Every Being Is of God’s Making

The Natural World: Week 1

Every Being Is of God’s Making
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

If you would learn more, ask the cattle,
Seek information from the birds of the air.
The creeping things of earth will give you lessons,
And the fishes of the sea will tell you all.
There is not a single creature that does not know
That everything is of God’s making. 

God holds in power the soul of every living thing,
And the breath of every human body.

—Book of Job 12:7-10 [1]

Most people do not even know that this wonderful passage from Job is even in the Bible. My friend and fellow Franciscan Jack Wintz wrote a book entitled Will I See My Dog in Heaven? In it he takes the scriptural, Christian, and Franciscan traditions to their logical conclusions: Yes, of course! As Franciscans, we studied the Scriptures and chanted Psalms that were filled with allusions to the natural world and animals. From the beginning of the Bible to the end, it is clear that a loving God includes all of creation in God’s Kingdom.

In the Genesis story, God’s love, beauty, and goodness overflow into creation; and all creatures, including humans, are living peacefully in God’s presence. Isaiah prophesies the “peaceable kingdom” to come (11:1-9; 65:17-25), which is symbolized by animals living in peace. In Revelation, John hears “every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, everything in the universe” giving God “blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever” (Revelation 5:13). Finally, John sees “a new heaven and a new earth” (21:1) and the Bible ends with a new garden, complete with “the river of life-giving water” and “the tree of life” (22:1-2).

God shows authentic, primal concern for all animals by directing Noah to take a male and female of every species onto the ark to be saved (see Genesis 7:2-3).  Apparently, animals matter and are worth “saving.” After the flood, God makes a covenant, not just with people but with all of creation (stated five times in 9:10-17). How did we miss that? Sadly, if we are self-centered, even if we say the Bible is the “inerrant” word of God, we will hear only what we want to hear! God’s salvation—and every biblical covenant—is clearly a social, historical, and universal concept rather than the merely human and individualistic version of salvation that most of us were taught. This made Christianity into a largely ineffective religion. The notion of salvation became so guarded and so stingy it was finally not available to the vast majority of humans!

I encourage you to study Scripture for yourself. Note especially Daniel 3:57-82; Job 12: 7-10 and 38:4-39:30; and Psalms 104 and 148, all of which show forth the revelatory power of creation. As Wintz says, “We are a part of this Creation, not apart from it.” [2] To love something is to mirror its inmost core and dignity, which we have also found within ourselves.

[1] Book of Job 12:7-10, Jerusalem Bible; paraphrase, R. Rohr.

[2] Jack Wintz, Will I See My Dog in Heaven? (Paraclete Press: 2009), 29.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, A New Cosmology: Nature as the First Bible, disc 2 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2009), CDMP3 download.

Image credit: Two Crabs (detail), by Vincent van Gogh, 1889, Faggionato Fine Arts, London, England.
Every day we have opportunities to reconnect with God through an encounter with nature, whether an ordinary sunrise, a starling on a power line, a tree in a park, or a cloud in the sky. This spirituality doesn’t depend on education or belief. It almost entirely depends on our capacity for simple presence. —Richard Rohr

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