And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
Out of the waters came the dry land, and that land produced vegetation. I wish I could have been there to see it. I’m constantly in awe at the sheer diversity of plant life and vegetation on this planet. My boys were watching The Magic School Bus the other day on Netflix, and the students in the cartoon were learning about how trees communicate with each other through releasing different compounds and molecules into the air. Nature is absolutely stunning.
- There are more trees on the earth than stars in the Milky Way Galaxy
- The Amazon rainforest produces half of the world’s oxygen supply
- Caffeine serves the function of a pesticide inside the coffee tree
- The tallest tree ever recorded was an Australian eucalyptus in 1872, measuring 435 feet tall
- Bamboo stalks can grow up to 35 inches in one day
- California Redwoods are the largest living organisms on the planet
- Ginko is the oldest living tree species – dating back 250 million years
- There are over 300,000 identified plant species, and that number continues to grow
God doesn’t do anything halfway. Our planet didn’t have to be beautiful. Think about it – beauty is not a necessity for life, just look inside the boys’ locker room. Beauty is not essential, but it’s woven into the fabric of creation, and we get to witness and enjoy it. Take time to notice the yellow blooms of the early daffodils beaming brightly above the frost-covered ground. Notice the vibrant hues and the soft greens of the first leaves sprouting on the trees. Notice the flowers that will ultimately transform into apples and tomatoes. Notice the warm reds and oranges of a late-autumn sunset over the trees. Notice the strong evergreen branches draped in snow.
There are some who believe that God created everything in the world solely for the benefit of humans. I don’t necessarily ascribe to that notion. I think God made non-human creation for his own sake. The world is not ours to conquer and bend to our will. Nature is intended to point us toward God and his will.
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.
We should feel a sense of connection with the Creator when we are exploring his creation. But it does make me feel good to know there are parts of this planet that are still a complete mystery to us. Because it’s not about us – it’s all about God. We get to join with the rest of nature in praising and worshiping God.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle,
small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations,
you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and women,
old men and children.
We bring honor and glory to God when we fulfill our purpose as humans (which we’ll get to on day 6). In the same way, the land and vegetation brings honor and glory to God when it is doing what it was created to do. That’s one of the reasons I believe God’s people should care about the environment. Pollution, deforestation, and global warming make it harder for creation to bring glory to its Creator.
We are intimately and inextricably connected to nature. We are made out of the “dust of the ground.” We breathe the oxygen produced by trees as they scrub the toxic Carbon Dioxide from our atmosphere. We eat the fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegetables produced from the plants around us. We need nature, but nature doesn’t necessarily need us. Make no mistake – nature was here long before we came on the scene, and nature will be here long after our time.
And if we don’t carry out our business in giving praise and glory to God, then nature will carry on without us.
When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:
“Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
Now get outside and go take a walk in the woods. Join the trees in praising God.
Have you ever felt a connection to God while being out in nature? What was that experience like?
When was the last time you simply stopped and took in the beauty of creation around you? Why do you think we don’t do that very often?
If you could actually hear the trees and the mountains and the flowers praising God, what do you think they would say?
Spend some time in prayer, thanking and praising God for his creation and the beauty of nature all around us.