I delivered my mail to the Pewee Valley Post Office. I drove up to the exit from the parking area to the two-lane road that never wavered in its faithful path to the entrance to our sub-division. I looked to the right and left, needing to cross one lane safely and merge into the opposite with an equal outcome of safety. Judging the speed of the vehicles and how I could go across one lane and slip in behind another car approaching from the right with no danger to myself or the car approaching from the left, my perceptive faculties seemed intact and were coordinated with my motor skills without any sense of alarm. With the amount of pressure on the accelerator to achieve the amount of thrust that I had learned was needed in this vehicle, I successfully moved across one lane, navigated with virtually perfect momentum, and angled into the second lane and followed the line of cars now in front of me to the entrance to my subdivision that still was where it had been for the past quarter of a century. This progression in perfect safety, with no alarm to other drivers, no dangers to any of the cars on the road, with virtually omniscient predictability was truly amazing. It will not make news but it is testimony to the intelligence, beauty, symmetry, creativity, immutability, and power of God both in creation and in present consistency.
Even in a fallen world, where thorns and thistles infest the ground and the natural world seemingly conspires against our comfort, a world that groans, having been subjected to vanity by God himself until the revelation of the sons of God (Romans 8:18-22), we find humanity culpable for not seeing and glorifying his “eternal power and Godhead” through the things that are made (Romans 1:20). Ever since the creation of the world, from its unfallen state in the time of Adam, until now in this groaning world, God’s invisible attributes are clearly seen. As we follow the symmetry and immutable relationships established in creation, we will move on in the maturity of our perceptions connected with the mandate to subdue the earth.
Through careful attention given and obedience paid to laws of nature, we have discovered the relation of fuel, gear-symmetry, torque, and acceleration. We obey them; they work. Since the laws of nature consist of the present manifestation of divine attributes through the things that are made, everyday life as well as extended and highly detailed scientific investigation function successfully when they function consistently with God’s “laws of nature” manifest in his present power of upholding the universe. His moment-by-moment sustaining of all of being outside of himself is immutably consistent with the attributes and power manifest in the first week of creation. Because he is unchanging, perfect concurrence exists between the first utterance of his words of creation, his careful forming of his image-bearers initially for the dust, and his present upholding of “all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3).
As I entered without incident and with ease into the proper lane of traffic, I found grounds for praise to God–both for safety and for the marvelous security of predictability that reflects his infinite intelligence. Quickly, the Lord enabled me to make some connection between the present order and our future functioning in that world that has been delivered from “its bondage to corruption,” the sphere in which Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us, the “new heaven and the new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13). I thought about how both capacity and willingness will be brought to a state of perfection so that all around me will bring a deep satisfaction, unfrustrated by the distractions of corruption, and how I will see, taste, handle, gaze upon and contemplate nothing that will not evoke praise to God. I will think, “It is for this very thing that God created me” (2 Corinthians 5:5). And that now [that is, then], I live in the presence and with the consciousness, not just of the earnest of the Spirit, but the ever-flowing procession of the Spirit between the Father and the Son that constitutes our eternal dwelling as a place of love and willing, joyful praise.
Dr. Tom Nettles is widely regarded as one of the foremost Baptist historians in America. He joined the faculty of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary after teaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he was professor of Church History and chairman of that department. Previously, he taught at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. He received a B.A. from Mississippi College and an M.Div. and Ph.D. from Southwestern. In addition to writing numerous journal articles and scholarly papers, Dr. Nettles has authored or edited nine books including By His Grace and For His Glory, Baptists and the Bible, and Why I Am a Baptist.
Courses taught: Historical Theology of the Baptists, Historical Theology Overview, Jonathan Edwards & Andrew Fuller.