When my husband, Pete, was a young unsaved hippy traversing the world searching for the meaning of life, he camped beside Lake Malawi. Overnight he heard the sounds of the African animals roaring, grunting, screeching, bellowing and howling. At this point he had a life-changing encounter when he noted that the sounds blended into a massive animal orchestra and he realised there had to be a divine conductor overseeing them.
It is little surprise that an unsaved person can recognise the divine design in the created world. Paul wrote that: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Rom. 1:20 NLT).
We simply cannot exist on earth without coming to the conclusion that there is a God! Every people group can clearly observe God’s glory and majesty in the intricacies of creation, from the far-flung solar systems to the smallest microbe under magnification. Man is simply without any justification for not recognising and acknowledging God and being grateful for His gifts of food, clothing, shelter and life itself.
But while creation reveals God’s eternal power and divine attributes, it does not reveal the personal God. The essence of God could only be revealed by His Son who shared His divine attributes, His majesty and glory.
Paul declares that in the Son dwelt the fullness of absolute deity in His incarnate state (Col. 2:9). This word for “deity” (theotes) is different to that used in Rom. 1:20 (theiotes). (Theiotes speaks of the divine attributes and means ‘godhood’ or ‘divinity’ or ‘being godlike’ whilst theotes refers to the undivided and fullness of substance meaning ‘Godhead’). Paul is saying in Colossians that Jesus wasn’t just reflecting divinity and God’s eternal power like creation does: He WAS divinity and eternal power. Jesus was and is absolute and perfect God.
Pete observed the unity and divinity that is in the voice of God’s creatures, but Jesus magnanimously prayed for us to be a part of that unity that He has with God:
“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are” (John 17:9-11 NLT).