Don’t scientists, believers, nonbelievers, liberals, and conservatives alike all rejoice in the splendor of creation? Don’t we all wonder about stars that shine lightyears away? About the depths of the ocean swarming with fluorescent fish and star-shaped creatures? About the hummingbird whose wings flap in song while she drinks nectar to satiety? Not only do we experience joy and wonder as we contemplate creation, we also have an innate longing to discover. We long to discover the mysteries of creation and thus uncover the mysteries of God. And this, I’d argue, is true for most people—regardless of their religious belief, nonbelief, or affiliation.
Why is it important to recognize this universal appreciation of nature? God is an artist, and creation is his artwork.[i] My cousin, who was a seminarian at the time, described this idea to me years ago while we walked along the coast of Maine, amid misty harbor air and abundant wildflowers. Just as we can learn about artists from their work, we also can learn about God from his creation. How exciting, then, that so many people are captivated by nature; so many spend their lives studying creation. For many, evangelization might begin with these moments of joy and wonder.
[i] Robert Barron, “God as Artist,” Angelicum 80, no. 2 (February 1, 2003): 403–16.