A Celtic Christian Worldview (12)
The sun and the moon, then, the two great lights were established in the firmament of the heaven, the one which is greater to rule the day, the second which is smaller to rule the night…For while they were ordained by God the Creator to serve human uses, when people had lived without blame and had continued under the Creator’s law in which they had been established, they too performed their work adorned with the fullness of their own light…
- The Book of the Order of Creatures V.2, 3
Forever, O LORD,
Your word is settled in heaven.
Your faithfulness enduresto all generations;
You established the earth, and it abides.
They continue this day according to Your ordinances,
For all areYour servants.
- Psalm 119.89-91
An interesting philosophical question is, “Why is there anything rather than nothing?” Pursuing that subject leads to many additional questions: Does the universe have a purpose? Is matter eternal? Is there anything other than what we can see, hear, feel, taste, or touch? Where did everything come from, and what will be its final state?
Philosophers have debated such questions for centuries. For today’s secular thinkers, those questions are mostly answered, but without any evidence to support their conclusions: Matter is eternal. The cosmos has no purpose. In the end it’s all dispersion, isolation, deterioration, disintegration, and lifeless cold. Have a nice day.
The secular view cannot be proved using the tenets and standards secularists require for other kinds of truth. Their answers to these questions are matters of faith, proposed to support the deeper presuppositions of secularism, namely, that we don’t need God to explain the world or anything else. Secularism is as much a religion as Christianity. But whereas secularists have only the minds of their best thinkers to fall back on – and these are always changeable – the Christian worldview, such as our writer is propounding, is grounded in the unchanging and always reliable truth of God.
The Scriptures answer all these questions and more. We can make sense of the world and everything in it when we begin with Scripture and let it guide our understanding of created things. This is what the writer of the Liber is doing. Beginning with Scripture, and following the best teaching of revered Christian forebears and other thinkers, the writer wants his readers to see the world, understand the various facets and creatures of the world, and make use of them in ways God the Creator intends.
In today’s excerpt the writer mentions that the sun and moon serve the purposes of human beings – those beings God created to serve His purposes in causing His goodness to flourish and His glory to be known. They exist because God made them, and He made them for His purposes. Think of how powerful the sun is, or how mysterious and beautiful the moon is as it goes through its monthly changes. Such power and beauty! But also, how very useful these are in giving light, encouraging life, helping us to measure days and seasons and years, and much more.
We seem small and insignificant when we think of ourselves in isolation (cf. Ps. 8.5-8); but when we consider what great gifts God has created to serve our needs, we understand ourselves rightly, as God does. For not only the sun and moon, but all creation and every one of its creatures, even the entire vast cosmos, is where it is, what it is, and as it is, to serve us as we do the work of the Lord.
We are God’s servants, and He gives His servants the best resources for doing their work. The writer puts human beings squarely at the center of God’s creation by making even its most impressive, powerful, and mysterious components to serve our needs. But such gifts entail a stewardship on our parts (Ps. 115.16). We must not squander the gifts of the sun and moon, whether the life and vitality they promote, or the time they measure. These elements of the creation serve us when we receive them as gifts according to God’s intentions, and use them to nurture His goodness and celebrate His glory.
What is true of the sun and moon is true of all creation. We are stewards of God’s gifts, but we can only exercise that stewardship properly as we continue in fellowship with God, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and doing all things for His glory.
Let each new sunrise, and every beautiful night sky, remind you of the enormity of God’s love, Who bestows such mighty and abundant gifts on His children. And let them lead you to discover the duties of your stewardship of God’s gifts, and to make the best use of everything He has given you for His goodness and glory.
Questions for Reflection
1. How many different ways do the sun and moon serve you? Give God thanks for each one.
2. What other creations of God await your bidding and needs today? Thank Him for those as well.
Psalm 24.1-6 (Foundation: How Firm a Foundation)
The earth is the Lord’s, as is all it contains;
The world and its peoples He daily sustains.
He founded it fast on the seas long ago,
And bid gentle rivers throughout it to flow.
Oh, who may ascend to the Lord’s holy place?
And who may appear to His glorious face?
All they who are clean in their hearts and their hands
And true in their souls with the Savior shall stand.
A blessing all they from the Lord shall receive
Who seek Him and on His salvation believe.
For these are His people, the children of grace,
Who earnestly, eagerly seek for His face.
O Father, how great and good You are to me, Your servant! Help me to be a good steward of Your gifts by…
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T. M. Moore, Principal
Davies, p. 7