Beautiful Planet Earth
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Paul Brand is a brilliant medical doctor who did pioneering work in the treatment of leprosy. He has received the Albert Lasker Award, been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen, served as the only Westerner on the Mahatma Gandhi foundation, and had medical procedures named after him.
Brand grew up in India, where his parents were missionaries. At the age of nine he was sent to boarding school in England. Five years later, while a 14-year-old student there, he received a telegram informing him that his beloved father had died of Blackwater Fever. Brand cherished fond memories of his father, a man who had a great love for people and a great love for the natural world around him.
A short time after he received news of his father’s death, Paul Brand received a letter from his father. It had been posted prior to his father’s death but took some time to reach Brand, as it came by ship. Its words impacted deeply upon the young son.
Paul’s father described the hills around their home and then finished with these words: “God means us to delight in his world. It isn’t necessary to know botany or zoology or biology in order to enjoy the manifold life of nature. Just observe. And remember. And compare. And be always looking to God with thankfulness and worship for having placed you in such a delightful corner of the universe as the planet Earth.”—From storiesforpreaching.com
See the glory of God!
Psalm 19:1 states, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork.” This is one of the clearest biblical statements that nature itself is meant to show the greatness of God. These words are in the present tense. That is, the heavens “are declaring,” and the sky “is proclaiming” the creative work of God. It’s a continual display. What we see in nature is meant to constantly show us that God exists and tell us how amazing a Creator He truly is.
One of the strongest arguments in favor of the existence of God is the teleological argument, or the “argument from design.” This approach claims that observations in nature are best explained by a deliberate, intelligent act of creation rather than by randomness or luck. The conveyance of information is a key aspect of this. Information is always seen as the product of intelligence. Some patterns are complex but random. Others may be well-defined but carry no information. But whenever we see a specific, complex arrangement that displays information, we recognize that it was the work of a mind, not mere chance.
Psalm 19:1 connects this idea to Scripture. The more we learn about the universe, the more clearly we can see the work of God. [In earlier times,] scientists and atheists assumed that the universe was eternal. The combination of Einstein’s theories and advances in physics made it clear that, in fact, the universe did have a “beginning.” At first, this idea was rejected by scientists as being theology, not science. Over time, however, it became impossible to deny. The fact that the universe “began” is something we can see purely by observing the heavens and the sky—just as Psalm 19:1 says.
Romans 1 also ties into this idea. God has revealed enough of Himself in nature that nobody has an excuse for rejecting Him or for doing what is wrong. “Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities … have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made.”1 The heavens declare the glory of God. …
The more we know about the world around us, the more glory we give to God. The more we discover, the more evidence we have that He is the one responsible for nature and its laws. A person needs the Bible and personal faith in Christ in order to have a proper relationship with God. However, a person needs only to look honestly at the world around him in order to realize that God exists.—From gotquestions.org2
Listen, be still
“The heavens declare the glory of God,” the psalmist wrote. “The skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.”3 The Creator speaks through His creation. You can hear Him, too, if you’ll stop what you’re doing and listen.
A quiet spot in nature is best, but if that’s not possible, a view of a tree, a few plants, or even a patch of sky will do.
Switch off your phone. Forget your work. Forget the mess. Put all other thoughts aside, and give God your full attention. Concentrate on something that God made—a flower, a tree, a bird, a butterfly, a cloud, a pond or stream, the breeze.
Imagine the love and care that God put into creating that single thing. Then multiply that by all the others like it in the world. What does that tell you about God’s love and care for you? Doesn’t that give you a sense of peace and well-being?
Take a few long, deep breaths. Relax, soak in God’s love, take in the view, and listen, as God reveals more of His truths.—From Activated magazine
Be still, and know that I am God.—Psalm 46:10
Love you can see
Does God love you? You can see it and feel it in the beautiful world He’s given you to live in. Just look around.
God showers beauty and blessing not only on those who seem to deserve His love and mercy, but also on those who don’t.4 He gives sunshine and rain, trees and grass and sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, and all the rest. He didn’t have to make life so wonderful or the world so beautiful, but He did.—David Brandt Berg
Published on Anchor May 2020. Read by Jerry Paladino. Music by Michael Dooley.
1 Romans 1:20 NIV.
3 Psalm 19:1–2 NIV.
4 Matthew 5:45.