God’s Glory in Creation
“The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters” (v. 3).- Psalm 29
John Calvin comments on Psalm 29 that “there is nothing in the ordinary course of nature, throughout the whole frame of heaven and earth, which does not invite us to the contemplation of God.” God has not left Himself without a witness to His glory in the created order; thus, even people who never read a Bible in their lives know that there is a Creator and that they owe Him worship and gratitude. This is confirmed by our human experience. The number of people who profess atheism is actually quite small. One recent study reported that less than two percent of people worldwide affirm the nonexistence of God. Even these, Romans 1:18–32 tells us, are denying reality and what they know to be true. There is no such thing as a true atheist, for a professed atheist is suppressing what is self-evident to his conscience and understanding.
Creation itself bears witness to God, but with Scripture we have a better comprehension of exactly what the created order is saying about its Maker. Today’s passage provides an illustration of that principle. David begins this psalm with a call for the “heavenly beings” to ascribe glory to God and worship Him in the splendor of holiness (Ps. 29:1–2). The same Hebrew term translated as “heavenly beings” in Psalm 29 is used elsewhere to refer to the angels and heavenly creatures that surround the throne (Pss. 82:6; 89:6), so David’s call is God’s call for the cherubim and seraphim to praise the Lord. Obviously, the implication is for us to praise God as well. If these mighty beings should worship Him, how much more should we?
The Lord’s power is seen in the sheer might of His words. Its strength is seen in its breaking of cedars; trees do not fall to the ground as the result of undirected natural powers but on account of the sovereign providence of God (Ps. 29:5). God’s power is also revealed in gentleness—for it makes the deer give birth (v. 9). It is possible that v. 9 refers not to animals but to the shaking of oaks, but even so, it is true that God directs the beasts of the land, sea, and air (Job 39). As Calvin comments, this makes any failure on the part of human beings to acknowledge him an even greater sin. “It is worse than irrational, it is monstrous, that men are not moved at God’s voice, when it has such power and influence on wild beasts. It is base ingratitude, indeed, in men not to perceive his providence and government in the whole course of nature; but it is a detestable insensibility that at least his unusual and extraordinary works, which compel even wild beasts to obey him, will not teach them wisdom.”
Many people in this world profess to be atheists, denying that God exists because they say there is insufficient evidence for a Creator. We know, however, that there is no such thing as a true atheist. The created order itself bears abundant witness to a Creator who is a masterful designer, who intends for human beings to do what is right, and who is directing all of history to an appointed end—the full revelation of His glory.
Passages for Further Study
1 Kings 3:1–15
1 Corinthians 2:6–16