Our world is a marvel of God and His creative capacity. Just think of the heavens and stars above that seem innumerable as they pepper the night sky. We are surrounded by creation day and night — each of us loving different aspects of it.
But the question then arises: how should we live, such that we see the Creator as superior above all His creation?
In the first chapter of his letter to the Romans, Paul warns how some have “exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator” (Romans 1:25).
Before this verse, Paul evokes a similar point when he states: “For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made” (Rom. 1:20). I believe we must utilize creation to further our understanding of Him as its Creator. We are physical, material beings living within a physical, material world. As such, we should interact with the world around us in a way that makes the Creator relevant and primary in our lives. But how?
Scripture itself is filled with metaphorical phrases used to describe aspects of God in ways our finite minds can comprehend.
In Isaiah 64:8, Isaiah is pleading with God to intervene in events on Earth, and states “we are the clay, and You are our potter; we are all the work of Your hand.” In this example, God is compared to a Potter — a human profession involving natural materials. However, we can only fully understand the depth of this analogy when we see a potter in action. Potters take time in their craft, perfecting each piece. They sculpt and mold it however they please, by hand. They work until they are satisfied with the finished product. Then they can choose how they want to glaze it so it shines with its own individual flair. Grasping this process helps us visualize how God is our Potter, molding and sculpting us as He pleases.
In another example, Psalm 19:9-10 says the Word and law of the Lord is more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey. This psalm is attributed to David and gives glory to God, using finite creation metaphors to communicate infinite things. When we taste honey and know the value of gold for ourselves, it helps us more deeply understand the beauty of God’s Word which is even sweeter than honey and more desirable than gold. These physical things showcase the incredible vitality and worth of His Word.
Similarly, Psalm 84:11 is a psalm of praise in which God is compared to the sun. In relating God to the sun, the writer is exemplifying the light and warmth of His presence. However, we cannot fully understand this metaphor until we experience the sun ourselves when we step outside on a cool day — when we feel its warmth radiating on us or witness its light slowly bringing us a new day. Only then can we fully understand the comfort that God gives in the coldest of nights of suffering or the direction He brings as a lamp to our feet. What’s more, Christ Himself is the “light of the world” (John 8). The sun itself is finite — while its light will die and its light eventually cease, the light of Christ will never be vanquished. His light has overcome all darkness for all time.
This same psalm also uses the metaphor of a shield to describe God. A shield in action protects whoever is behind it. God does this for us as our Protector. He did so to the highest degree when He sent His Son to become our shield and protect us from the utmost punishment for our sins. His Son was beaten and bruised on our behalf, but we are spared solely by Him.
These are only some of the metaphors in Scripture that use creation to help us understand the Creator. But they still give us insight into the character of God.
We do not have to totally disregard our experiences and love of creation to prioritize the Creator. When we delight in our favorite food or the beauty of nature, we can remind ourselves of Psalm 34 — may we taste and see that the Lord is good. We know that Christ is preeminent in all things (Colossians 1), and as a result, we must train ourselves to acknowledge Him in our day-to-day lives.
Of course, it is not easy to see, taste, hear, or experience God every day. Nonetheless, the more we train ourselves to sufficiently utilize and enjoy His creation, the more we can see Him glorified and praised. And when we are victorious in this life, whether it is in athletics, school, or any other type of success, we can look to Christ and praise Him, for His victory that surpasses all others.