds appeared were as a consequence of the Fall:

To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ 

“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life. 
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
Genesis 3: 17-18 

However, some things which are present today, such as trees, were evidently also present in the pre-Fall world:

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 2:8-9 

It seems that trees certainly existed before the fall, and many of these were pleasing to look at, even though flowers are not commented on one way or another in Genesis.

God made trees and flowers to be a thing of beauty.  I am sure that solely for pollination purposes, God could have created flowers which were only attractive to pollinators (e.g. bees or hummingbirds) but not necessarily to us.  God's creations are designed to be pleasing to us.  Flowers, I am guessing, were also part of that pre-Fall world.

Since no-one alive today has ever seen the pre-Fall world, we cannot be absolutely certain which of God's present-day creations appear as He wanted them, and which are a consequence of the Fall.  Certainly biblical accounts indicate that weeds are a consequence of the Fall, but there are plenty of other things today which we may be unsure about.

What does our world tell us about our Creator?
Our world tells us that our Creator values the profusion and chaos of life, and does not like the natural world to be totally uniform.  However, He does value careful and uniform craftsmanship, as evidenced by instructions for building the ark of the covenant.  Our Creator has allowed things such as weeds to appear which are not pleasing to Him (or to us) as a consequence of the Fall.

We should remember that things that are life (God's creations) are individual and unique.  They are part of a certain profusion and chaos which in its own way is beautiful.  We should remember that this sight is pleasing to God, and we should not seek to exert control over every aspect of His natural world.  Adam's role was that of a caretaker, and ours should be too.  Sometimes this is hard to remember, but it is true.  We are caretakers of this world.

Then the Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it.
Genesis 2:15

Some of our actions today in the world would not indicate a guardianship role.  In fact, I would guess that whatever dangers Adam had to guard it from must have been less damaging than what we ourselves are doing to the planet today.  Of course the planet is now harder to take care of due to the Fall (compared with back in Adam's day), but we are its caretakers none the less.

In conclusion however, the world around us tells us that our Creator values uniqueness and identity.  He does not like His natural world to be uniform, even though he values careful uniform craftsmanship from us.

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