How Great Thou Art!
Bible Lesson: Genesis 1:24-31
Theme Verses: Vs. 31 God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Once Mr. Carl Gustaf Boberg, a Swedish pastor was enjoying a nice walk and suddenly he was surrounded by a thunderstorm which appeared out of nowhere. As the storm calmed, Mr. Boberg looked out over the clear bay. He then heard a church bell in the distance. And the words How Great Thou Art began to form in his heart — O Lord, my God, When I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands hath made. Similarly, there were other famous hymn writers who recognized the beauty and grandeur of God’s creation in their songs. John Keats, William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge etc. were major English Romantic poets who also admired God’s beautiful creation in their work during Romantic Age in English literature.
Interestingly, Genesis begins with the beautiful description of God’s handiwork. God speaks; creates and develops an exquisite universe beyond human understanding. Who can comprehend the wisdom of God? Marvellous are His works. It is amazing to know that the composition of the air in the atmosphere; minerals that are found in earth crust; the distribution of water in different realms; the laws that governs the entire system are perfectly created and are well placed in their position. No one has been able to find any flaw in God’s creation. It is perfect! For Thomas Aquinas, ‘any error about creation also leads to an error about God.’ There is nothing that has been created without some reason and hence creation has a purpose. After creating humans, God gave them authority over His entire creation and provided different varieties of seed bearing fruits for them to eat. And towards the end when He saw everything, He admired His creation by saying, ‘It’s very good.’
Creation expresses the mind and wisdom of God. In the first two chapters of Genesis, the author not only lays the foundation of the creation theology but also presents the spectacular picture of biodiversity. Like any human craftsman, God ‘speaks’, ‘works’ and ‘rests’. In Genesis 1:2 the earth was “formless and empty.” The form and filling solution reveals the artistic work of God and projects the Biblical creation as unique and perfect. The first three days, show God’s action of forming and in the last three days God fills these forms. The Nicene Creed summarizes the entire range of creative activity in stating that, ‘He is the creator of all things, visible and invisible.’ ‘All things’ include every form of energy and matter. The phrase such as: ‘of every kind’ or ‘according to their kind’ are used for fruit trees, seed-bearing plants, sea creatures, birds, wild animals, domestic animals and creeping things (i.e. reptiles and insects) of every kind (Gen. 1:11,12,21,24,25). As per National Geographic latest report, out of 8.7 million earth species, scientists are able to discover only 24% of it and rest are yet to be discovered. This shows how eloquently God created the universe and developed it into a gorgeous garden.
Every day God admired His work by saying “good” but at the end He saw everything and appreciated the whole creation by saying ‘it was really very good’ (Gen. 1:31). When God pronounced all things ‘good’ this also includes the bodies of male and female and every matter that God created. Therefore, God never created anything ‘evil’ but ‘good.’ Paul in 1 Tim. 4:4 writes, ‘For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected…’ Our God is a good God and out of Him goodness flows and because of this the universe is sustained. David in Psalm 34:8 writes, ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.’ When we taste Him then His goodness will also flow in our lives. Like Him we will become good and whatever we will do it will be good and we will develop the habit of appreciation also. This will happen when we allow Jesus Christ to reign in our lives because we are created in Him to do good works (Eph. 2:10). The Hebrew word tov, translated “good,” points, ‘the world is a place of great beauty and great functionality, a place where all life can flourish’ and humans are part of it. Psalmist marvels God’s majesty in creation (Psalm 8). For him, the entire world reflects the beauty, glory and grandeur of its Creator (Psalm 19:1-2). Johannes Kepler a great astronomer and a well known Christian Priest proclaimed that the universe was a ‘bright Temple of God’ and ‘we astronomers, are priests of the highest God in regard to the book of nature.’ He believed that his astronomical discoveries ‘brought him nearer to an intimate understanding of the structure of God’s creation.’ Basil the Great (Cappadocian Father) once said, ‘I want creation to penetrate you with so much admiration that wherever you go, the least plant may bring you the clear remembrance of the Creator…One blade of grass or one speck of dust is enough to occupy your entire mind in beholding the art with which it has been made.’ We are called to admire God’s creation. Let us do this through words and deeds.
So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to Thee, Samuel Taylor Coleridge