Recently, I had the opportunity to be in the Florida Keys for a couple of days. It was a fun and relaxing time. I was able to eat a bunch of good food, see some real treasure (in a museum), shake fins with a dolphin and go fishing and actually catch something. Both of those activities are exceptionally rare for me: fishing and catching something when I do fish. Aside from those experiences, the most memorable facets of the trip were being on a boat in the ocean for the first time and flying home. That second memory, flying in an airplane, seems a little lame to be more notable than seeing 300 year old Spanish gold and getting a high five from a dolphin, but when I look back it is more significant to me. The boat ride and flight home carry something in common that really do amaze me. Hugeness. The ocean is huge. Clouds are massive. On the flip side, I notice my own smallness in relationship to these things.
I have noticed that the Bible draws this comparison on multiple occasions. Highlighting the greatness of creation to emphasize God’s glory and, by contrast, man’s smallness.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
(Psalm 8:3-4 ESV)
This verse, for example, makes the distinction very clear. It mentions the night sky, which is one of the best and most perplexing views into natural grandeur that we have access to, as an example of God’s handiwork. Immediately, David’s next thought is, essentially, “What am I and why in the world does the God who made all this have any reason to care about me?”
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure
and weighed the mountains in scales
and the hills in a balance?
(Isaiah 40:12 ESV)
Isaiah 40 is another section of scripture that the writer is going on about the greatness of God’s wisdom and creation and ends up drawing the contrast between the greatness of God and the minuteness of man:
All the nations are as nothing before him,
they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
(Isaiah 40:17 ESV)
God works this same principle in reverse for when Job needs to be reminded of his place before God. For two whole chapters (Job 38 & 39) God begins to read off His resume to Job. Job then says, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth,” (Job 40:4 ESV). But God is not done yet because for two additional chapters He continues to exclaim His glory by describing the majesty of His creation.
Scripture gives us a new pair of glasses to view the beauty of the natural world with. We can look down at clouds from an airplane or across a sea of rolling, slate gray waves that appears to have no end and give glory to our God. Why? Because He created it and if He created it then that means He is far greater than the barely comprehensible things before our eyes.