Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 3 (1876 - 1882)

468/473

Ms 4, 1882

God in Nature

Rome, New York

1882

This manuscript is published in entirety in GCDB 02/18/1897.

Men are naturally disposed to measure divine things by their perverted conceptions. They dwell upon infinite benevolence, but try to disbelieve in infinite justice. They grasp human assertions that the judgment executed against sin is contrary to right ideas of God’s benevolent character, and they put His word into the background and men’s opinions in the front. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Those who have no vital connection with God are swayed this way and that, ever grasping the opinions of learned men who sit in judgment upon God and His works and ways. Weak, finite minds weigh God’s Word with men’s balances. The wisdom of these so-called great men is foolishness with God. They are blinded by the god of this world. Those only who are willing to be accounted fools in the eyes of these very worldly-wise men will have the wisdom which is divine. God will not dwell with those who reject His truth, for all who disregard truth, disregard its Author. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 1

Of every house that has not Jesus for an abiding guest, He says when He withdraws His presence, “Your house is left unto you desolate.” [Matthew 23:38.] How can those who are destitute of divine enlightenment have correct ideas of God’s plans and ways? They either deny Him altogether and ignore His existence, or they circumscribe His power by their own finite, worldly-wise views and opinions. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 2

That which I have seen of eternal things and that which I have seen of the weakness of men, as God has presented the matter before me, has deeply impressed my mind and influenced my life and character. I see nothing wherein man should be exalted or praised or glorified. I see no reason why the opinions of learned men and the so-called great men should be trusted and exalted. Those who are connected with the infinite God are the only ones who make a proper use of their knowledge or of the talent entrusted to them by the omniscient Creator. No man can ever truly excel in knowledge and influence unless he is connected with the God of wisdom and power. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 3

The real evidence of a living God is not merely in theory; it is in the conviction which God has written in our hearts, illuminated and explained by His words. It is the living power in His created works, seen by a sanctified eye. The precious faith inspired of God gives strength and nobility of character. The natural powers are enlarged because of holy obedience. All the philosophies of human nature have led to confusion and shame when God has not been recognized as all in all. The life which we live by faith in the Son of God is a series of triumphs not always seen and understood by the interested parties, but with results reaching far into the future, where we shall see and know as we are known. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 4

The most profound intellects of the world, when not enlightened by God’s Word, become bewildered and lost while trying to investigate the matters of science and revelation. The Creator and His works are beyond finite comprehension, and men conclude that because they cannot explain the works and ways of God from natural causes, the Bible history is not reliable. Many are so intent upon excluding God from the exercise of sovereign will and power in the established order of the universe that they demean man, the noblest of His creatures. The theories and speculations of philosophy would make us believe that man has come by slow degrees, not merely from a savage state, but from the very lowest form of the brute creation. They destroy man’s dignity because they will not admit God’s miraculous power. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 5

God has illuminated human intellects and poured a flood of light on the world through discoveries in art and science. But those who view these from a merely human standpoint will most assuredly come to wrong conclusions. The thorns of error, skepticism, and infidelity are disguised by being covered with the garments of philosophy and science. Satan has devised this ingenious manner of winning souls away from the living God, away from the truth and religion. He exalts nature above nature’s Creator. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 6

The only safety for the people now is to feel the importance of combining religious culture with general education that we may escape the curse of unsanctified knowledge. Every effort should be made in the education of youth to impress their minds with the loveliness and power of the truth as it is in Jesus. When the vail shall be removed which separates time from eternity, then will come to many minds the clear perception of the policy of human wisdom in comparison with the sure word of prophecy. All true science leads to harmony with and obedience to God. When that which has seemed incomprehensible is seen in the light shining from the throne of God, it will fill the soul with the greatest astonishment that it was never seen and comprehended before. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 7

Christ and the Father are continually working through the laws of nature. Those who dwell on the laws of matter and the laws of nature in following their own limited, finite understanding lose sight of, if they do not deny, the continual and direct agency of God. Many express themselves in a manner which would convey the idea that nature is distinct from the God of nature, having in and of itself its own limits and its own powers wherewith to work. There is with many a marked distinction between natural and supernatural. The natural is ascribed to ordinary causes, unconnected with the interference of God. Vital power is attributed to matter, and nature is made a deity. Matter is supposed to be placed in certain relations and left to act from fixed laws with which God Himself cannot interfere; that nature is endowed with certain properties and placed subject to laws and left to itself to obey these laws and perform the work originally commanded. This is false science; there is nothing in the Word of God to sustain it. God does not annul His laws, but He is continually working through them, using them as His instruments. They are not self-working. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 8

God is perpetually at work in nature. She is His servant, directed as He pleases. Nature in her work testifies of the intelligent presence and active agency of a Being who moves in all His works according to His will. It is not by an original power inherent in nature that year by year the earth produces its bounties and the world keeps up its continual march around the sun. The hand of infinite power is perpetually at work guiding this planet. It is God’s power momentarily exercised that keeps it in position in its rotations. The God of heaven is constantly at work. It is by His power that vegetation is caused to flourish, that every leaf appears and every flower blooms. It is not as the result of a mechanism, that, once set in motion, continues its work, that the pulse beats and breath follows breath. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 9

In God we live and move and have our being. Every breath, every throb of the heart, is the continual evidence of the power of an ever-present God. It is God that maketh the sun to rise in the heavens. He openeth the windows of heaven and giveth rain. He maketh the grass to grow upon the mountains. “He giveth snow like wool; and scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.” [Psalm 147:16.] 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 10

“When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.” [Jeremiah 10:13.] Although the Lord has ceased His work in creating, He is constantly employed in upholding and using as His servants the things which He has made. Said Christ, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” [John 5:17.] 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 11

Men of the greatest intellect cannot understand the mysteries of Jehovah as revealed in nature. Divine inspiration asks many questions which the most profound scholar cannot answer. These questions were not asked, supposing that we could answer them, but to call our attention to the deep mysteries of God and to make men know that their wisdom is limited, that in the common things of daily life there are mysteries past the comprehension of finite minds, that the judgment and purposes of God are past finding out, His wisdom unsearchable. If He reveals Himself to man, it is by shrouding Himself in the thick cloud of mystery. God’s purpose is to conceal more of Himself than He makes known to man. Could men fully understand the ways and works of God, they would not then believe Him to be the infinite One. He is not to be comprehended by man in His wisdom and reasons and purposes. “His ways are past finding out.” [Romans 11:33.] His love can never be explained upon natural principles. If this could be done, we would not feel that we could trust Him with the interests of our souls. Skeptics refuse to believe, because with their finite minds they cannot comprehend the infinite power by which God reveals Himself to men. Even the mechanism of the human body cannot be fully understood; it presents mysteries that baffle the most intelligent. Yet because human science cannot in its research explain the ways and works of the Creator, men will doubt the existence of God and ascribe infinite power to nature. God’s existence, His character, [and] His law are facts that all the reasoning of men of the highest attainments cannot controvert. They deny the claims of God and neglect the interest of their souls because they cannot understand His ways and works. Yet God is ever seeking to instruct finite men that they may exercise faith in Him and trust themselves wholly in His hands. Every drop of rain or flake of snow, every spire of grass, every leaf and flower and shrub testifies of God. These little things so common around us teach the lesson that nothing is beneath the notice of the infinite God, nothing too small for His attention. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 12

God is to be acknowledged more from what He does not reveal of Himself than from that which is open to our limited comprehension. If men could comprehend the unsearchable wisdom of God and could explain that which He has done or can do, they would no longer give Him reverence or fear His power. In divine revelation God has given to men mysteries that are incomprehensible, to command their faith. This must be so. If the ways and works of God could be explained by finite minds, He would not stand as supreme. Men may be ever searching, ever inquiring, ever learning, and yet there is an infinite beyond. The light is shining, ever shining, with increasing brightness upon our pathway if we but walk in its divine rays. But there is no darkness so dense, so impenetrable, as that which follows the rejection of heaven’s light, through whatever source it may come. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 13

Can men comprehend God? No. They may speculate in regard to His way and works, but only as finite beings can. The question is asked by the Lord through His prophet, “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding? Behold the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering. All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. To whom then, will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? ... Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: that bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown; yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth; and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 14

“To whom will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number; he calleth them all by names, by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not be faint.” [Isaiah 40:12-31.] 3LtMs, Ms 4, 1882, par. 15