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Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Creation as Witness

We need to hear its testimony.

Law and Creation (5)

Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed
it was very good. Genesis 1.31

The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Psalm 19.1

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings
is to search out a matter. Proverbs 25.2

A witness to God
Speaking to a group of pagans in Lystra, the apostle Paul commented in passing that the Lord had left a “witness” to Himself in the productive lands they had enjoyed for generations (Acts 14.17). The work and fruit of farming bear witness to God, as men use His creation for the good purposes He intends.

The creation, as we have seen, bears witness to the glory of God. Not all men see that glory—the pagans of Lystra apparently had not—but God is determined that His glory should not only be present but known in His creation (Hab. 2.14). In His Law, God promised His people that they would see His blessings in every aspect of their lives, including the productivity of creation which resulted from their work (Deut. 28.1-14). And He instituted annual feasts to allow them to gather as a people so that they could celebrate His goodness to them in providing their harvests and bounty.

Creation’s beauty and bounty would remind the people of God’s goodness and of the goodness He intended should come to them from the creation.

The work of drawing out the witness to God which creation bears falls to those who know the Lord and know how to appreciate and use creation in such a way as to glorify Him. We are being good stewards of the creation, according to the purposes for which God entrusted it to us, when we point out the witness it bears to the glory of God.

Public policy and the witness of creation
Part of our concern for public policies designed to ensure the right use of the environment is that those policies should not inhibit, impede, or deny our ability to “search out” the glory of God which may be discovered in creation. Our nation, after all, sets aside one day each year to observe a season of Thanksgiving for the Lord’s bounty in every aspect of our lives. And, while this has become more a day of bingeing rather than of giving thanks, still, the principle is valid: As a people we should not neglect the use of the public square for acknowledging the goodness of God as we discover it in the creation.

When public schools prohibit meaningful and measured discussion of things religious and pursue a curriculum that furthers an economy of material wealth, they are impeding, if not denying, the witness God makes through His creation. Schools should be places where students learn to think and reflect on the world in which they live, and their world includes many people for whom God is real and who care for His creation as a matter of stewardship. Is it too much to expect that, at least in some ways, students should be given the opportunity to observe the glory of God through the work of science, to express God’s beauty in their artistic endeavors, and to celebrate His goodness together as friends, families, and worshipers?

This is not to say that public schools should be turned into Christian schools; rather, it is simply to insist that public policy which deliberately works to obscure the glory of God or impede the discovery of and testimony to that glory cannot expect the blessings of God which might otherwise attend to their efforts.

In work and culture
The vocations Christians pursue within their callings from the Lord, while not matters of public policy per se, should also come onto the radar screen as areas to be improved by our living according to the requirements of justice and love. We are to do all that we do as unto the Lord (Col. 3.23), and I cannot but believe that if this were our policy in all our work, we would bear a more consistent witness to God’s grace.

The members of the believing community can demonstrate the Presence, work, and glory of God in their fields of endeavor. How does the practice of law bear witness to God? What about running a business? Governing a community? Caring for the sick? Managing a household? Operating various kinds of equipment? Being an artist or a poet? And how do we bring out that witness to the people we serve by such means? What “policies” should guide us as we do all that we do for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10.31)? Should Christian students, as they prepare for such vocations, not be instructed in how to see them as a witness to the grace and goodness of God?

As Paul pointed out to the Lystrans, a witness to God exists in every aspect of the creation—both the environment and our culture – and part of our concern in an economics of justice must be to bring that witness out so that God may be glorified appropriately.

Begin here
Christians should oppose all public policies—whether in the form of legislation, peer pressure, or media outrage—which hinder our ability to remark God’s glory and celebrate the beauty, goodness, and truth of God in creation and created things. The creation and all culture strain to bear witness to God, Who has concealed His glory in them. The duty of those who are His “royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2.9, 10) is to pursue policies and practices that make it possible for us to “search out” God’s glory and to glorify God in all things.

This must begin, of course, within our own lives, in our families and congregations, where we learn to talk freely and to encourage one another in “discovering” the witness to God’s glory everywhere to be found in the things He has made. Pastors and teachers who do not equip their congregations for such stewardship are failing in their charge to nurture God’s people as witnesses for the Lord.

But we must not draw back from carrying that witness into public space, whether in our conversations and demeanor or through the legitimate avenues of public policy available to us. We must make the most of every opportunity available for bringing the light of God’s witness into the lives of our neighbors, both to glorify Him and to benefit them.

For reflection
1. How would people at your school or workplace respond if you were to talk freely about the glory of God as it can be seen in your work?

2. How confident are you that you could even do that? That you could discover the glory God has “hidden” in your work or studies and talk about it as a witness to the Lord?

3. What can you do today to see more of the glory of God in your work?

Next steps—Transformation: Set aside some time to meditate on the three questions above. Write down some thoughts. Commit yourself to being, like Paul, more faithful in seeing and testifying to the witness of God in creation and culture.

T. M. Moore

What is the place of the Law of God in the Christian’s life? Our book, The Ground for Christian Ethics, answers this question and shows us again why Jesus taught us that keeping the Law is an indispensable part of our calling in God’s Kingdom. Order your copy of The Ground for Christian Ethics by clicking here. To gain a better understanding of how the Law of God applies in daily life, order a copy of our book, A Kingdom Catechism, by clicking here.

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ReVision comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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