Who knows not in all these that the hand of the LORD has worked this?…
If one could possibly laugh the laugh of the scornful, surely there is temptation enough in the teachings of a modern science, and in the attempt to build up before us a self-created world without God. But we are not endowed with such a scornful spirit. Modern science is too wonderful, and its discoveries too fascinating for us to laugh at it. We never dream of suggesting that a vast edifice crammed with machinery and automatic looms, which can produce webs of finest texture and perfect design, could possibly have evolved itself from some primary simple structure. And why should we commit such an outrage on our common reason, as to suggest that this world, unaided by any outside hand, could have made itself? But if we add to this evolutionary theory, the teaching that God may have endowed the materials and life of the world with an inner spirit of development and adaptation, it would become, at least, reasonable. No one who is familiar with the types of life on the earth, and their remarkable history, can fail to perceive that there is in all forms, even in the lowly fungus and the blade of grass, a certain power of choice and adaptation. But whence came that power of choice and adaptation? No combination of chemical elements could make it. None other could impart it than the hand of a Person. We can observe, too, a wonderful linking together of all the forms of life from the lowly creature to the highest man, though there are more blanks in the chain than the links which have been discovered. Yet, how is it possible for one species to pass on to a higher stage without some external directing power?
I. THE CHRISTIAN SEES NATURE AS A SCIENTIST. As the Christian studies a flower he marks the secret intelligence which directs every part of it. The embryo in the seed knows which part of it must descend to the earth, and which part must be raised up to the heavens. The leaves place themselves at proper intervals, and follow out their cyclical order. The plant creeps or climbs or shoots upwards with an intelligent adaptation, and the flowers mix their colours and exhale their odours to allure the passing bee. A Christian watches all this intelligence in a flower, and with deeper reason than ever he can add, "God is the maker of that flower." The Christian, as he delights in spelling out the arithmetical principles on which the chemical elements unite, asks who taught them the laws of their combinations. Or as he takes his stand on the great orbit, and marvels as he sees planet after planet come up in sublime order, and roll on majestically in its marked and bounded path, he repeats with deeper conception his belief in the greatness and power of the Almighty. He can read, too, the records of the rocks, the story of the fire and water, of the grinding and building up of the earth's crust, of life that existed long before the advent of man. As a scientist he can do all this, but to him it is all the work of God, who is infinite in His power and duration, who works His great works by these methods, and in these marvellous ways which science discovers and unfolds.
II. THE CHRISTIAN SEES NATURE AS A POET. A flower is not a clever piece of machinery of subtle forces and delicate laws. Beautiful must have been the hands, and beautiful the thoughts of Him who could, out of gross earth, cause the primrose to make its petals or the wild briar its tinted flowers. The Christian looks at the flower, and to him it is a poem written by the hand of God. Even uncouth flowers and hideous creatures become transformed when looked at in this light, and suggest far-reaching thoughts of that wisdom which makes things useful as well as beautiful. It is delightful to have the poet's eye, and thus to look on God's nature. The spiked blade of grass, the curving stalk of corn, the uplifted bole of the pine, the waving autumn field, and the moving life of the spring, are the visible lines and measures of a great Divine poem. The crawling worm, the soaring bird, the chirp of the sparrow, and the melody of the lark, the cows in the field, and the snake in the grass, all repeat and increase the lines-Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God.
III. THE CHRISTIAN SEES NATURE AS A PANTHEIST. As scientific men, we open up our senses to impressions from the outer world. As they come in by this way, they spell out God, the Creator, the Architect, Infinite and Omnipotent. As we open other and deeper sensibilities, and the charm, the grace, the tenderness, the strength and life of nature flow in, they write out in measured form God the Ever Glorious and Wondrous.
(J. D. Watters, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?