The Word of God in Nature

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (v. 1).

- Psalm 19:1–6

As we have seen, God’s kingdom is administered through the covenants revealed in the Word of God. This concept of the Word of God is central to the biblical revelation — it can be traced through the Old and New Testaments.

The Word of God is contained in two books — the book of nature and the book of Scripture. Our concern today is with the book of nature or natural revelation, that knowledge about the Lord given in the created order. The Bible is clear that God reveals truth about Himself in the world around us, and today’s passage is one of the most important biblical texts on the reality of natural revelation.

David focuses on the skies in Psalm 19:1–6, and within the span of these six verses he tells us much about what natural revelation reveals to mankind. Chiefly, the natural world affirms the existence of a creator God who is full of glory (v. 1). Verse one refers to the “heavens” and the “sky,” which is translated elsewhere as “firmament” or “expanse.” We hear an echo of Genesis 1 wherein we read how God designed the “heavens” (v. 1) and the “expanse” to separate the waters (v. 6).

Natural revelation is spoken in a universal language — “there is no speech” where it goes unheard (Ps. 19:2–3). Therefore, the knowledge of God available in creation is a common ground with nonbelievers to which we can appeal to defend the existence of a Creator. In fact, natural revelation is so plain that it takes conscious suppression to deny it, as is seen in David’s use of the bridegroom analogy in verses 4–5. When a bridegroom left his chamber on his wedding day in the ancient world, his entire village would see it, and only liars or people intentionally indifferent could claim ignorance. Similarly, the rising and setting of the sun testifies clearly to the Lord’s work. Charles Spurgeon writes, “The witnesses above cannot be slain or silenced; from their elevated seats they constantly preach the knowledge of God, unawed and unbiased by the judgment of men” (comments on Ps. 19 from The Treasury of David).

Finally, natural revelation tells us judgment is coming. Old Testament references to the “anger of God” in English Bibles are often idiomatic translations of the literal Hebrew phrase “his nose was hot.” That nothing is hid from the sun’s heat (v. 6) is a reminder that no sin can escape the fire of our Creator’s anger.

Coram Deo

The fact that God has revealed Himself in nature gives a meaning and purpose to education that is impossible with non-Christian approaches. When we study science, math, photography, business, or any other subject, we are studying laws the Lord has revealed in and through the created order. All truth is God’s truth, whether we discover it in the Bible or in the natural sciences or liberal arts.

Passages for Further Study

Job 36:24–33
Psalm 97:6
Acts 17:22–34
Romans 1:18–32

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