Seeing the Invisible: God’s Eternal Power and Divine Nature

“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 . . .”

Romans 1:20

Ever wonder what that means? If they’re invisible qualities, how can they be seen, much less clearly seen?

I once challenged the students in my Bible class to think about that. Their homework? Spend at least 15 minutes in nature, then write about what they’d learned about God’s invisible qualities. It turns out it was quite a challenge for them.

I challenge you to make the attempt, though you may want to make it more than 15 minutes. (Try it. I think you’ll like it.)

Then again, you could just look out your window. We had a mini-ice storm last night. (No, not in October. I actually wrote most of this last winter.) The storm wasn’t too bad for us here in town, but it was enough to keep most folks inside. For some, that was frustrating. They’d had plans. They needed to use their Saturday for shopping. Or they’d wanted to enjoy their day off by having lunch with friends.

I had to cancel a meeting, but I actually enjoyed the forced quiet time. I sat at my desk and looked over my study notes from Romans 1. Of course, when I got to verse 20 and read about seeing God through what has been made, I couldn’t help but look out at the tree branches covered in ice, each branch graced with tiny icicles. Snow had begun to fall, adding to the winter scene. It was beautiful.

But what could it show me about God’s eternal power and divine nature?

Here are some things the Holy Spirit brought to my mind:

It took power to create this scene. This was not just some oval of man-made ice, like those at the local skating rink. This sheet of ice covered everything. That took power.

Eternal power. The power needed to create the ice storm is the same power that will soon melt the ice. It’s the same power that will force winter to make way for spring. It’s not going to be Narnia forever, folks. (Probably a good reminder as we move into colder weather.) This is the same power that faithfully brings us both night and day. Today. Tomorrow. Next year.

All that power is clearly seen from what has been made. If we choose to stop, look, and clearly see.

Such power should show us that there is something, someone more powerful than humans. And there’s too much order, too much faithfulness for it to all be random. A being greater than humans is required: something, someone divine.

“his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen,

being understood from what has been made”

It boggles the mind. God chose to make himself known to us. And one way he has chosen to do that is through his creation.

How do we respond to such a revelation? If we follow Paul’s argument in Romans 1, knowing God should lead us to glorifying God and to thanking him (Rom. 1:21).

Need some ideas on observing and glorifying God and his creation? Try one (or all) of these. Then share with us in the comments what you’ve seen.

Soul Refreshers for your week:

  • Find 15 minutes (or more) this week to observe God’s creation. Jot down the things you notice about God’s eternal power and divine nature. Share with us and others what you’ve seen. And remember to move from noticing God’s power and divine nature to glorifying and thanking God.
  • Read the story of creation in Genesis 1 and 2. Consider all that’s included and how these different elements of creation impact your life: lakes, rivers, rain, the sun, apple trees, pets, your spouse, your children, your friends . . .
  • Read about God’s amazing power in Job 38. It’s powerful—and humbling.
  • Listen to Chris Tomlin’s “Indescribable.” It echoes the truths God told Job and leads us to praise Him. Go ahead, sing along.
  • Help others learn to see God in creation. Share what you’re learning and how you praise Him and thank Him. Here are some examples to start the ideas flowing:
    • My grandson recently showed me a scab that had started to form where he’d scraped his knee. “Isn’t it amazing,” I said, “that God made it so that when we get hurt new skin grows?”
    • I just saw an article on windmills. It made me think that even in a discussion on energy—wind energy, solar power, hydroelectric power—we can bring in how thankful we are that God created the wind, sun, and water that we now use for power.
    • Don’t be afraid to speak out, vocally or in writing, about your belief in God and how he has created this world. This week I challenged myself to put my own words into practice. I commented on an article about a parrot who invented a tool to replace his missing beak, remarking on how amazing God’s creation is. You may get some negative feedback as I did, but should that really keep us from speaking out about God’s greatness? And, if more of us attested to God’s greatness, maybe more people would become aware of it.

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