And yet, every morning when I wake up, an invitation lies before me. This invitation has actually been there all night and continues to be before me all throughout the day. It is an invitation from God that says, “know me”.
Let me explain. One way that God is at work in the world is through general preservation: God preserves, maintains and sustains everything he has made including inanimate objects, living plants, animals and human beings whether they chose to or are able to acknowledge him as God or not.
One way the Bible puts it is that “in him, all things hold together” (Col. 1:17).
No part of creation is actually self-sufficient. In fact, God’s preservation of the cosmos is so completely necessary that if he stopped this preserving work,
everything would cease.
Another important thing that God’s preserves in this world is the human freewill. We will talk more about this in the next post, but for now, the gist of it is that God created men and women in his own image and gave them personal qualities and freedom, so that they could freely know the true nature of love by choosing relationship with him. In the beginning, we see God placing Adam and Eve in a realm of choice, and all throughout the narrative of scripture we see the freewill actions of people as critical to their relationship to God. God is actually preserving our ability to choose him.
So, why is God’s general preservation like an invitation? Well, that’s because it is this sustained realm of creation that provides the precious context in which humans can have a relationship with God and participate in his presence. Creation is, in a sense, like a formal invitation from the Creator himself for us to know him and experience the benefits of his love.
He holds all these things together, not for himself, but for us, so that we can know him as the one who:
creates and gives life to all living things
sustains the seasons
sends the rain
sees ahead and
provides what is needed
so that we can know him as the source and sustainer of all things, both visible and invisible, and be reverent to the fact that nothing exists outside his work of preservation.
- Look around you. Notice the objects, the people, the plants and animals. God is at work right now sustaining everything. What does this tell you about God? What does that mean to you?
- Take some time to prayerfully read through the survey of Bible verses provided about God’s preservation. What stands out to you? Why?
- God’s preservation of creation is one of the initial ways God’s invisible qualities, eternal power and divine nature can be clearly seen by all people (Romans 1:20). In what ways can this aspect of God’s Providence (his general preservation) help you initiate gospel centred conversations?
A survey of Bible verses on the topic of Preservation:
Genesis 8:22- God says after the flood, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
Nehemiah 9:6- “You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.”
Isaiah 40:26- “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”
Psalm 147:8- “He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills.”
Psalm 145:15-16- “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”
Psalm 136:25- “He gives food to every creature. His love endures forever.”
Psalm 104:27-28- “All creatures look to you to give them their food at the proper time. When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.”
Matthew 5:45- “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
John 1:1-4- “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him, nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.”
Acts 14:17- “Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”
Acts 17:25-28- “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
Colossians 1:15-17– “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him, all things hold together.”
Hebrews 1:3- “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”