This past weekend I went on a hiking trip up Sharp Top Mountain with my friend Rob, a dear brother who lives in Lynchburg. Since he lives right next to the Blue Ridge Mountains, we usually end up going on a hiking trip when I visit. I’ve always loved the outdoors and in recent years I’ve really done a lot of hiking. More than just enjoying hiking for its own sake, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to witness God’s creative handiwork.
As we see Scripture, God does indeed reveal Himself through the general revelation we see in creation (Psalm 19, Acts 17, Romans 1). The light of nature isn’t sufficient revelation (only Scripture is sufficient as special revelation), but it serves as a constant reminder to us of how great God is and how insignificant we really are. I was reminded of that after I stood on top of a huge boulder. I told Rob to step back a bit when he took the following photo in order to show how small I am in comparison.
I’m inclined to think that living in urban environments tend to immunize us from the reality of creation. A retired Presbyterian pastor used to fellowship with us at CRBC and he had a very simple yet profound saying: man made the cities, but God made the land. No matter how many buildings we construct or how advanced our technology becomes, we can never make a tree or carve out a mountain range. At best we can only mimic these things. Going to places like Sharp Top Mountain can be very humbling in that respect.
It’s probably safe to say that the beauty we see in God’s creation is part of common grace. When we speak of general revelation, it’s mostly in an abstract theological context. There are times when we need to step out of the classroom, with Scripture in hand, and examine the world around us. Ultimately general revelation can only be interpreted properly through the lenses of special revelation. The latter informs us about the former, not the other way around.
So I encourage Christians who are able to step outside the urban jungle and take a moment to experience what God has created. It’s true that we live in this present evil age, but God’s creation is a common grace to be enjoyed. Let us remember this as we daily look upward and survey His wonderful works, letting the sun shine down upon us.