Written by Vicky Ng, Art by Christine Hwang
“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4) Originally written in Hebrew, the word “consider” in this verse could also be translated as “see” or “look upon”, implying David is “observing” or comtemplating the sky and the heavenly bodies. In other words, David was both lifting up his head to look at macroscopic objects and also carefully examining the work of God’s fingers, the things God created with microscopic detail. David’s observation did not stop at the level of craftsmanship, he was able to connect to God’s mind and realize that God did all of these wonderful things solely for us, the son of man. That is the true meaning of observation.
Out of the five sense organs, observation no doubt largely relies on our vision. In fact 70% of all sensory receptors are located in the eyes, and our brain devotes 40% of its surface tissues (cortex) to process visual information. However, many of us only see without considering the underlying truth. While “videre” means truth in latin, its original root means to see, to perceive and to comprehend. Our English word “video” is derived from this word. Therefore observation is not really seeing if it does not tie seeing and truth together.
Issac Newton who discovered the law of gravity had a craftman build a sophisticated model with planets revolving around the sun. When his atheist friend saw it, he was so amazed and insisted that a genius must have made the model. When Newton told him that nobody made it, his friend found it hard to believe. His friend simply could not accept that something that intricate could just come about without someone actually spending time and energy to design and craft it. Yet this same friend stubbornly believed the earth came about by accident and chance!
In the same way, how could billions of us coexist with countless planets and stars without anything colliding into each other? How could the sun come out day after day to give us energy for photosynthesis (the light induced process that plants use to make food), produce vitamin D (which helps us absorb calcium so our bones can stay strong), keep us warm (through infrared wavelengths) and awake (by suppressing the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin), bring color to our lives (through light which is absorbed or reflected by objects to display color), and keep things clean (ultra-violet rays destroy bacteria)? If everything evolves to survive, what does the sun gain with its services?
David may not be a highly-educated scientific scholar like Issac Newton, but he was an Israelite King, a fierce warrior, a harpist and a shepherd boy, and shall I add, a naturalist, one who has a keen mind and a contemplative heart when observing nature. When he laid his eyes on all of nature’s wonders, he knew God had created all of them for humankind. He realized most of the objects found in nature are much bigger than us and are out of our control, yet they are formed to serve us. The result of this observation is a sense of humility and gratitude, putting us in our rightful place before the throne of a mighty God. We are neither too low, because a great God values us and created all of this for us to enjoy, nor too high, because we are too small and weak to make any of this happen.
While the Apostle Paul commanded us not to conform to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of the spirit (Romans 12:2), he continued to instruct us, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you” (Romans 12:3). Next time you feel small, look up to the sky and take a deep breath. Your Heavenly Father has hand-made all of these things for you to enjoy and to have life. Take a deeper look; the message of love is written all over nature. The truth is right around us. Do you see what I see?