Introduction: Have you ever heard someone say going out in
nature is as good as going to church? Maybe you have
skipped church one week to “commune” in nature?
I cannot say I completely understand this. Looking at
nature I understand. Being in nature is another thing.
Let’s review your last “commune” in nature. The first thing
you notice is the temperature (normally not optimum). Then
the biting, stinging, poking, sucking things notice you. If
I am in really deep woods, my mind turns to “food-chain”
issues: bigger animals eat smaller animals. So I have a
concern about coming across a bigger animal. The only book
of the Bible that readily pops to mind is Job! So let’s
explore the thesis of our lesson that nature is one of God’s
- IS THIS PICTURE CLEAR?
- Since I’ve started you down the path, let’s list
some things you learn from nature? (Bigger,
stronger animals eat smaller animals. Pests abound.
Nature is bigger than man. Nature gets out of
- Obviously, I’ve taken the negative view.
You’ve given me some positive things to put on
our list to counter balance the negative. Tell
me, would you recommend nature as a way to
teach about God?
- What do you say about the “negative
lessons” in nature?
- Let’s look at some texts on this. Read Romans
1:18-21. What is Paul arguing here?
- According to Paul, would you need to have a
Bible to believe in God? (Paul is saying that
no one has any excuse for not believing in God
based on what they see around them in nature.)
- What, specifically, does Paul say we should be
able to understand about God from nature?
(Verse 20: His eternal power and divine
- Does Paul suggest that nature reveals all of
God’s qualities? (Paul just suggests two.)
- Do you agree that nature shows God’s
eternal power? (No question.)
- Do you agree that nature shows God’s
- Is it part of God’s divine nature
that bigger or fitter animals eat
smaller or less fit animals?
- Let’s read on. Romans 1:22-23. Is this a
comment on the bigger, fitter animals
issue? (Yes! Sort of. Paul suggests that
nature shows a hierarchy. Given this
hierarchy, how does it make any logical
sense for man to bow down to birds and
reptiles – much less images of them? Why,
Paul says, in view of nature, would man
look down and not up the chain? This idea
is bolstered by the Greek word Paul uses
(“theiotes”) which is translated “divine
nature” and refers to the abstract and
relative power of God. Nature shows us
there is a power above us.)
- Let’s look at another text on this. Read
Psalms 19:1-4. What does this suggest that
nature tells us about God?
- Is there any language barrier here?
- Why does nature (v.2) speak in the day and
display knowledge at night? (One
explanation could be that during the day
we can observe this great creation. Night
shows us this is a “smart creation” in at
least two ways. You need sleep to live.
Presto, what do you find? A period of
time in which your body can sleep and be
regenerated. At night you can see all the
stars. Their order and movement show a
- As you look back at that list that you made of what
you learn from nature, how many of the positive
things that you listed reflect God’s abstract
- Is nature all we need to know God? Read Colossians
- To what do you think the phrase in verse 8,
“basic principles of this world,” refers?
Could it refer to nature? (Yes. The Greek
seems to say “the orderly arrangement of the
cosmos.” This would clearly point to nature!)
- What do we need to have a clear picture of
God? (Paul tells us that we can learn certain
things about God’s power and authority through
nature, but we have an incomplete picture
without the life of Christ.)
- Where would we learn about the life of
Christ? (The Bible)
- We have seen how someone who communes in nature can
come away with an incomplete picture of God. Is
the reverse true, does someone who faithfully reads
his Bible, but stays away from the mosquitoes, have
an incomplete picture of God? (I am not sure the
picture is incomplete, but it is missing an
important part of the foundation. What makes us
think that the Bible is not just a bunch of fairy
tales? An old book whose main purpose is to make
preachers rich off the gullible? Paul says in
Romans you cannot look at nature without concluding
that something a lot bigger and smarter than man is
running the show.)
- WHY THE PICTURE IS OUT OF FOCUS
- Read Revelation 21:1-4. What has happened to
nature? What has happened to the (v.4) “old order
- Think back to your list of what you learn from
nature. How many of the negative things in
your list are in the nature of “old order”
things that will pass away?
- What does this suggest is wrong with the
nature picture? (It suggests that sin has
marred the picture, caused it to be out of
focus. Nature is good to teach us the power
and authority of God, but it is not a picture
in which God has put all the brush strokes.
The devil has been adding his scribbling to
this picture and his additions are going to
- PUTTING THE PICTURE IN FOCUS
- Look next at Psalms 111:10. What do you think the
Psalmist means when he says, “The fear of the Lord
is the beginning of wisdom?”
- Does nature teach us to “fear” God? (Some of
the grandest views of God’s power come from
- Will “fear of God” lead to a focused or
unfocused picture of Him? (The Hebrew word
translated “fear” (yirah) can mean a series of
things starting with respect, through awe, to
terror. If you start out with the mind set
that God is awesome and you are not, you are
on the right road to understanding God. So
much of the errors that are drawn from nature
come from man’s arrogant attitudes.)
- Are we (are you) a part of nature that can lead us
to fear God?
- The Psalmist tells us in Psalms 139:14 that we
are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” What do
you think that means?
- Let’s consider our eyes for a moment. Can man
reproduce the eye/optic nerve/brain
connection? (No. Man cannot create a
substitute eye. Man cannot even create a very
good substitute hand. Doesn’t that tell you
something? If man, with all his knowledge and
ability, cannot make a “simple” thing like a
hand, what kind of genius thinks we should be
looking “down the chain of creation” or at
chance to explain what we are today!)
- If nature caused you to acknowledge there is a
power above you, what would be your next natural or
logical step? (To see if this God who created
nature and us decided to communicate with His
- Would it be logical to be led to the Bible?
(The Bible claims to be a message from God.
An explanation of God, our origins and God’s
desires for our life – to name a few.)
- Does the Bible also tell us that a
“scribbler,” a graffiti artist has been at
work after the creation?
- Where? (Genesis 3)
- Is the placement important? (Right after
God tells us how He created the world,
nature and man, He plunges immediately
into the entry of sin. It seems God is
anxious to share with us the story of how
man and creation are marred by sin.)
- Friends, nature should convince us of a power above
ourselves. The primary lesson of the book of nature
is to convince us that God exists. God’s second
book, the Bible, then puts the picture of God into
- NEXT WEEK: BUT DID IT REALLY HAPPEN?