Christians have always looked to the Bible as the primary authority for our faith. But we also have a long tradition of looking to the “Book of Nature” to help us know God better.
In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul insisted that “ever since the creation of the world, [God’s] eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things [God] has made” (1:20). Writing about 600, Gregory the Great claimed that nature teaches us the truth of resurrection. Six hundred years later, Saint Bernard said, “What I know of the divine sciences and holy scriptures I learned in woods and fields. I have no other master than the beeches and oaks.”
Some Christians today don’t emphasize the lessons we can learn from God’s creation. Some non-Christians view the truths of science as somehow antithetical to Christian claims. But the Episcopal Church tries to hold together the truth of the Bible and the truths of nature. One example of this combination is the “Creation Season” (9/1-10/6) sponsored by our Diocese.
At Saint David’s, we are marking Creation Season with a series of events. Next Sunday (9/15), I will lead a session on “Hope for Creation: A Biblical Perspective.” On September 22, parishioners will lead a question and answer session on climate change. And on October 6, we’ll take a Creation Walk in Robinson State Park.
This series makes at least two really important assumptions. First, science and religion can and should be mutually reinforcing, not contradictory. Both point us to God, Creator and Sustainer of all life. Second, our faith can and should inform our life in the world. Christianity includes an imperative to care for God’s creation.
I know that time in nature has often inspired me with gratitude and awe. And Bible study has pushed me to do my small part as a steward of God’s creation. I am excited about a series that brings these concerns together.
Fr. Harvey Hill
This blog is my occasional reflections on life, God, Christian faith, and the Church. I hope you find it helpful!