Creation speaks with clarity
We have written in this space before about how the postmodern generation is living in make believe. Young people are increasingly denying reality and creating false stories, building an illusionary framework to explain their lives, their meaning, their sexuality. What is needed today is factual and moral clarity.
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dennis Prager is fond of saying, “I prefer clarity over agreement.” It is more important to have clarity on what is real and what is good than to attempt to reconcile irreconcilable differences for the sake of agreement.
It is important to seek peace and live in harmony, but not at the expense of truth and moral clarity. In this day of moral and cultural relativism, living at peace often means accepting as real things that are unreal, as evil things that are good.
I am reminded of Francis Schaeffer’s analysis of our current situation. Almost a half a century ago he foresaw where we would be today in the midst of the culture wars:
These two world views [Judeo-Christian theism and Secular Humanism] stand as totals in complete antithesis to each other in content and also in their natural results —including sociological and governmental results, and specifically including law … It is not that these two worldviews are different only in how they understand the nature of reality and existence. They also inevitably produce totally different results. The operative word here is inevitably. It is not just that they happen to bring forth different results, but it is absolutely inevitable that they will bring forth different results.
To seek to reconcile the irreconcilable is foolish. Such effort distorts the nature of reality and morality.
In the creation God revealed himself to all human beings
Recently I have been in discussion with a good friend, Surrendra Gangadean, a theologian and moral philosopher, about what he calls the “Doctrine of Clarity and Inexcusability.” His writing on the subject has prompted some further reflection on how God has revealed Himself to ALL HUMAN BEINGS.
How has God’s truth been revealed so that everyone might see? God made invisible things visible through His creation.
In Romans 1: 19-20 Paul argues that truth is clearly revealed for all individuals to see:
… since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to [“in, inside, within”] them. 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, so that people are without excuse.
Paul argues that though God is invisible, he is “able to be known” through the visible things he has made. In fact, “what can be known about God is plain to them.” It is manifest, evident, widely known and well known. All these are included in the definition of the word “plain.”
Again, there is clarity in general revelation. There is clarity in the creation in two dimensions: what is external to man and what is internal to man.
In the revelation external to man we see clarity in a number of profound ways. First is the macrocosm, the universe, including the billions of stars and galaxies, extending farther than our finest telescopes can peer. The second is the microcosm, the universe that we cannot see with our naked eye, the exquisite world of cell walls and nuclei, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons beyond what the most powerful electronic microscopes can see. The third is the intersection or midpoint of this vast outer space and inner space. This is the scale that man inhabits, this small speck by universe standards and gigantic by microscopic terms, the blue planet we call earth, the home of mankind. To get a better sense of what words can only begin to express about the grandeur and majesty of the creation, the vast scales involved, see the video. (Go here if you can’t see the video.)
In addition to the vast scale and complexity of creation is its stunning beauty, an overwhelming grandeur and exquisiteness. Think of the grandness of a starry night, the Grand Canyon in the USA, Iguazu Falls on the Brazil-Argentina border. Picture the beauty of a sunset, the glow of a pregnant mom, the birth of a baby, the exquisite beauty of an orchid or the DNA helix.
Then think of the laws that govern the macro- and microcosmos and the structure that binds all creation together. The order of God’s creation points to its end, or teleos. The order of this remarkable universe clearly reveals the Purposer who created it.
Then think of the wonder of human sexuality, the obvious design of male and female for complementary fitting together with the purpose of procreation, conceiving new life, and the formation of families. Consider how a woman and a man, in their most intimate activity, have the ability to beget a unique human being, one made of their own combined flesh, who will live for eternity. There’s a truth to blow your mind.
All these are examples of the factness of reality external to man. Now let us look at the revelation internal to man that allows us to see, with clarity, the visible expression of the invisible God.
What the inner creation tells us
First, we see with clarity that we are not merely animals or machines; we are made in the image of God. We share His communicable attributes. We have a mind, the attributes of intellect and reason. We have the ability to reason and think critically, to ask questions, to explore the macro- and microcosmos, to think God’s thoughts after Him. We can discover the language of creation and life, the DNA and the genetic code of the first Code Maker.
Second, we have a heart that reflects moral attributes, recognizing right and wrong, and having moral motions. As Paul has said, the moral law is written in the heart of man (Romans 2:14-15). The heart also reflects human creativity and imagination. We have the ability to dream dreams, create whole new worlds (as C.S. Lewis created Narnia or J.R.R. Tolkein, Middle Earth). We can write music no one has ever heard, draw a picture no one has ever seen. (Am I the only one to get goose bumps thinking about this?) We can create poetry, dance, beautiful fabrics, tasty cuisines.
Third, we have a will, the attribute of purpose. We have the ability to take the fruit of our imagination and will it into being. Think of some of the technologies we take for granted, like the smart phone or the iPad. They were born from the imagination of men and women and then willed into existence through their words and their hands. Our will is the genesis of our personal histories. We make decisions that affect our own lives and our families. In fact we make decisions that shape history for good or ill.
The clarity of common revelation, the revelation of creation to all human beings, is so persuasive that people who deny God are without excuse.
As Paul argues, and creation witnesses, God’s workmanship reveals His existence and something of His nature and character so that people are without excuse. From the revelatory point of view of the created order, there is no excuse for a human to deny God. The Greek word translated excuse is an apologetos. It means to make very clear, “that which cannot be defended, inexcusable.” There is no defense! To deny God and reality is to live in a world of delusion, and leaves people without excuse.
The clarity in God’s general revelation leaves no justification for unbelief, no legitimate apology for ignorance.
The clarity of general revelation leaves us without excuse!
- Darrow Miller