June 26, 2023
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
In the movie Inception, the characters delve so deeply into the world of sleep that they no longer know when they’re awake or dreaming. In order to stay grounded in reality, they carry a ‘totem;’ something constant, fixed, known and unchanging, from the physical world. This constant will tell them if what they see is real, or a product of their imagination.
With reality being questioned all around us, we too are desperate for a Constant of our own to discern what’s true from what’s false. We live in an age where acceptance of objective truth is its own endangered species. Artificial intelligence now mimics human image, thought, and art at a pace faster than ethics can regulate. Emotion drives how we define ourselves with far greater force than hard-wired biology. Even personhood is put aside in order to manifest fantasies of what we wish we could be – mammal, fish or fowl, and we will pay any amount or suffer any pain to escape responsibility for what we actually are. Having stolen God’s divine conversation at the formation of the world, ‘let us re-make man in our image’ has become the mantra of the day, and self-deception runs deep.
This passage from Romans tells us that our all-loving Creator God is that Constant, and the world he’s made based on his own wisdom grounds us in the reality we need to navigate such an unstable world (Proverbs 3:10-20). In the big picture, the passage invites us to consider God’s world and know that the heavens are telling of God’s glory. His sunrise every morning attests to His reliability, and the seasons speak to his faithfulness to provide. The inky cloak of night, pierced by tiny twinkling pinholes visible from millions of miles away, speaks of the vastness of his authority.
In the more mundane things of life, we peer into the mirror to perform the most pedestrian acts – brushing our teeth, some shaving, some making up, others searching for fine lines and growing grays… but we are also beholding the image of God stamped uniquely on our faces, our bodies, our sex, even the times and geographic places we’ve been assigned by our sovereign God. Every inch of his universe proclaims not only that He is, but also speaks to His nature. He was, is, and always will be; He’s the Constant in the world He has made.
But creation also speaks of God’s judgment, because there is a great deceiver among us who exploits humanity’s willful blindness. Whether we look at the landscape or in the mirror, each of us is presented with two options; worship or rebel. Running on God’s wisdom that grounds us gives life; rejecting that wisdom brings destruction and death.
Appreciating our human distinctives as gifts and not curses, and seeing God’s world as it truly is, will continue to aggressively be challenged. Yet believing and proclaiming the Creator’s truth and sovereignty when all around us speaks lies, chaos, and destruction, may be one the greatest opportunities we have in our current climate. In this era of global deception then, every Bible believing community around the world must ask for the courage to speak loving truth and proclaim what’s real, trusting in faith that our Constant holds to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
Won’t you take this moment right now to ask for such boldness, and for the faith and assurance to believe that its granting – indeed – is real?
K.A. Ellis is the Director of The Edmiston Center at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta