Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Living in a Dazzling Theatre

After God wondrously caused me to be born again (1 Peter 1:3), at the age of twenty four, I really had no framework to explain what happened to me. I was not raised in church. I had never read the Bible before and I had no idea what the term born-again meant. I had no problem telling others about salvation and other Christian truths. However, when I explained that even creation around me seemed different, I got some weird looks so I wouldn’t talk about it much. I felt like a kid in an amusement park and, for that matter, I still do. Insects, birds, trees, fish, flowers, animals, water, sky, clouds, sun, moon and many other things seemed so glorious. I could not help but to stand in awe of God and his creative intelligence. Many times it struck a sweet holy fear in me. What kind of being creates wonderful living creatures? Then while in seminary a theology professor said something in class that caused me to want to speak to him after class. I told him about my experience of seeing the world around me differently than when I was lost. He said that Calvin and Edwards wrote about beholding the glory of God in creation.
Below are some quotes from Calvin and Edwards.
Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, I.XIV.20

“Meanwhile let us not be ashamed to take pious delight in the works of God open and manifest in this most beautiful theater. For, as I have elsewhere said, although it is not the chief evidence for faith, yet it is the first evidence in the order of nature, to be mindful that wherever we cast our eyes, all things they meet are works of God and at the same time to ponder with pious meditation to what end God created them.”

Jonathan Edwards, A Personal Narrative (1703-1758)
The appearance of everything was altered: there seemed to be, as it were, a calm, sweet cast, or appearance of divine glory, in almost everything. God's excellency, his wisdom, his purity and love, seemed to appear in everything; in the sun, moon and stars; in the clouds, and blue sky; in the grass, flowers, trees; in the water, and all nature; which used greatly to fix my mind. I often used to sit and view the moon, for a long time; and so in the daytime, spent much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things: in the meantime, singing forth with a low voice, my contemplations of the Creator and Redeemer. And scarce anything, among all the works of nature, was so sweet to me as thunder and lightning. Formerly, nothing had been so terrible tome. I used to be a person uncommonly terrified with thunder: and it used to strike me with terror, when I saw a thunderstorm rising. But now, on the contrary, it rejoiced me. I felt God at the first appearance of a thunderstorm. And used to take the opportunity at such times, to fix myself to view the clouds, and see the lightnings play, and hear the majestic and awful voice of God's thunder: which oftentimes was exceeding entertaining, leading me to sweet contemplations of my great and glorious God. And while I viewed, used to spend my time, as it always seemed natural to me, to sing or chant forth my meditations; to speak my thoughts in soliloquies, and speak with a singing voice.
http://www.graceonlinelibrary.org/articles/full.asp?id=38%7C%7C116 http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/edwards.html http://www.apuritansmind.com/JonathanEdwards/JonathanEdwards-Biographical-EdwardsPersonalNarrative.htm download the file here: http://edwards.yale.edu/images/pdf/personal.pdf

So don’t feel ashamed when you are awestruck or have a child-like wonder when you take pleasure in seeing and experiencing God’s creation. Take time to reflect about God and say the words of the Psalmist, “O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions” (Psalm 104:24).