Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Book of Nature—Word of God

Frank's photo of an Egyptian oasis

Saint Anthony of Egypt was the leader of a group of hermits who sought out the peace of the 4th century Egyptian desert to follow God and in so doing began Christian monasticism. The sayings of the great church fathers and mothers of the desert are preserved for us to this day. Here is one of Anthony's sayings from Thomas Merton's collection, The Wisdom of the Desert.

A certain philospher asked St. Anthony: Father, how can you be so happy when you are deprived of the consolation of books? Anthony replied: My book, O philospher, is the nature of created things and any time I want to read the words of God, the book is before me.

Many people find themselves close to God in nature. Has creation ever been the Word of God for you? Is there a downside to relying on the book of nature as the Word of God?


  • At 1/24/2006 4:32 PM, Anonymous William said…

    I guess it depends upon which part of the natural world you want to use as the book of God.

    I suspect that St. Anthony meant the cycle of the seasons, the exquisite beauty of flowers, the grandeur of a sunset, spring rain, etc.

    Did St. Anthony mean the destruction of something on the level of Katrina? What about survival of the fittest? Drought? Plague?

    Are these apt metaphors for who God really is and how He reveals Himself? If this is His creation then it would seem the answer is yes. As mortals we cannot really fathom God. Is he the god of the storm? Or the god of renewal?

    Some Eastern faiths believe that God cannot be separated from His creation. The argument is that if God made the universe and mankind then the sin nature of man must also be God's creation. That the totality of God must also emcompass the Dark Side. If sin is the fault of man, then it was a creation not of God and he is therefore not in charge of everything. This seems to put a limtation on a God we see as all-powerful.

    If nothing else it makes an interesting argument.


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