The Mind of Christ in His World: Part 1 (1)
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world. Psalm 19.1-4
Sound mind, strong soul
A sound mind is crucial to a strong soul. Sound minds are formed by sound doctrine, and Scripture is the primary source for sound doctrine. If we are like the simple man mentioned in Psalm 119.130, we will open our minds wide to the light of understanding sound doctrine can bring to us.
While Scripture is our primary source of sound doctrine, we can also benefit from the thinking and writing of those, past and present, who have devoted themselves to the study of sound doctrine. We should not neglect the insights from our forebears and contemporaries as we work to fit our minds with the best teaching we can find.
A sound mind is formed by the revelation of God, beginning with that revelation that comes from His Word. But God also reveals Himself in His works, and in the works He has enabled people to do. In other words, reation and culture can play a role in helping to shape a sound mind, because we may expect to see God’s glory there and to have our minds further fitted for serving Him.
God revealed in creation
The wonderful hymn “This is My Father’s World” celebrates the revelation of God that confronts us through the works of creation. The rocks and trees, skies and seas, birds, sun, lilies, and even the rustling grass declare the Presence, beauty, order, and wisdom of God. Ultimately, as with all divine revelation and instruction, these all point to the supreme manifestation of the wisdom, power, goodness, and love of God in Jesus Christ.
These works of creation can speak to us of the mind of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because we believe in Him, we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2.16). We long to be renewed in His mind and to grow toward maturity in our thinking. While we certainly expect to learn the mind of Christ from the things He has written, we should also expect to learn the mind of Christ from the things He has made. We spend some time every day in the Word of God, yet we are continually in His world – our Father’s world – where the mind of Christ and His glory are being revealed on every hand.
The world and everything in it declare the glory of God; our problem is, though God is speaking – uttering speech, as the psalmist has it (v. 2) – we don’t know how to listen. We haven’t learned the “language” of creation or how to exegete its revelation. Because the universe and everything in it are upheld by the Lord Jesus’ Word of power (Heb. 1.3), we may expect to discover something of His mind in these works, something that can aid us in nurturing a strong soul and growing to maturity in the Lord.
The book of creation
While the Scriptures are a written Book of divine revelation, the creation is a living book of revelation, in which there is much to learn about the Lord and His wonderful plan. Here is a rich resource of divine insight and wisdom which, could we but learn to read it, like we read the Scriptures, we would find our walk with the Lord greatly enriched, and we would understand more of the mind of Christ to aid in the renewing of our minds.
And not only the creation in its natural setting: the culture that people make and use also shows the glory of God. The Scriptures teach that God is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, including gifts of culture, and He delights to inhabit the cultural products even of those who count themselves His enemies (Jms. 1.17; Ps. 68.18).
Thus, while we only spend a limited amount of time each day in the Word of Christ – important and valuable time, to be sure, the lessons from which we want to carry with us in all our time – we are at all times immersed in the world over which our Lord rules as King, and through which He makes His mind and glory known. It is the glory of God to have hidden His glory and mind in the things of creation; it is the glory of us His children to discover these and to grow in them (Prov. 25.2). Learning to train our minds for seeing God’s glory is a sure way to being renewed in the mind of Christ.
We are surrounded every day by missives of revelation from the heavenly throne, calling us to pause, reflect, encounter the glory of the Lord, discern the mind of the Lord, and be transformed into the image of Christ. The discipline of learning to read the revelation of God in creation and culture is called creational theology. It is a glorious field of endeavor and should be part, at least in some measure, of every believer’s regimen of spiritual disciplines.
Creational theology consists of six disciplines that can enable us to discern the glory and mind of Christ in His world. By learning to practice these disciplines, we can make creational theology part of our everyday walk with the Lord.
And the exciting thing about creational theology is this: Because the Lord speaks to us everywhere, He is always inviting us to draw close to Him, no matter where we are or what we’re doing. Those who practice the discipline of creational theology find that, not only are they more aware of the Presence of the Lord throughout the day, but their reading of Scripture is enriched by the experiences of God’s glory gained from the world of creation and culture.
While we seek the mind of the Lord daily in His Word, we may also seek Him and His glory in His world. There is no reason to deprive ourselves of the rich bounty of divine revelation that awaits us throughout the day. If we can learn the disciplines involved in creational theology and make them part of our daily fellowship with the Lord, we’ll find that we are continually stimulated for the renewing of our minds in the mind of Christ.
1. What is the glory of God? What is it like to experience the glory of God? How does the glory of God, as we experience it, lead us to a deeper understanding of the mind of Christ?
2. Have you ever had the sense of encountering God’s glory in some aspect of the creation? Explain.
3. Meditate on Psalm 36.9. Can we expect to discern the mind of the Lord in His world if we are not consistent in seeking Him and His mind in His Word? Explain.
Next steps – Preparation: Throughout this day, meditate on the idea of God’s glory – what it is, what it’s like to encounter the glory of God, how encountering the glory of God should affect us. Jot down any thoughts you have, or any experiences of God’s glory. At the end of the day, pray these back to the Lord, with thanksgiving.
T. M. Moore
Have you discovered The InVerse Theology Project podcast? Once a week we publish an episode dealing with one of the six primary theological disciplines, including creational theology. To listen to the current episode in this category – Ephrem the Syrian’s hymns on The Pearl – click here. For a deeper study of creational theology, order a free copy of our book, Consider the Lilies: A Plea for Creational Theology by clicking here.
All the installments in this “Strong Souls” series are available in PDF by clicking here. Check out our newest feature, Readings from the Celtic Revival (click here).
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.