Not long ago I was visiting with some church leaders and the topic of transgender persons came up. While a number of good strategies were mentioned about sharing the gospel with them (and all people who sinfully rejected God’s moral norms for their sex lives) there were questions about what is wrong with a man desiring to be a woman, or the reverse. “Which verse does a transgender person violate?” was the question.
The short answer (and this again goes for all persons) is “all of them.” In Adam, all of us are guilty before our maker (Rom 5:12, 18–19). By nature, we are inveterate rebels. We don’t need a verse addressing our specific manifestation of sin, although there are plenty. The whole Bible speaks to the sinful condition of mankind—transgender persons included. Just read Romans 1:18–32 or Albert Mohler’s insightful “Biblical Theology and the Sexuality Crisis.” Sexual morality is far more than keeping all the laws.
But specific answers aside, I think there is a larger need in evangelical churches—namely, the remembrance that we do not worship God as Redeemer only, but also as Creator. In fact, in biblical revelation he is first Creator first, then Redeemer. And even in redemption, the goal is new creation—personal (2 Cor 5:17) and cosmic (Matt 19:28; Revelation 21–22).
In sharing the gospel, we must not forget that sin is not just law-breaking; it is anything that opposes or deviates from God’s created design. But we will only remember this doctrine of creation, if we give ourselves to worship God as Creator.
And for that reason, I offer give you six ways God’s creation should move you to worship and evangelize.
Psalm 104: Worshiping the God of Creation
1. See God’s Beauty Around You
Bless the LORD, O my soul!
O LORD my God, you are very great!
You are clothed with splendor and majesty,
covering yourself with light as with a garment,
stretching out the heavens like a tent. (vv. 1-2)
God has created a world filled with wonder and awe. From the blazing inferno that lights, heats, and powers our universe, to the sheets of light known as the Aurora Borealis, to the golden hue of a harvest moon, God has filled his world with beauty. And that beauty is meant to lead you to him.
The world worships creation, but for those who know God, creation moves us to worship God. As Caedmon’s Call once said, “God created nothing that would give us more pleasure than him…” Think about all the pleasures that are in our universe—beauty for our eyes, aromas for the nose, and honey for the tongue, not to mention the myriad of pleasures experienced in the body. All of these are gifts from God. And yet, how much better is the giver! Creation around you beckons you to see and savor the Lord.
2. Submit to the Power of His Rule Over You
At your rebuke they fled;
at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. (v. 7)
Creation is meant to teach you how small, weak, and fleeting you are. Stand next to the tower Rocky Mountains, or go stand next to a eighty-foot Oak. Take in the fact that you are small. And then try to push down that tree. It won’t move an inch. Then consider how trees like that are picked up by tornadoes and hurricanes and splintered like tooth picks.
You and I are small and powerless to oppose God. And yet, in our folly, we live quiet lives of desperation pushing against God. Creation can help us embrace our humble status as creatures.
Learn from the roaring ocean: “God rebuked the waters and they fled.” The waters were more obedient than we. Humble yourselves as you contemplate the power and presence of God in his world. His voice breaks the cedars of Lebanon and his voice will break you. Until you submit to him and find that the voice that created all things can recreate you soul and body.
3. Seek His Wisdom Which Is Near You
O LORD, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures. (v. 24)
The works of God are countless. They’re not infinite, for there are only so many stars and species of bird, sea creature, and land mammal, etc. But contemplation of these works will fill eternity with wonder. God put Adam in the Garden to guard and cultivate. Adam failed, but God didn’t.
All creation remains under his rule, even if we can’t control it. In time God sent his Son to reclaim what Adam lost. Jesus is the Greater Solomon who possesses all wisdom and knowledge to subdue the earth. This begins with Jesus grace to forgive sinners and reconcile nations (e.g., Jew and Gentiles united in one new man), but one day his peace-making power will engulf all creation (Col 1:20). And until then, we can marvel at his wisdom and seek it for our daily needs (see James 1 and 3).
4. Trust in His Provision That Is For You
These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.
When you give it to them, they gather it up;
when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
When you send forth your Spirit, they are created,
and you renew the face of the ground. (vv. 27–30)
The Psalmist points to the animals of the earth to show how they all depend on God’s provision. If God hides his face, they are dismayed. If he removes his Spirit, they cease to exist.
Once again, creation indicts us. For the Psalmist observes that animals are more obedient and aware of God than we are (cf. Isaiah 1). In its bounty, God’s world is meant to show us how he provides for his people. The field doesn’t labor to clothe itself and no bird frets over its ability to feed itself (see Matt 6:25–33). God cares for his creation, and we can trust he will do the same for us.
5. Confess the Wickedness Inside You
Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more!
Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD! (v. 35)
The God of creation demands that sinners who have destroyed the earth (Rev 11:17) must be re-created in Christ. In order for us to rightfully enjoy his world, we must die and come to life again.
All those who refuse to trust in Christ will be “consumed from the earth.” The wicked will be no more. In this, the Psalmist isn’t talking about evil dictators, big-city politicians, or small town drug dealers. He is talking about all of us—all who have been made in his image, but who have misused his creation to pursue our own schemes.
Psalm 104 warns us: the God who made the world so good is going to remake the world even better. He is going to purify this planet with fire, and he is going to eliminate sin and sinners from the earth. The question becomes, how will you fare in the judgment? Those who have Christ by faith will be saved. Those who do not have the Son, will be destroyed. They will be removed from his new creation and consumed by eternal fire.
6. Worship the Creator Who is Above You
Which leads to a sixth observation: For those who trust in Christ, the proper response is one of endless, spiritual praise to the God of creation! For the world God has made beckons us to praise him, and even more the God who makes us new creatures in Christ enables us to praise him by the Spirit he gives to us.
Indeed, it is this creation-inspired song of salvation we need to embrace, if we are going to hold fast to the Bible’s doctrine of redemption as others seek to manipulate creation at every turn. And it is this pro-Creator message of salvation, that we need to bring to those who are currently worshiping the creation rather than the creator. Indeed, God is not anti-creation; he loves that creation. And for that reason, we must put him first over creation so that we might rightly enjoy his creation as we worship him, our Creator.
May the glory of the LORD endure forever;
may the LORD rejoice in his works,
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke!
I will sing to the LORD as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
for I rejoice in the LORD. (vv. 31–34)
Soli Deo Gloria, ds