The Temple of Creation
Prominent theologians argue that God built a temple for himself, more beautiful than anything mankind could even dream of when he created the world as his ultimate resting place.
He sculpted his holy planet not with bricks and mortar but with the beauty of the natural world. Then populated his temple with an astonishing range of animals and topped it off with humankind to look after the animals and all creation.
God had long-term plans to release his Holy Spirit into the world, and those who accepted the gift of the spirit dwelling within them would become the living stones of his temple.
His divinity was to flow freely throughout all creation and not be encased within an artificial construction such as worshippers in the ancient near east temples believed.
Viewing the world as God’s temple resonates deeply with me; St Paul described this well in his letter to the early Christian community in Rome, where he said
Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of those who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse; for though they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools; and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. Romans 1:18-23 NRSV
St Paul says although God’s power is invisible, his divinity can be observed in the natural world, so people have no excuse not to recognise it. Although, there are those who, throughout time and still today, refuse to acknowledge God as the creator of heaven and earth and have chosen other Gods and idols to follow.
Although many other deities have been worshipped by mankind throughout time, the Book of Genesis describes a good God who made a good plan and a good world as a temple for himself.
The God of Abraham and of all creation is not a tyrant or dictator intent on imprisoning or overpowering his people. He longs to work through us and with us to build his temple and share his glory with us. He wants to work directly with you and me to bring about the fullness of his purpose for creation.
Of course, there are many things we cannot improve upon in the world: the weather, skies and oceans etc. But the work of Christians today is to help bring order to God’s creation by taking small incremental steps to make the community around us a better place to dwell and flourish. We achieve this as we share our knowledge of Jesus and demonstrate his grace to those we encounter daily.
Although the world has been corrupted in many ways, it was renewed and restored through Jesus. Because of this, we, too, can be renewed in our creator’s image and shine his graciousness and truth into the world around us.