“Nature is the art of God.” —Dante Alghieri
The Bible study group I belong to is currently diving into the book of Ephesians. This ancient letter has long been a favorite of mine and I’ve been eager to dig a bit deeper into it. As I sat down to study, one verse from our week’s passage stood out to me.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10, ESV)
I’ve read this verse a gajillion times since childhood and it’s a good one to be sure, but it wasn’t until I dug into a commentary that something new grabbed hold of me.
This commentary pointed out that the word for ‘workmanship’ is the Greek word poiēma, from which we get our word poem. Though poem, or poetry isn’t the ancient meaning of this word, it evoked a lovely image nonetheless; God’s people as living poetry, written by the hand of the Most High Himself.
This got me to thinking about poetry and how the poet leaves a bit of him or herself on the page. The same is true of writing or dancing, painting or music. Indeed, any artistic endeavor will reveal much about the creator of it. We can’t help it. Creating requires something of ourselves, it’s like pulling out a bit of our soul and displaying it for all to see.
And Scripture tells us that our Father’s creation does indeed tell us of Him.
“For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made.” (Romans 1:20a, HCSB)
“The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”
(Psalms 19:1, ESV)
I thought about my Creator’s vast array of glorious works in the moon reflecting in the waters of the bay out my windows, in the wonder of an eclipse, and in the dew strewn about in spiders’ webs like morning jewels. I see Him in the the almost infinite variety of beast and bloom just here in my neighborhood. The complexity of His design is seen even in the mundane work of the bee carrying it’s precious cargo of pollen and I am filled with awe at the sight of it.
Then my musings turned toward the created things just here in my own home. What do they tell me about my Father?
We have three cats, all incredibly beautiful, but my thoughts turned to ‘my’ boy. Loki is a lovely Bengal kitty who completely stole my heart the moment I saw pictures of his sweet face posted on my friend’s Facebook page. He is truly a masterpiece, a living, breathing work of art. Each spot and stripe is delicately placed, showing my Father’s attention to detail.
His brother, Tai Lung, is no less exquisite. Even the tiny dots flanking his nose seem deliberately placed for the most pleasing effect. My Father seems to delight in pleasing us with such loveliness.
And our sweet girl, Snickerdoodle, with the eyes of a summer sky, soft and snuggly, reminding me to slow down and just breathe, to be still before our Creator.
What a gift these creatures are!
And how about my children? Each so incredibly unique, wonderfully made, creative masterpieces on loan to me from my God.
I’m never more aware of the wonder of their design than when they’re on stage, themselves creating through movement or acting.
So, while I know the word, poiēma, in the context of this verse does not mean to say we are God’s poetry, perhaps we are all the same, yes? There’s no denying the artistry in His design everywhere we look.
Our gracious and loving Father is revealing bits of Himself every day in the artistry of His creation. Are we seeing it? Are we taking the time to soak it in and hear Him?
Thank you, Father, for the beauty you’ve showered us with. May I take the time every day to appreciate the care You put into the things you have made and be awed by your skill; may it cause my heart to rejoice and to fill with praise for you, my beloved Creator. Amen.