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Natural, Divine, or Both

October 7, 2013

“Pantheism, seeing the natural world as divine, is a very different thing than seeing divine God present in all things.”[1]

Do you see the natural world as divine or do you see God’s work in the world? Spring and fall are the two times I really pay attention to the changing world around me. After all, summer in Texas is hot and windy and the winter is cold and windy. But some amazing things happen during fall and spring in Texas. In fall, the leaves start changing and change rapidly. The animals seem to be out and about more. You will see young deer running around and other little creatures seem to be everywhere. The cooler evening air will carry the coyotes call for miles and the train horn even farther. In spring, we watch little buds unfold on trees and blossom into leaves or flowers. Seemingly overnight the grass starts greening up. The cotton ball clouds roll by overhead. During spring and fall, the world is alive with wonders.

The question lingers though; do we see the trees and deer as divine? Are they gods in their own right? I argue they are not, yet they should be appreciated as part of the work of the divine, God Almighty. The intricacies of nature cannot be explained sufficiently to think they created themselves. Each is dependent upon the other in some way. Plants and animals have a symbiotic relationship – each have something the other needs to survive. The leaves falling and blooming require the perfect amount of light for each to occur.

As you head outdoors today, I challenge you to look at the nature around you and worship the Creator of it. Worship your creator today.

[1] Ann Voskamp. One Thousand Gifts. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010). 110

  1. I love this post and the topic! I remember it being one of the few things I enjoyed in my theology class at Patten. Because of my proximity to Berkeley and other ‘new age’ locations I’ve decided to have an answer ready for anyone who speaks toward the worship of ‘the universe’ or referencing the majesty and beauty in nature but not acknowledging the Creator of that universe.

    Interesting quote pulled from One Thousand Gifts! I applaud you for getting so far in the book…I’m still dragging through most of of it!:)

    • The key element to this topic, to me anyway, is perspective. Looking at nature through the Gospel lens you see the amazing things God has created, whereas if you are looking from the non-believers view they see the godliness of creation. The common starting point is we each see the natural around us as amazing and beautiful. If we start there – meeting at the common first – then we can talk about our divergent points. Yet we have established the common ground of amazement of nature.

      I appreciate it. Voskamp has some amazing stories in there. But you have to squeeze it, like a lemon or an orange, to get the juice out.

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