Faith

The Creation story: What does Creation tell us about God?

Salt&Light acknowledges Earth Day on April 22. "The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it" (Psalm 24:1).

Dr Ang Chin Sim // April 22, 2022, 10:17 am

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"We may not see God but His invisible attributes and divine character are revealed through what He has created," writes Dr Ang Chin Sim in this reflection about creation. Photo by Margot Richard on Unsplash.

The Japanese term “shinrin-yoku”, or “forest bathing”, refers to immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of a natural setting.

This helps to reduce one’s stress levels. Studies have found that cortisol levels are found to be 13.4% lower in people who gaze at forest scenery compared to those in urban settings. When stress is lowered, the immune defences in our bodies can also function optimally, a good benefit of being in nature.

Humans have had an affinity with nature since our existence. There is something about Creation that calls and engages us. Here are four ways in which it does so:

Creation reveals

How do we know there is a God?

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1: 20)

There is an order in the universe, where planetary systems align and galaxies extend way beyond our grasp of comprehension.

God’s general revelation through messages via Creation transcends barriers of time, culture and race.

We often feel closer to our Creator when we are outdoors, immersed in His Creation during quiet, reflective moments. Drawing close to God who created us, in turn establishes a peace and calm that heals our souls.

We may not see God but His invisible attributes and divine character are revealed through what He has created. There is an order seen in the universe, where planetary systems align and galaxies extend way beyond our grasp of comprehension. On earth, we see changes of tides, waves, water cycles as well as seasons. There is no random or meaningless existence.

As we journey through life, it’s a sojourn through an exquisite gallery of His masterpieces, revealed to us in place and time, according to His purpose. 

“A boy from Uganda said: ‘I know there is a God because of the rain.”

In 2010, World Vision conducted research to identify how children first became aware of God. The study found “amazement at creation” as one of the ways children identified first becoming aware of God.

The below excerpt by World Vision says:

“A 10-year-old girl born to a non-Christian family in Cambodia recalled: ‘Why do we cut trees and the trees grow back, when we dig the soil, it comes back? Someone more powerful than man must be making this happen, because this is not possible for a man to grow back a tree and grow back soil.’

“A boy from Uganda said: ‘I know there is a God because of the rain. Because who can fetch so much water, go up to the sky, and pour it on us? Only God can do that’.” 

These children affirm that awareness and experience of God’s love can come through the natural environment.

Creation sings and worships

“Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples with equity.” (Psalm 98:7-9)

Creation sings and worships God by simply being what it was created to be, with its incredible diversity and uniqueness.

Just by stepping out and looking at the expanse of the skies, we start to get a sense of how big and great God is.

Creation worships God by simply being what it was created to be, with its incredible diversity and uniqueness.

We can’t help but wonder and worship when we realise how sparse our human knowledge is of  star systems that exist in the sky. Alpha Centauri A, B and Proxima Centauri are 4.37 light-years away!

It is humbling to fathom that our dwelling is just a tiny patch of our galaxy that has in itself a hundred billion stars. It’s mind blowing indeed that, beyond our galaxy, there exists even millions more galaxies! 

What a mighty God we serve!

When problems inundate our thoughts , look upwards to the skies for a gestalt switch. We have a God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills, all the earth belongs to Him and the universe is an incomparable, unfathomable, incredible manifestation of His power and might.

Sing and worship Him, together with the choir of creation.

Praise and worship Him, know that He is our God, for we are the sheep of His pasture and the work of His hands.

How wonderful it is to know that we are precious in His sight and the apple of His eye.

Creation groans

While creation has elements of beauty and wonder, it has been on the decline since sin entered the world. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve enjoyed communing with God and the surrounding nature. God gave specific instructions not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However Satan tempted Eve and she ate the fruit, and gave it to Adam as well.

Their disobedience ushered sin into the world and paradise was lost. God in His righteousness had to pass judgment on sin, following which, Adam and Eve were banned from the Garden of Eden and their close communion with God was broken. 

Creation groans, as it is subjected to testing and decay (Romans 8:22); it longs to be redeemed.

Due to the fall of humankind, every part of God’s creation was subjected to a curse (Romans 8:20).

As time goes by, we experience the deterioration of creation. Our activities such as deforestation, mining, over-harvesting of aquatic life, and generating toxic waste contribute to environmental damage. Even the best global waste management facilities are finding themselves inundated with the waste produced. When we dispose of waste, we use landfills and incineration, resulting in pollution. Waste that is not properly disposed of may find its way into drains, streams, rivers and ultimately the oceans. This creates a toxic environment for sea habitats and this repetitious cycle will have deleterious effects on all creation over time.

Creation groans, as it is subjected to testing and decay (Romans 8:22); it longs to be redeemed.

Besides the deterioration of the earth, we as humans experience life’s miseries that accompany the degeneration of our physical bodies. As time goes by our bodies groan, creak and will lose their former capabilities, till we too, long for our bodies to be released from the cage of suffering, as someone experiencing the pangs and pain of childbirth.

Creation renews

Is there any hope in the world, seeing that Creation/nature and humankind are destined to degenerate, deteriorate and die?

Yes!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.”

In His redemption plan, Jesus, the Lamb of God would become the sacrifice for our sins and pay the penalty of death. He would come into this world, born of a woman so that, by becoming one of us, He would experience our sufferings and pain as a human, while still being fully God. He would be betrayed by men and ultimately suffer death on a cross, yet conquering death when He rose again from the dead.

In doing so, Jesus formed the bridge between man and God, He reconciled us with God and this gives us a new life inwardly, we become a new creation where our sinful tendencies are replaced with a desire to live a new, redeemed life in the Spirit. We become “sons of God” when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and repent of our sins.

​​In Romans 8:19, Paul says that all creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.

JB Phillips’ New Testament in Modern English renders verse 19 like this: “The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.”

We look forward to the new heavens and new earth where there will no longer be any curse (Revelation 22:3).

There is indeed a wonderful hope and future for the believer, complete with a glorified body. We have a foretaste of our glorious future as the Holy Spirit who lives within us has been given as the deposit guarantee of our inheritance as children of God. 

For a Christian, suffering on earth is only temporary as we have something better to look forward to in heaven (2 Corinthians 4:16). Although our physical bodies are dying, we have eternal life in the spirit. Realising this, we set our eyes on our eternal home, knowing that we are just travellers who are just passing through. This earth and our physical state is just our temporary home.

Creation that was subject to futility due to the sin of man will also benefit from the redemption of men. No matter how hard we try to conserve, repair the environment/creation, we can’t restore it to its former glorious state, only God can renew it.

We look forward to the new heavens and new earth where there will no longer be any curse (Revelation 22:3). This will be a  place where there is no more death, mourning, crying or pain, for the old has passed away, for behold, God has made all things new! (Revelation 21:4,5)

Promise Keeper

We can feel the affinity with creation and nature as we too are created and creative beings. The amazement we feel when we look at creation points us to God as none of us can see God directly. Since the Fall, and sin entering into this world, we suffer deterioration, decay and death – the consequences of sin.

Our hearts yearn for better things. We groan together with the rest of creation. But our hope is not in vain as our Promise Keeper is faithful and true. For those who will receive His gift of salvation, we become a new creation inwardly and can look forward to the new heavens and earth with a glorified body.

Behold He makes all things new! What a blessed hope!


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About the author

Dr Ang Chin Sim

Dr Ang Chin Sim is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at ACS Eye Specialists in Malaysia. She enjoys being creative, finds much joy in God's creation and dabbles in poetry, music, dance and writing. She was part of OCF Adelaide as a student and has been serving in Malaysia since she graduated.

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