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Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Glory of God

My favorite time of the year is here again: Autumn. I love the beautiful fall colors everywhere I look: The crimson red Sumac along the roadsides; the orange, yellow, pink and red of the Maples; the multi-colored Oaks and Sweet Gums; and the Golden Rod and purple Asters. They are glorious!

And what about the processes which are responsible for this show? The process within the leaf that replaces the green chlorophyll of summer with the other pigments of fall. Also, the structures and process within our own eyes and brains that allow us to appreciate them. What a magnificent and complex phenomenon it is!

Even so, we must remember that this is just one small part of our world. It is one aspect of an even more grand and complex system that we experience as residents of planet earth, which is one small corner of a vast and glorious universe!

I love to stand outside on a starry night and gaze up into the heavens and think about the billions of stars out there (many of them with planets swirling around them. I wonder about how many of them contain water - maybe even life. Scientists have determined that water exists on other celestial bodies in our own solar system, and they've recently discovered that water still flows on the surface of Mars! What an exciting time to be alive!

I think too about the glorious complexity of my own body and its many systems. There is a complex system that allows me to respire, circulate blood, digest food, eliminate waste and experience the world around me. I understand well the statement of the psalmist reflecting on the construction of his own body that "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." When I think about the things of which the human brain is capable, I am humbled. Consider the art, music and architecture that mankind has created through the ages. Think about the mind power that produced the Theory of Relativity!

All of these things are glorious, but they're only bits and pieces of a much grander whole. The universe is full of beauty and complexity. And yet everything in it is composed of the basic building blocks that we call atoms. Moreover, atoms are themselves composed of sub-atomic particles and held together by forces that we are really only beginning to understand.

What is the point of all of this musing about us and our surroundings? How do these things relate to the glory of God?

God is greater than the sum total of all of the parts! Try to imagine, try to appreciate the mind behind all of these phenomena. David said: "The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world." (Psalm 19:1-4) Paul told the Romans that non-believers are without excuse: "They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature." (Romans 1:19-20)

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