Tuesday, December 2, 2014

How Does Creation Worship?

Photo courtesy of Stephen Pohl
Praise the Lord from the earth,
    you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist,

    stormy wind fulfilling his word!  (Psa 148:7-8)

Louis McBride at Baker Book House has opportunity to read many of the works that are published by Baker and shares book nuggets.  Recently, he mentioned A New Heaven and a New Earth by J. Richard Middleton, which addresses biblical eschatology.  As part of the discussion, Middleton looks at Psalm 148 and posits that we improperly define worship.  I will quote what Louis McBride observed in his blog post:
“First of all, we should not reduce human worship of God to verbal, emotionally charged expressions of praise (which is what we usually mean by the term).  Rather, our worship consists in all that we do.” (p. 40)  Looking at Psalm 148 he notes that all sorts of things from creation are called on to “praise” God.  “In fact, humans are mentioned in only two of the eleven verses (vv. 1-4, 6-12) that call on God’s heavenly and earthly creatures to worship him.” (p. 40)  According to this Psalm “mountains and stars worship God just as much as humans do. . .  But how do mountains and stars worship God?  Certainly not verbally or with emotions.  Rather, mountains worship God simply by being mountains, covered with vegetation or with steep crags or glaciers, depending on their elevation.  And stars worship God by beings stars, burning with nuclear energy according to their sizes and their life cycles, ranging from those like our own sun to the red giants, white dwarfs, pulsars, and black holes.  If mountains worship God by being mountains and stars worship God by being stars, how do humans worship God?  By being human, in the full glory of what that means.” (pp. 40-41)
Photo courtesy of Stephen Pohl

Mountains and all hills,
     fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock,
    creeping things and flying birds!

(Psa 148:9-10)

Middleton goes on to make what I consider to be an invalid conclusion, but I was struck by the argument thus far: a created thing properly worships when it does what it was created to do.  (So much for glitz, sparkle, and showmanship on Sunday mornings.)  But therein lies the rub.  Adam disobeyed, and as a result, all creation groans because of sin.  Only in the Lord Jesus can you and I worship rightly.

In one sense, Psalm 148 is a grand picture of all creation praising the person and work of God, yet on the other hand, it is not realized, because creation still suffers from the Fall.  In that regard, the psalm looks forward to the consummation of all things in Christ.

I doubt that the book will be on my Wish List, but this particular subject needs a second look.

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