He Made It Beautiful
Whenever God made the world He did so in such a way as to reflect the magnificence of Himself. Not that the created order is as glorious as God, but that it was made in such a way as to testify to His beauty. Instead of simply making the earth one hulking rock, He dotted the landscape with trees. Growing, powerful trees whose leaves and bark are filled with a diverse array of colors, textures, and even smells. Some trees are short barely taller than humanity while others tower hundreds of feet over our heads. They burst forth in the spring into dark greens filled with buds while completely changing colors in the fall into an array of reds, yellows, and oranges. God could have made every tree just alike, but He made each one uniquely beautiful to shine for His praise.
Not only the trees but truly every aspect of creation shows the creativity of the One who made it. Animals of all kinds roam the earth while the insects crawl below. Some creatures swim, others fly, and still more run like the wind through the plains. Even the bodies of water are unique and each geographic location of the earth has its own brilliance. Desert plains, mountain ranges, ocean views, and roaring rivers are but a few unique blessings offered in this world. Even humanity itself is created in such a way that no two human beings are exactly alike. Men and women were made to perfectly complement each other in every way. Even then, no man is like another, and no woman like another either. Each one is specially gifted to image the God who is worthy of all worship. Why did He make the earth so multi-faceted? What is the beauty of this world meant to show us as we behold it?
Creation Was Made For Worship
When God made the world and placed humanity in the garden the call was to cultivate it as a place of worship. The earth was made as a holy place for the praise of God and Adam’s calling was to expand the garden into all the world specifically shaping it to the worship of God:
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.”
The Hebrew word for “work” is abad which was also used of the priests’ work in the tabernacle (Numbers 3:6-7). Our world was made for the worship of God. Each part of it is to reflect His glory. Every crevice, every speck, every creature is to show the greatness and beauty of God. This grand truth is why the Psalms are filled with enchanting references to the created order:
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” -Psalm 19:1
Creation is far from silent, it is the general revelation of God proclaiming the grandeur of His works. He is the One who made it all and is far above what He has made. Every aspect of the beauty we see in the world is made to show us the greater beauty of the One who created it. Our world is meant to leave us in awe as we behold its majesty. Yet, for all of the glory we see in this created world, we know everything is not as it was meant to be. We are no longer in an Edenic paradise without sin. The earth is filled with goodness, truth, and beauty but we also see evil, deception, and hideous sites as well. This is where the great story of redemption comes onto the scene.
All Things New
Sin entered the world through the fall of Adam (Genesis 3). God in His great plan sent forth a Redeemer the Lord Jesus Christ. He came to die so that by the power of the Gospel all who believe upon Him might be saved. We are called “new creatures” whenever we are born again by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). Every single believer is the “firstruits of His creatures” showing the reality of a new creation (James 1:18). Whenever I see the majesty of what God has made, it is meant to drive me to Him. Even as I see true beauty in this world I know on the basis of Scripture that God is in the process of making all things new, a work He shall complete when Christ returns. As we see the general revelation of God it is the special revelation of Himself which gives us the lens through which to see the totality of the story. Sin shall not have the victory, evil will be defeated, and the kingdom of darkness shall not reign. Christ is the victor as the King with everlasting dominion!
The created order awaits with groaning for the last day when Christ returns and makes all things new (Romans 8:18-25). Therefore, as I see the world I not only am allowed to see the greatness of God’s past work of creation, the splendor of His present work in upholding all things, but I am also enabled to see a seed of what is to come. As beautiful as the world is now I shall one day behold a world without sin. The general revelation of this creation should fill my heart with wonder at who God is and anticipation with what He shall do in the future. Further still, it should give me passion in my soul because I am a “new creation” in Christ Jesus called to join Him in the work of proclaiming His gospel, exercising dominion, and watching as souls are brought to the Lord. Indeed, the fragrance of the Lord’s work is spreading everywhere, and as it does we see more beauty and goodness in this world by the power of the Gospel. That indeed is the glorious work of our God who is working out history for the glory of His name!