Blogging Through the Book
The Gospel of Yes by Mike Glenn
After Chapter 3, the author asks, “When has creation prompted in you a response of worship and awe toward God? This question doesn’t go nearly far enough in probing what creation evokes in our lives. I have been awed by the experience of storms at sea and reminded there how infinitely powerful God is. I have been forced to my knees in worship by sunrises and mountains and by seeing through a microscope single-cell animals swimming in a drop of water. But that is not all that creation does for me. I feel immersed in the joy of creation most of the time. Joy, delight, amazement, discovery, appreciation – and more. I can be stopped in my tracks by the sight of a tiny flower that has sprung up in the grass between the sidewalk and the curb. I am richly blessed when I hear a birdsong. I’m not measuring or weighing these events. I just enjoy them. I am constantly in awe at the fact that God’s creation is beauty and it is fun. I agree with Ian Steward that beauty is truth and truth is beauty, so when I have all these beautiful experiences, I am learning truth.
There are many ways to experience creation, and they are not all capable of being weighed or measured. When I plan a meal, for example, I certainly take nutrient value, a scientific measurement, into account. I eat three times a day, and over the course of the day I want to ingest the right nutritional components in the right quantities to sustain healthy life. However, I never plan to eat a survival tablet. I want a meal, and a meal nourishes me in ways that no scientist can actually measure. My nutritional needs are science, but my other needs are part of my own unique creation story. Mike Glenn says, “We were placed in the world to creatively engage the world.” One way I engage the world creatively is at dinner.
My meal planning begins with the food elements, but there is much more to it. Appearance, for example. The colors of the foods on the plate or in a bowl. The shapes. The way some colors and shapes look good together while others do not. I consider flavors. I don’t want every dish in the meal to be spicy; there needs to be a cooling flavor like blue cheese dip for a rest from the zing of spicy wings. I consider mouth feel and texture. One crunchy item is enough for a meal and is nicely balanced by a silky sauce. I could feed my body with survival tablets, but my spirit, that part of me that lives at the intersection of time and space with eternity and infinity, wants more from creation than the things science can measure. In creation, God has provided food in so many forms that I will never run out of options for delicious, colorful, flavorful, satisfying, and yes even nutritious food.
To top off my meal planning, I want someone to share it with. I can eat alone, but food eaten in pleasant company tastes better. I love to eat with my husband, and I love having guests, because the conversation and interaction with the meal and with each other fulfills hungers over and above the biological need of my body for nutrition. So in addition to nutrition, I need an experience that transcends time and space, yet is experienced in a place over a period of time.
I love the way creation richly provides for my needs, because God created a universe in which beauty usually trumps utility. Everything in God’s creation has its scientific purpose and value, but everything in God’s creation has a bigger purpose than its physical presence. My food, for example. If God thought in a human, secular, scientific way, the nutrients in a green leafy vegetable would be provided by a green leafy vegetable that grows everywhere in just the quantities needed by the population. Instead, God provides a proliferation of green leafy vegetables that grow in different shapes and different environments all over the world. They aren’t even all the same shade of green. Some have red or yellow stems. Some are broad leaves, and some are narrow leaves. Some of the leaves are actually fuzzy. Some leaves look like elephant ears and some look like knives. Such abundance. Such variation. Some taste better raw. Some taste better cooked.
God’s creation clearly was not designed by an efficiency expert or a budget control officer. The “cultural confidence in science” leads many people to think they need to interfere with creation, because they think it is out of kilter. It also leads them to believe that human beings can overpower God’s creation and destroy it. This is arrogance on steroids. God certainly gave humans the responsibility of stewardship of creation, but he did not give them the power to break it. Creation will end in God’s time and God’s way. God’s forgiveness for our ignorance, and even for our arrogance, is built into the resilience of creation. Time and space will end at a time and in a way that is part of God’s perfect plan. We should use science to learn how to be better stewards, but we should trust God to carry us through the learning curve. Creation is a blessing, and God determines the quality and duration of his blessings. We cannot overpower his plans and purposes even when we make really big mistakes. Because God is sovereign, not human beings, we can trust God for now, for all of time, and for eternity.
Be watching here next Wednesday for more about The Gospel of Yes.
The Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not “Yes and No”; but in him it is always “Yes.” For in him every one of God’s promises is a “Yes.” 2 Corinthians 1:19-120
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“Blogging Through the Book is a group of bloggers who literally blog while reading the book. It’s different than merely reading a book and posting a review. We have a chance to read and share our thoughts in community. Click HERE to learn more or visit www.danapittman.com.”