The Clues of Creation: God Is Not Hiding
In the 1998 film The Truman Show, Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, a generally cheerful insurance adjuster in a cozy island town whose days run like clockwork---until the day a stage light falls out of the heavens and crashes near his car. Though the news on the radio says an airplane has been shedding parts, Truman begins to develop a suspicious awareness that everything is not as it seems:
- A technical difficulty on his car stereo broadcasts the very route he is driving.
- A homeless man calling his name on the street looks very much like the father he thought was dead.
- An elevator in an office building opens to reveal what looks like a backstage area.
- The traffic in Truman's neighborhood appears to run on a "loop."
As Truman begins paying attention to the world around him, he discovers little by little that he is the unwitting star of a reality television show. Everyone in his life is an actor; all the people he sees throughout the day are extras; and the island town he lives in is actually a gigantic set enclosed by a heavenly bubble and overseen by a television director with a God complex. As Truman begins looking back through his life and at the world around him, he realizes the clues to reality were there all along.
The Truman Show is just a movie, of course (although its human-in-a-bubble premise doesn't seem so strange in these days of strange reality television shows!). But it is nevertheless a good metaphor for how billions of people live in this world every day. They wake up, go about their routines, and go to bed, only to start the ritual all over again. Sometimes they suspect the world is trying to tell them something about itself and what's outside of it, but they fail over and over again to put those clues together. They are like a person who finds a watch on the sidewalk and assumes it is the natural result of millions of years of sand, wind, and sun.
The movie is also a good metaphor for how billions of other people live: seeing the signs in daily life (the sun's rising, the sea's swelling, the changing of the seasons, the clockwork of the solar system, the intricacies of DNA) as if they are falling lights and telltale radio broadcasts and peeks behind the stage. We find that watch on the sidewalk and know it didn't arrive there accidentally. It was dropped, it was owned, and before all that, it was made. The world is telling us something; we just know it! It's telling us something about itself, about us, and about what's behind it all. But what?
According to the Bible, the world around us testifies to all within it that there is a Creator. Furthermore, the world around us is telling us what the Creator is like, and it is telling us something of his plans. We call this reality general revelation because it refers to the general way God reveals himself to people everywhere.
The created world is constantly saying something about its Creator---or more accurately, the Creator is constantly saying something about himself through his created world. The picture we receive from Psalm 19 is of a world that acts as a loudspeaker, a stage, and an art gallery---all pointing to God's glory. The sky proclaims that all this work has a Designer's hands behind it.
Just like the presence of a watch on a sidewalk indicates a watchmaker, our finely tuned bodies living in this finely tuned world hanging in this finely tuned cosmos point to the logical existence of a Creator. Nobody looks at a Mercedes Benz and assumes there was an explosion at a junkyard.
We learn about God from his general revelation that he will not settle for being acknowledged. He wants to be known! So there is something about the heavens---their vastness, their beauty, their complexity, their power, their impression upon little ol' us---that tells us something about him.
This is an excerpt from The Gospel Project for Adults Bible Study from LifeWay. The Gospel Project is an ongoing 13-week Bible study curriculum for all age groups that helps people see Scripture as one over-arching story that points to what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Find out more and download one month to review free at www.gospelproject.com.