Everything holds together by the power of His Word. When I look at the forest, every tree, flower, stream, and cloud in the sky is held together by Him. Every piece of creation keeps its intended form, size and purpose for which He created it. Everything fits into the place it has been given on the planet. A maple seed does not become a rose, nor do rose petals appear on tree branches. A leaf or flower does not grow out of your arm. But hair does grow on your arm. Animals have fur or scales or feathers. But those characteristics are only found in the animal world. Trees don’t grow fur or feathers. They do however grow bark somewhat like our skin.
So often we take for granted what we are seeing as if it somehow arrived in front of us anonymously. Do we ponder the intelligent design behind each element of creation? Right now, the false sunflowers are blooming outrageously along my pathway. I watched their steady skyward progress for three months. Finally, the tips formed tight buds. In a few days, blossoms appear. The petals are tightly wrapped, thin strands peeking through emerging green globes. Once the bud opens to the sunshine, petals unfurl around a crown alerting the bees. Do you not wonder how the petals “know” to unfurl, stretch out and display themselves? Imagine if it was not programmed into the DNA how petals unfurl and grow to a specific size. We might have a spaghetti flower.
Some other native plants along the greenway have steadily grown taller since May when they first popped out of the ground. They are now ten feet tall. Each week I wonder how tall they will get and if they will ever flower. This week, floral buds appeared on the topmost part of the plant. But what if that plant’s DNA did not instruct it in how tall to grow before it bloomed? We would have plants and trees that reached into the clouds, a Jack and the bean stalk nightmare for airplane pilots.
Now ponder what it would be like without gravity. Rain would float in the air rather than down to earth. And we also would be airborne. Then there is the wind. No one knows where it comes from. But we do know that if there wasn’t a source for the wind, the rain and snowstorms, and worse yet hurricanes, wouldn’t have a beginning and an end. Scripture says that it is God who forms the mountains and the wind. It is God who says to the ocean, “ ‘this far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt.’ ” (Job 38:11) Every part of creation has limits and context. Each living thing is created to fit perfectly into its setting. This is part of the creative order that God so lovingly established.
The same holds true for humans. Each of us is created in His image, yet we are singularly different. Humans are generally not taller than seven feet. We may look slightly different, but we all hold the same form that identifies us as humans. When you watch a baby grow in the womb, you get a true picture of the miracle of all things being held together. We are unique, but in His likeness. We too have DNA carried from generations before us that determines exactly what we will look like.
The question I was pondering this morning was, does the natural world in some way reflect the Creator? My answer is overwhelmingly yes. Every bird that flies, every flower that blooms, has its intent and purpose wrapped up in the infinite beauty of the Creator. For “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” (John 1:3)
Many human efforts are creative. But man cannot create the tree standing in the forest or the salmon that swims in the river or the mountain that touches the sky. Nor can man duplicate the iridescence found in a rose petal or the intricacy of snowflakes. In fact, manmade objects often seem awkward when found among such natural beauty. When a plastic bottle, metal soda can, or metallic ribbon washes up on shore or is caught along the side of a stream, it glares at you in its misplacement. Even our ability to capture a sunset on canvas or photographic paper falls short of the reality no matter how beautiful. There is a life force within nature itself that cannot be transferred to canvas or paper no matter how hard we try. Nothing breathes awe except the actual experience of watching a sunset from the top of a mountain, or the dawn breaking over the ocean. And in a way, I’m grateful for that. I would rather be humbled by the size of a mountain or the power of the ocean than come anywhere near thinking I can somehow represent that life essence. Even my writing falls way short of capturing the beauty around me. Only God, who spoke life into being, can do that with magnificence.
“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”