Understanding how things work leads to worship
By David Vogel
One of my favorite toys growing up was a small plastic microscope. Its lens wasn’t much stronger than a magnifying glass, so the image in the eyepiece was more of an isolated enlargement than a glimpse into the microscopic world. But it piqued my curiosity. I was fascinated just to observe something almost out of eye-reach, whether it was a leaf’s bright green veins or the chinks in a roly-poly’s armor.
I still carry that fascination. I like to see things up close, understand how they work. But it’s an interest I often hold quietly.
Is it possible that quantifying the universe into a lab notebook steals beauty? Does understanding the “how” take away the mystery of creation and detract from the glorious splendor of God’s design?
Sound, after all, is just the vibration of air molecules. And a rainbow is nothing more than light passing through moisture in the atmosphere.
Both statements are accurate. But not fully.
As products of Genesis 1, when we understand creation—such as what makes music and color—it allows us to better appreciate it. And appreciating how nature works is worshiping the Creator because nature itself reflects the Creator.
Psalm 148 winds its way through nature, commanding praise from the sun, moon, stars, lightning, hail, stormy winds, snow, clouds, mountains, hills, ocean depths, trees, wild animals, sea creatures, small creatures, cattle and birds. “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for at his command they were created” (Ps. 148:5).
It’s not until the end of this list that humans are finally instructed to worship. Nature praises God long before we ever get started. I’d argue that when nature is put under a metaphorical microscope we can see this.
Sound may just be vibrating molecules, but those simple vibrations cause notes, which can be arranged into complex melodies and harmonies that can only be heard once the vibrations hit our ear, which turns them into electrical signals that our brain recognizes as music.
And a rainbow may just be light passing through atmospheric moisture, but that moisture is essentially a sky-sized prism created by billions of tiny water droplets suspended in air that refracts light into seven distinct hues that are projected across the heavens in a brilliant ribbon of color.
How can we understand that and not see the Creator? How can we understand that and not praise God?
In Romans Paul writes, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20).
Appreciating the complexities of the world around us isn’t just comprehending dry textbook explanations. It’s more like reading poetry, where complementing colors are rhyme, and shape and symmetry are meter.
Creation is a living hymn, and appreciating its beauty and complexities is reading the text. Like a hymn, we sing along best if we know the words.
David Vogel serves as the worship director at Hillsboro (Kan.) MB Church, where he has been on staff since 2013. He and his wife, Hanna, welcomed their first child, Claire Elizabeth, in January, and live in Hillsboro, where David operates a graphic design studio. David is passionate about using music and multimedia to create an environment of authentic and passionate worship.
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