Editor's note: This is chapter 1 of a book titled Maker of the Morning by Al Cornell. He is a wildlife technician with the Wisconsin DNR (Department of Natural Resources). His plans are to publish this book, but he has given us permission for use in our journal. We hope you enjoy them.
Evidence from Nature
During a week of teaching "Nature Study" at a church camp, I borrowed a van in hopes that a more distant site would provide additional subjects for the lessons. My last stop, with each group of students, was on a dirt road within a woods. Here we walked a short distance to a wood lily--singular and beautiful in the vast green expanse.
The children had reached that point where the boy-girl interest was quite strong. Rather than trying to add to the hour's lesson at this last stop, I elected to inject a little humor. I began, "Solomon said, `Like a lily among thorns, so is my darling among the maidens.' Boys, if you want to impress a girl, look into her eyes and say, "You're more beautiful than a lily in the wilderness.'"
Everyone present seemed content with that thought, at which time I added, "And girls, if he tells you that, he will lie to you about other things too." At that point, the boys snickered and some snappy eyes from the other gender pierced me as they sensed having been entrapped in vanity.
With one class, as we turned to go back to the van, I noticed a girl linger at the lily. She was squatted, with her hands cupped around the stem just below the blossom. She had discerned more in the lily than the others had. It seemed as if she were observing that seldom heeded command of Jesus, "Look at the wild lilies...even Solomon in his splendor did not dress like one of these."
She was not just admiring the beauty of the flower, but worshipping its Maker. A small lily caused a heart to sing praise to the Creator. I wondered if this response was inspired in part by yesterday's lesson from Hebrews on "Every House is Built by Someone." Or maybe godly parents had guided her to see beyond or a camp song had stirred her to an appreciation of God.
However it happened, a little lily spoke clearer than any 10,000 words and a child's soul cried out, "I have a God." I saw the emotions radiating through her countenance.
She had spanned the chasm between the physical and spiritual. Many have stood at the chasm and looked for the other side. Conclusions vary immensely as to whether God can be perceived from the physical world. No experiment or research project can prove the connection of the physical realm to the metaphysical. Metaphysics means "beyond physics" or that which lies behind or beyond the physical realm. Nevertheless, there exists a strong, faith-building element that connects God and His creation.
The apostle Paul explains what we can know about God from nature. In Romans 1:20 he wrote, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so they are without excuse."
When Paul speaks of invisible things being clearly seen, he is referring to the spanning of the chasm as was accomplished by the girl beside the lily. He specifies attributes that can be seen. Both God's eternal power and divine nature are evident from nature. Also, necessarily implied in the statement, is the existence of God.
While opinions differ as to Paul's exact meaning of what we can learn about God from the physical world, I think at least three things are quite evident in the passage. These three things are: (1) nature teaches us that God exists; (2) creation demonstrates the infinite power of God; (3) nature proves the self-existence of God. My intentions are for this booklet to appeal to things of beauty and logic in nature that help make God and His attributes evident.
Another passage of scripture that helps define this relationship of God and the physical universe is found in Hebrews, chapter 3. The last parts of verse 3 and verse 4 read "...the builder of the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God."
The statement that "every house is built by someone" is so self-evident as to seem unnecessary. At some point in our childhood, we learn how houses come to be. We soon accept the fact that both mansions and cottages were built by someone. As you view a housing development, try to imagine that one of the houses originated without a builder. In reality, we know that each one was built.
The statement teaches us that, by looking at design, we can reach conclusions about origins. We see this evident fact in hundreds of manmade objects. The fact that design demands a designer causes us to be suspicious when we read an explanation like the one Aaron gave to Moses concerning the origin of a golden calf. "And I said to them, `Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.' So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf" (Exodus 32:24). This is an insufficient explanation. You cannot throw gold into a fire and have a golden calf come out. Back in verse 4 of that chapter, we are informed that Aaron "...fashioned it with a graving tool, and made a molten calf." Now our sense of a need for sufficient cause is met and the origin of the golden calf explained.
The passage in Hebrews also informed us that "the builder of the house has more honor than the house." This declares an order. The designer is always more complex than the product designed. No human has ever composed a product that is even remotely close to being as complex as the human body.
This reasoning leads us logically and necessarily to the last part of the Hebrew statement: "...the builder of all things is God." There has to be a self-existing and sufficiently powerful being to account for the big house we see, that is, the universe itself.