The View from Here: Whose Book Is It?

We live and move on the pages of a book written by God to tell us about God.

Christians have always wanted to be known as people of the Book. Ever since we were little children, we’ve been singing “I stand alone on the Word of God, the B-I-B-L-E.”

But there is another book to stand on. It too is authored by God. We’ve said that for centuries. But sometimes we have forgotten.

We know him . . . by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe, since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God: his eternal power and his divinity . . . (Belgic Confession, Article 2).

This world is “like a beautiful book.” Paul said so in Romans 1:20: “God’s . . . eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been mad . . .”

We live and move on the pages of a book written by God to tell us about God. The world’s amazing resources, its phenomenal wonders, its teeming creatures all are chapters in one of God’s books pointing us toward himself.

That means we must walk carefully. We must preserve the text of Volume 1 (it was, after all, written first) as carefully and reverently as we protect the text of Volume 2. We must be as careful not to distort the pages of God’s first book as we are to honor the pages of his second. We must be as hesitant to call the first book “mine” as we are to say that about the second. We must be as attentive to all the paragraphs of Volume 1 as we are to all the verses in Volume 2.

Recently I was pumping gas into my car when a neighbor walked up to greet me. He had a handful of discarded paper and other trash. I said to him, “Cleaning up the neighborhood?” He answered, “Of course; it belongs to the King, and nothing is too good for the King.”

That, I think, must be the attitude of us all. The story began when God “wrote” the book to which I refer and then told the first major characters in the story to take care of it. And it continues to this day, with God expecting each of us individually—and all of us corporately—to take care of the “beautiful book” that shows us who God is.

I have heard folks say that our primary task is to tell others about Jesus. With that I would never argue. But too often that means they pay much more attention to Volume 2 than Volume 1.

Let’s remember that Volume 1 was written not only to provide us with a comfortable environment in which to live but to remind us of its author and point others to him. Volume 1 is not only the first to be written; it is almost always the first to be read. If we do not care for it and protect it and honor it and preserve it, we distort its message and make it difficult or impossible for others to read. Such failure also shows disrespect for its author, who told us to take good care of it for him.

We care for this book the way we ought to when we let it point us and others to the author of that other book, the one that tells the even better story of the new creation.

About the Author

Rev. Joel R. Boot is the executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

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Note: I do NOT want this printed in the Banner. I only wish for it to be seen as a comment and my own unique perspective and contribution because I part of my background growing up was in the Christian Reformed community of Cutlerville, MI. I am now a caregiver for my mother in law in Arlington, MA. The closest Christian Reformed Church is 55 miles away.

I really agree with this article. "Volume 1" and "Volume 2" are very good metaphors. I have been collecting quotes on Nature. I will share some later. In my opinion, I believe that profound climate change has happened, and global warming has happened, and that it is worse than it was predicted to be. The drought in the US in the growing season of 2012 is going to cause severe losses to the economy, and food prices are going to be higher in the fall and winter of 2012. Whoever is the next president is going to face not only a 15 trillon dollar debt, but also higher food prices and a slowing economy, and unemployment and underemployment are going to be huge issues. This leads me to what I am doing now, in my own small way. 19 years ago, a 7th day Adventist friend invited me to a "Shaklee meeting". I was amazed at the philosophy of the company making its products in harmony with Nature and Good Health. I decided to purchase some products from my friend. I didn't take any nutritional supplements, but I decided to do their 30 day program. I decided to taske some samples of their natural cleaning products. With them, I could make my own natural window cleaner for a penny, and an all purpose cleaner for 10 cents, and there were lots of other uses of these natural cleaners. I signed up for a tape program to learn more. I was amazed at the Natural Law philosophy of this Dr. Shaklee. I was amazed at how people created healthier lives Today, 19 years later, I spend about $1.50 a day using a nutritional supplement program and eat according to a more 7th day Adventist and Mennonite "More with Less" way of eating, and my health is much, much better. I still buy my natural cleaning products in concentrated form and make my own natural cleaners that I love for very little. This has led me to feel more of God's presence in Nature "Volume 1", and has really separated me more from the world and the hospital care system. At the time, I was working for the Feeding America West Michigan Gleaners Food Bank. I even worked with Dr. Roger Greenway at the seminary with setting up the food pantry. I make contributions to it occasionally in my parents name. The response to my talking about this approach to my wife and daughters and family members and friends and Christan Reformed people. They do not believe me. Even though I try to give the gift of my honest self, they do not believe me. If you give the gift of your honest self, and people don't believe you, the result is the same as if you were telling them something that isn't true. I had an uncle that began an Amway business in 1960 with Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel. He was like their 23rd distributor. He had an Amway business in his basement. I to this day do not understand the Amway business, but Amway has become a very large contributor to Calvin College and Seminary, and many other conservative christian organizations. I have decided to be someone who  makes "small" contributions. I have found in the founder of the Shaklee company, Dr. Shaklee, someone who helped me to develope a deeper love of God, and God's living presence in Nature, and someone who helped me to develope a reverent, intelligent, but simple christian lifesytle. Now this is very different from the way that the Shaklee company is today. Now the marketing focus is developing an income over $100,000 a year, and exotic trips, and extravagent lifestyles. But what I value is the developement of a perspective that a resurrected, living Jesus is also the Lord of heaven and earth, and I feel closer to him in using the natural products of the Shaklee company. It is my own "small" way of showing respect to Nature. But have no doubt that we are in the midst of severe natural changes, not to mention severe poltiical and social changes. I am going to continue to work a small Shaklee business to keep up my health, and to serve my Lord of Nature. I should really end this small epistle. I probably won't read too many replies. When it comes to now serving the Lord in the way I think I should, what other people think of me is none of my business. God is using me in a unique way that I never expected, and I trust that God is using others in unique and special ways also. God bless. From Arlington, MA - Mr. Jim Kramer