Providence Today: The Beauty of Nature’s God

Speaker 1:
Welcome again to Providence today. We’re at the National Constitution Center here in Philadelphia, and we’re standing right by the Pennsylvania Liberty tree that the Providence forum had the joy of helping to plant some years ago. If you look at it, you can see, it seems to be very happy here. It’s growing pretty high up into the heavens. And as we think about the idea of the beauty of nature seen in the trees, it reminds us that Washington, our founding father was very conscious about God’s role in nature and the beauty of God and multiple names that actually he uses to describe God. You know, you think about a diamond, it has many facets, and you see the light reflecting in different ways. In the era in which Washington lived, following the great preachers of his day. There was a desire not to use the same name for God, again, in the same context when you’re talking about him.

Speaker 1:
And so we can find Washington using various rich names for the Lord. In fact, these have been assembled and counted. There’s something like almost 90 names that are distinct that Washington used for God. You can find them all listed in Sacred Fire the book that I wrote on Washington’s faith, George Washington Sacred Fire. But a few examples, obviously, it’s the name god, it’s the name creator, the name Lord, the divine author of our blessed religion, the benign father, the word Providence with a capital P sometimes for God. There are many names and they’re beautiful, but I want to focus on the name creator. The reason that’s interesting is that Washington was invited to join the American Philosophical Society. That was one of the groups that Benjamin Franklin started. It still exists and it’s a prestigious group. And when he was invited, he responded with a letter of gratitude and he said, as a farmer, I am so grateful to be able to study the beauty, the exquisite character of the creation, the work of the creator.

Speaker 1:
So that name creator and creation was really precious to Washington. As a farmer, he loved to see new crops grow. He planted all sorts of new plants to decorate Mount Vernon, and to study how they would develop. So he actually saw himself first and foremost as a farmer, more than a statesman, more than a president, it’s what he always wanted to do because he loved creation and he loved the beautiful work of the creator. That brings us to our own experience today. When you’re walking through the world and you see a majestic sunset or a snow capped mountain, or the ocean with its beautiful waves crashing, or a flower blossoming, or a beautiful piece of fruit that you see growing on a tree, are you able to stop and look at it? Not only as a natural beauty, but to see in it, the artist who created that beauty, the creator behind it, the creator is the source of every good gift.

Speaker 1:
He’s a source of every blessing and our founding fathers wanted to emphasize that. So we think again about the Declaration of Independence. We are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When our founders agreed on this unanimous Declaration of Independence, they saw the creator as the one who had put within them that sense of dignity and the beautiful things of life, the beauty of life, the beauty of the pursuit of happiness, the beauty of wanting to have freedom and all that the liberty gives us. So, one way we celebrate our founding is to stop and look at this beautiful country, with all the providential blessings from sea to shining sea and say, Lord, this is your work. This is your handy work. We praise you not only for the freedom that we have, but for the majesty of beautiful trees like our liberty tree or the sun that you remember that Benjamin Franklin saw in the chair where Washington was sitting at the Constitutional Convention.

Speaker 1:
He said, now I have the happiest to know it’s not a setting sun, but a rising sun. So a great way to begin every day is you see the sun rising, just thank God, the creator for the beauty of the world that he’s put us in to remember how Washington loved creation and how all of our founders said, we are created by God. That sunrise Franklin was saying as a creator of a new government, under a constitution, we are creating a new beginning under the work of creation. God has given these things to us and we should be pursuing the happiness of a heart that comes from having religious liberty to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. Well, this is Providence today. Thanks for being part of this study with us. We hope you’ll look at other of our special presentations and make sure you go online and learn more about the Providence forum, Providence forum.org. God bless. And again, this is Providence today. [00:06:07]

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