Now that with age my eyes are getting a little better, I’ve discovered they’ve been graced to see more often in the old creation the invisible things of God.
The grandeur of a great mountain. A growing tree. A branch. A leaf. A brook flowing crystal clear. The speckles on a trout… These all have a message to speak that, when understood, enables us to know better the One who created all this and left us with a sense of wonder about it all. And He created it not just a display of His great power, but also of His great wisdom. Everything He created contains, and reveals, some aspect of the wondrous wisdom of God.
O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom Thou hast made them all… (Ps. 104:24).
Some time ago I was out in a popular recreation area. It was a beautiful day, and warm, and around me were many people, most of them young people preoccupied with themselves and their play, rapt in the illusion that youth is eternal, enjoying themselves and the beautiful day, and God’s beautiful creation—yet totally oblivious to the God who created it all. I felt such a darkness there, the darkness of the darkened heart of man, the lostness of man. It started to close in on me, and I wanted to get away. As I turned and took a step I happened to glance down at the ground. The once green grass had been worn to the dirt by the many people walking back and forth, yet there at my feet was a bee seeking nectar in a little flower of clover that had somehow escaped the foot of man. And a sudden flash of illumination came upon me—I wasn’t even looking for it—of an Order, a Wisdom, that had brought a whole creation into being. I felt a sudden yet familiar fear.
And in that fear, a longing prayer—that my own life become more and more an expression of that same eternal Wisdom that pervades the natural creation.
A longing, I say, and an expectation. I am reminded of something Job said:
Lo, these are but the outskirts of his ways: And how small a whisper do we hear of him! (Job 26:14 ASV).
Job had been reminding his friends about certain wonders of the natural creation that reveal God’s power and wisdom. Yet marvels though they are, Job said these are just the outskirts, the fringes, of God’s ways. By His word God had spoken it all into existence—the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein. But, said Job, that’s only His whispered word. And he just knew, somehow, that God had more to say. That led him to ask a further question:
But the thunder of His power who can understand?
To what extent Job discovered the answer to his question I don’t know. But if the old creation is God’s wisdom and word in a whisper… is not the new creation His thunder? Thus, my expectation.
Later God asks Job many questions about His whispers, and by them He “convinceth Job of ignorance and imbecility” (as the heading of the page in my old King James Bible reads). Thus God opened his eyes to see Him like never before, and he repented in dust and ashes.
Oh what wondrous questions He asked him. When I read them I too am convicted of ignorance and imbecility. Among them He asked, “Who hath put wisdom in the inward parts? Or who hath given understanding to the heart?” (Job 38.36).
Again He asked, “Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom?” (Job 39:26). You mean the hawk flies by wisdom? Apparently, yes. That is God whispering to the open, attentive ear. The wisdom God gave the hawk is a wisdom and understanding that is not mere blackboard teaching, but has empowering life in it by which the hawk soars in the heavens. That is wisdom.
And that is the kind of wisdom His new creation Man is to walk in; that’s what is ours in Christ Jesus—that kind of wisdom, wisdom with power in it, wisdom with life in it, something akin to the instinct of life that we see in earthly creatures like the hawk. We call it instinct. God calls it wisdom. The New Creation man is not someone who is trying to live by rules written in the Bible, whether in the Old Testament, or even in the New. He is living his life out from what he is by nature: a new creation in Christ Jesus, in whom a Law and Wisdom is written in the inward parts—in the heart—the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
The new creation Man, we are told, is God’s handiwork, the masterpiece of His creative genius and wisdom (Eph. 2:10). He is creating us in Christ Jesus, is bringing to maturity a many-membered new creation Man governed by a Law of Life and Wisdom that the old creation is just a whisper of.
It means an order, a harmony among those members, that is utterly breathtaking.
And when the Queen of Sheba had seen the wisdom of Solomon, and the house that he had built, and the meat of his table, and the sitting of his servants, and the attendance [the standing] of his ministers, and of their apparel; his cupbearers also, and their apparel, and his ascent by which he went up into the house of the LORD, there was no more breath in her (2 Chr. 9.4).
What did the Queen of Sheba see? What took her breath away? Solomon’s wisdom, yes. But the transcendent order of it all—of his kingdom and temple, the house he built for God. The order, the harmony, of his many attendants and servants. Yet the temple Solomon built was only a type, a shadow, of the new creation temple a Greater than Solomon is even now building in the earth. With what is He building this new creation temple? With Wisdom—the same Wisdom and Word by which He made the old creation (Pr. 8.22-31, Ps. 104.24). And when He is finished, this Temple, this House, will shine forth all the fullness of the wisdom and glory of God such that all nations shall bow before Him—and principalities and powers in heavenly places as well—when they see in the Church “the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. 3:10).
I tremble to think of this—that this is actually going to happen. Even unbelievers, even the most godless of men, they love to get out in nature. It’s the order, the harmony, they touch in the old creation, and though they refuse to know God, they stand in awe of it all. But when those in the world around us see God’s order fully revealed in the kingdom of His new creation Man, in the Church which is His body, in the House and Temple which is the masterpiece of all His works—when they begin to see the Christians at last walking together in the new creation Life and Wisdom of God, and in the harmony of a new creation Order, it is going to be order out of chaos to them, and the fear of God is going to grip them, and they are going to believe (Jn. 17:20-23). They are going to see such fearful harmony ordered by the new creation Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus that it is going to utterly take their breath away, and turn their hearts to Him in a way that present-day Christendom, with the cacophony of all its discord and divisions, has not been able to do.
They are going to hear instead a voice of many waters blended together in one majestic Voice—the thunder of His power.
I tremble at the prospect.