The answer is simple actually. God reveals himself through nature just like He does through Sacred Scriptures. As Peter Kreeft would put it, “God wrote two books: nature and the Bible. We should read them both.” When we watch the sun set on a summer evening it would be a pity to think that all those brilliant colors are simply the culmination of bazillions of ultraviolet rays coming from a burning ball of gas 93 million miles away, through our gaseous atmosphere, projected onto the backs of our eyes and interpreted by our brain. It would also be a pity to think that it’s simply a beautiful piece of artwork produced by God for us to look at. No, when we look at that sunset we aren’t simply reminded of God; we actually see God! Not God in his entirety of course (that would be pantheism) but something of the great mystery of God is revealed to us when we look at his marvelous creation; rather through his creation and into Him. When we are exposed to such beauty as a resplendent sunset, a picturesque mountain landscape, or the warmth of the beach on a sunny day, our hearts cannot help but be drawn into that beauty – and in that beauty a bit of knowledge of Something Beautiful is implanted in our minds. It should cause us to say “how beautiful you are, Lord God” rather than “what great an artist you are, Lord God.”
However, if you know something about the Native Americans you’ll also know that they could be quite savage. They seemingly were always waging war against the neighboring tribes and when they went on these killing sprees they were merciless. Of course they aren’t the only ones who can be savage. History very clearly shows that all men are capable of extreme evil (just take a look at the 20th century). But if these Native Americans had such similar knowledge of God and similar moral standards why were they so barbaric? … It’s because they only had one book. When you read the book of nature you inevitably run into lots of animals which have a fully animalistic nature (duh!). Animals have a lot of seemingly pointless fights and they will ruthlessly kill each other in order to stay alive. Reading only the book of nature, the first book God wrote, will most certainly lead to insights of God but they will be blurred at best; like trying to seeing someone through an old window pane (before we had the technology to make them almost perfectly clear). Looking through this glass we can know that the person is there and see the person’s basic form but we won’t ever fully be able to get to know the person by looking at him through the wavy window pane. We have to go out and meet him face to face. As St. Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians, “We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face.”
To get a fuller understanding of God we must put these two books together and only then will we be able to know God really well. In the book of his Word we are embraced by His infinite love and mercy while in nature we take a glimpse at the beauty of His kindly countenance. So go outside and immerse yourself in God’s other book – and find Him in its beauty.
PS – If you found anything in this blog to be insightful or inspiring, thank God for that and not me. “He must increase; I must decrease.” Also, as Pier Giorgio once said to his friends, so I to you, “I beg you to pray for me a little, so that God may give me an iron will that does not bend and does not fail in His projects.” Verso l’alto!
Written by: Jesse Badinghaus