Romans 1:20 was a verse I had to memorise in high school. I’m afraid I had to look it up to use it for this post. Memory verses were usually only effective on me if they had a song to go with them. Anyway, it’s a verse Christians often use to justify God sending people to Hell. The wonder of creation means that no one has an excuse for not believing in God. His character and power are evident in nature:
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Righto then, lets examine creation, and thereby discover God’s invisible qualities, etc.
I can’t deny that nature is beautiful. I look into a starry sky or see a cute wallaby or a pretty mountain and I feel emotion. I feel beauty. I feel tiny and insignificant. I struggle with the idea there is no intelligence behind it. Grace, love, unity, are all possible feelings that go with this. These may be attributed to God, if you’re into that shit.
But I can’t ignore the harsher side of nature, the fact that it’s a fight for survival. Stephen Fry has nailed this:
“I love how people watch David Attenborough, Discovery Chanel type thing where you see the absolute, phenomenal, majestic complexity and bewildering beauty of nature and you stare at it, and then somebody next to you goes: “[wags finger] And how can you say there’s no God? Look at that.” And then five minutes later you’re looking at the life cycle of a parasitic worm, whose job is to bury itself in the eyeball of a little lamb and eat the eyeball from the inside while the lamb dies in horrible agony. Then I say “Where is your God now?” You can’t just say there’s a God because the world is beautiful. You have to account for bone cancer in children. You have to account for the fact that almost all animals in the wild live under stress, with not enough to eat, and will die violent and bloody deaths. There is not any way that you can just choose the nice bits, and say that means there is a God and ignore the true fact of what nature is. The wonder of nature must be taken in it’s totality.”
Nature is about survival of the fittest, it’s about competition and fighting to the death. It’s about the lion ripping the zebra to shreds. It’s about wolves stealing the bunny-rabbit’s babies for dinner. If “creation” is meant to be showing God’s character as Romans 1:20 says, then God really is capricious, cruel, and sadistic. There is no love in the wild. No grace. No mercy. Therefore God cannot have these qualities if Romans 1:20 is true. So Christians, do not quote that verse at me and pretend it supports your case, you’re really just confirming my own view. It gives me a pretty good excuse not to believe.