Nature, God's First Bible

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament displays his handiwork. Day to day utters speech, and night to night shows knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out to all the earth and their words to the end of the world. (Ps. 19:1-41)

I don't know if I could have been open to the idea of evolution if I hadn't learned from the early Christians that God speaks through nature. It was common for the earliest Christians to argue that the death of trees each winter and their rebirth to life in the spring was a testimony from God himself that there is a resurrection. Clement of Rome, appointed as an elder by the apostles and probably the earliest Christian writer outside of the New Testament writers, argues from the process of a fruit maturing that Christ will surely return. He describes the steps from losing its leaves through the bud and flower to the ripe fruit, then uses it as proof of Christ's return just as though he were quoting a Scripture (1 Clement 23).

This is Scriptural! David, the Psalmist, tells us that both day and night testify to all the world. Paul, after quoting David, tells us that “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Rom. 1:20). We are required to learn from nature. Those who reject what nature says about God are “without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).

Once I was aware of this, it was not so frightening that the scientific evidence for evolution was mounting before my eyes. Spiritually, we know that things evolve. We are not born again into complete maturity. We have to grow in Christ. That growth comes the same way that life evolves in nature. It comes by suffering and adapting and even by death. God did not begin by sacrificing Jesus immediately after the fall in the garden. There was a time when man had no covenant. Then came Noah, then Abraham, and finally Moses came along with what was not really just the “old“ covenant but what could be called the fourth covenant God had with man. Evolution is clearly the spiritual way.

We are allowed to believe nature! God did not send nature to trick us. Fossils are not planted by demons in the ground. We are supposed to learn from nature. It is commanded.

One quick story, before I let you go. Finding this out was a turning point for me. I don't want to believe science; I want to believe God! First I found out that God could speak through nature, and then I found out what he was speaking, and then I was not only open to evolution, but excited about it.

You may know that water is the only substance that expands when it freezes. That means that ice, rather than sinking in water as the solid form of all other liquids does, floats. This means ponds and lakes and rivers freeze from the top down, rather than from the bottom up. That top layer of ice then insulates the water below, meaning that fish and other marine life do not die during harsh winters. I have often heard this mentioned as evidence of God's existence, an anomaly in nature put there for creation's benefit by God.

There's another anomaly in nature. You probably know that when an atom splits it releases great amounts of energy. That's called fission, and that's how atomic bombs work. When atoms fuse, or combine into one atom, even more energy is released. The H-bomb, made of hydrogen, is an example. Our sun is a gigantic H-bomb, fusing two hydrogen atoms to make one helium atom in order to produce the energy that heats the earth. When it has used up all it's hydrogen atoms (some 4 billion years from now), it will begin fusing three helium atoms into one carbon atom. At that point it will become a red giant and destroy the earth. When it has enough carbon, it will begin fusing carbon into many types of heavier atoms.

Here's where the anomaly comes in. While our star really isn't large enough to produce enough carbon to fuse it, many stars are. As those stars begin making atoms the size of iron, a strange phenomenon takes place. Iron, rather than releasing energy when it is fused, takes in energy. As more and more iron and larger atoms are produced, more and more energy is sucked in by the fusion reaction. A vacuum is created in the star, and it begins collapsing in on itself.

When stars compress they produce heat. Fusion is going on only in the interior of the star, but not when a star is collapsing on itself. When that happens great heat is produced, causing the whole stare to go into a nuclear reaction. The star explodes, expelling its matter over wide swaths of the galaxy.

Much of the matter expelled is carbon and other larger atoms produced from the carbon. When the star explodes the carbon mixes with some of these atoms, forming molecules. Do you know there is a name for a carbon molecule? It's called an organic molecule, and the reason it is called that is because carbon molecules are what all life is made out of. If you are a star trek fan, you know that you are a carbon-based organism.

Now, let me ask. If the anomaly of ice expanding from water is evidence of God's intervention in life, then what about the anomaly of iron fusing? Did God set up these amazing cosmic factories—supernovas—to produce carbon molecules, the very dust we are made of, for no reason? If he wasn't going to produce us from this dust, why did he make it?

Personally, I think the firmament, which contains the matter from those supernovas, testifies that it is very old, and that the dust we are made of, is stardust. Is that really such a bad thought?