Seeing God

Portions of the Upper Midwest, including Wisconsin, were treated to a brilliant display the first few days of 2021. A weather phenomenon known as “rime ice” coated trees throughout the state creating a dazzling effect. As the publication the “Wisconsin State Farmer” explained it: “When supercooled droplets from fog freeze and attach onto an exposed surface, you get rime ice. All objects impacted need to be at 32°F or below causing the liquid to freeze instantly.”

Ramona and I were blessed to be driving to Eau Claire and back on January 2. The trees along the Highway 29 corridor created a white forest. Ramona said it felt like something out of a Narnia movie. The fog was a bit thicker on the drive back and the effect was even more spectacular. It was God using the canvas of His creation to offer a rare visual treat. But I wonder how many people saw it that way.

This is referred to as “Natural Revelation,” the Creator revealing Himself in the creation. Paul warned in Romans 1 that we ignore this at our peril:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:18-21

Douglass J. Moo argues that Christ’s brutal death on the cross was necessary because (quoting John Calvin):

“As Calvin has rightly put it, the truths revealed by God in nature ‘of themselves’ cannot bring one to a true knowledge of God. But Paul does not deny that these truths may help lead people to search for true knowledge of God or to illustrate that knowledge…The beauty and intricacy of the world can help people understand that there must be a Creator…”

Put another way, we cannot fully know God exclusively through His creation. But recognizing God in His creation can put a hunger in our heart for the Creator. We get so used to our little corner of creation that even as believers we can forget that it is proof of God’s existence. Viewing the Swiss Alps and the Olympic Mountains in Washington State in person reminded me that God is everywhere. If you missed this in the rime ice of January 2021, I pray that you are blessed with it again. Recognizing His fine artistic touch on a natural masterpiece is truly an invitation to get to know Him better.

This post is republished with permission from Oakbrook Church, De Pere WI.

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