Christian History Institute

Sharing our story of faith across the ages

items tagged with creation

In Context

  1. All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made.
    Francis of Assisi (1181–1226), in “Canticle of the Sun.”

Magazine Issues

  • Issue 119: The Wonder of Creation

    The Wonder of Creation: how Christians have responded to God’s “book of nature”


13 Sept 2016

About the cover

by the editors | Issue 119

We inadvertently left off the full credit for the cover image. We should have credited the Smithsonian and Art Resource:

Albert Bierstadt, Among the Sierra Nevada, California, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC / Art Resource, NY

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29 Aug 2016

Something here sounds familiar

by Loren Wilkinson | Issue 119

POPE FRANCIS wrote me a letter last year—and he wrote you one too! 

The pope’s encyclical Laudato Si’ may well turn out to be the most important in a long line of papal writings on Catholic social teaching. More deliberately than any previous encyclical, this declaration is addressed not just to clergy, or to Catholics, or even to Christians. Rather, Francis says, “I wish to address every person living on this planet.” And perhaps no encyclical has immediately been noticed, read, and commented on by so many people, both inside and outside...

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29 Aug 2016

God’s Grandeur

by Gerard Manley Hopkins | Issue 119

Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God. 
    It will flame out, like shining from shook foil; 
    It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil 
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod? 
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod; 
    And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;     
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil 
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.  

And for all this, nature is never spent; 
    There lives the dearest freshness deep down things; 
And though the last lights off...

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29 Aug 2016


by the editor | Issue 119

Christians have talked about God’s creation as an inspiration and a responsibility for 2,000 years. All the books, people, and movements won’t fit in this timeline, but here are some highlights from this issue and (at the bottom) some world events for context.

natural philosophers and scientists     mystics and poets     monastics and theologians     famous publications     communal societies     environmental activists and stewards


Origen (c. 184–254)

Antony (c. 251–356)

Pachomius (c. 292–348)

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29 Aug 2016

Getting back to the land

by Ellen F. Davis | Issue 119

kentucky farmHOW DO WE CARE FOR God’s creation? Christians have answered this question in various ways throughout church history. You’ll read about many of them in the coming pages.

One contemporary Christian response to this question comes from what has been called the “new agrarian movement,” largely based in the writings of Wendell Berry. Berry defined it as follows: “It is not so much a philosophy as a practice, an attitude, a loyalty and a passion—all based in close connection with the land. It results in a sound local economy in which producers...

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29 Aug 2016

Cows and pigs, not leprechauns: Celts and creation

by Garry Crites | Issue 119

According to a medieval legend, when the Gaelic Milesians arrived in Ireland from Iberia (modern Spain) they were met by druids (priests) of the Tuatha Dé Danann, an ancient tribe that had inhabited the island for millennia. The druids called up a mighty sea storm; the Milesian bard Amergin responded with the chant: “I am the wind on the sea / I am the ocean wave / I am the sound of the sea / I am the bull in seven fights/ I am an eagle on a rocky cliff / I am a beam from the sun. *hellip;” 

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26 Aug 2016

Editor’s Note

by Jennifer Woodruff Tait | Issue 119

Jenn's farm
I WRITE THIS editor’s letter looking out over eight acres of rolling Kentucky bluegrass, a barn, a chicken shed, and a few different breeds of chickens: Barred Rocks, Brahmas, Buff Orpingtons. Somewhere in the meadow there are 26 goats, also of varying breeds: Saanens, Boers, Kikos, and our herd sire, a Myotonic (yes, that is the fainting goat breed; no, I have not yet seen him faint).

A little off to the right is a quarter acre’s worth of garden, which in late May is producing spinach, lettuce, radishes, turnips, scallions, and mint. The...

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26 Aug 2016

Did you know?

by the editors | Issue 119

Reading God’s Book of Nature

Teatise on science

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven,
the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea
around the old eternal   rocks.

    —Attributed to Patrick
(c. 373–c. 466)

He who longs always after God, he sees Him: for God is in all things.…God then is mingled with everything, maintaining their nature. —John of Damascus (c. 675–749)

Throughout the entire...

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26 Aug 2016

All life has its roots in me

by Hildegard of Bingen | Issue 119

Hildegard writingAs wisdom is personified in Proverbs 8, so Hildegard personified the fire of God’s Spirit in this excerpt from her Book of Divine Works.

 I, the highest and fiery power, have kindled every spark of life, and I emit nothing that is deadly. I decide on all reality. With my lofty wings I fly above the globe: With wisdom I have rightly put the universe in order. I, the fiery life of divine essence, am aflame beyond the beauty of the meadows, I gleam in the waters, and I burn in the sun, moon, and stars. … I awaken everything to life. The air...

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26 Aug 2016

Canticle of the Creatures

by Francis of Assisi | Issue 119

Francis of Assisi

Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
all praise is Yours, all glory,
all honor and all blessings.

To you alone, Most High, 
do they belong, and no 
mortal lips are worthy to 
pronounce Your Name.

Praised be You, my Lord, 
with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun, 
who is the day 
through whom You give us light. 
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor,
of You Most High, he bears the likeness.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon
and the stars; in the heavens you have made them
bright, precious and fair.


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26 Aug 2016

The heavens declare the glory of God

by Glenn E. Myers | Issue 119

Greek monasteryPSALM 19 PROCLAIMS, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge” (Psalm 19:1–2). Since the beginning of the church, Christians have affirmed this insight and joined together with the creation pictured in Psalm 19 to worship God. 

Many of those vibrant believers were monks and nuns who set their lives apart for prayer and memorizing Scripture; but these monastic Christians also tended the garden of creation where the Lord had...

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26 Aug 2016

Cosmic worship, sanctified matter, transfigured vision

by Kathleen A. Mulhern | Issue 119

John of Damascus“GRACE IS EVERYWHERE.”

So testified the dying priest in Georges Bernanos’s The Diary of a Country Priest (1936), a gritty, tragic tale of an ordinary man’s journey to God. Though deprived of the church’s final sacrament, the priest had no concerns, for he found it all around him in the “light and dazzling beauty” of common roads and kicked-up dust. 

Freed slave Sojourner Truth (c. 1797–1883) also saw something extraordinary in the ordinary, writing, “’Twas God all around me. … An’ then the whole world grew bright, an’ the trees they waved...

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26 Aug 2016

A cathedral, a retreat, a challenge

by Russell E. Richey | Issue 119

All glory to God in the sky ,
And peace upon earth be restored!
O Jesus, exalted on high,
Appear our omnipotent Lord!
Who, meanly in Bethlehem born ,
Didst stoop to redeem a lost race ,
Once more to thy creatures return,
And reign in thy kingdom of grace.

When thou in our flesh didst appear,
All nature acknowledged thy birth ;
Arose the acceptable year ,
And heaven was opened on earth :
Receiving its Lord from above,
The world was united to bless
The giver of concord and love,
The Prince and the author of peace .

O wouldst thou again be made...

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14 Feb 2003

Thunderstorms & Flying Spiders

by Stephen J. Nichols | Issue 77

PURITANS WERE “people of one Book,” right? Not Jonathan Edwards. He was a person of two books: the Bible and the book of nature. Nature was the showplace of God’s glory and the reflection of his beauty.

In his Personal Narrative, the great theologian recalls of his days as a young Christian in love with God: “I often used to sit and view the moon, for a long time; and so in the daytime, spent much time in viewing the clouds and sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things.” Hardly the austere Puritan.

To be fair to the Puritans,...

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15 Nov 2002

Microscopic Magnificence

by David F. Coppedge | Issue 76

DURING THE LAST YEARS of Antony van Leeuwenhoek’s (say it “la ´ vn hook´") life, dignitaries from all over Europe, including Russian czar Peter the Great, King James II, and Frederick II of Prussia, visited his shop in Delft, Holland, to see the wonders revealed by his microscopes. But the Dutch cloth merchant seemed unaffected, retaining the delight of discovery that had first led him, at age 40, to focus a new lens on a world formerly unseen.

Until his death at 91, Leeuwenhoek spent his days grinding pinhead-sized lenses and peering...

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15 Nov 2002

Interior Design

by James D. Smith III | Issue 76

NICOLAUS COPERNICUS'S re-mapping of the macrocosm wasn’t the only sixteenth-century breakthrough on a scientific frontier. Equally stunning was a bold trek into the microcosmic world of our physical selves.

This voyage, led by the anatomist Andreas Vesalius (1514–1564), seemed to bring humankind into a new and intimate knowledge not just of our physical being, but of our spiritual being as well.

Born in Brussels, Vesalius likely received his elementary education from the Brethren of the Common Life, a Roman Catholic spiritual association...

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Blog Posts


  • Christian History Magazine #119: The Wonder of Creation $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #119: The Wonder of Creation

    • Magazine
    • 2016
    • 43 Pages

    From the monks and mystics who found in nature divine inspiration for moving poetry and art to the hermits and activists who felt the call to live in harmony with the same, you’ll meet a variety of inspiring saints. So head outside to your favorite reading spot to enjoy this uniquely beautiful issue of Christian History magazine.

  • Christian History Magazine- Catch Up Bundle $50.00

    Christian History Magazine- Catch Up Bundle

    • Magazine
    • 2011-2016
    • Christian History Institute

    This special bundle includes printed copies of all 21 issues and our two guides. Topics covered include the Making of the KJV, Early African Christianity, Persecution in the Modern era, Heaven, Martin Luther, and much more.

  • Christian History Magazine #107: Debating Darwin $5.00

    Christian History Magazine #107: Debating Darwin

    • Magazine
    • 2013
    • 43 Pages
    • Christian History Institute

    In the 19th century, Christians responded to the challenges of Darwinian evolution in many and diverse ways—from hostility to reconciliation.

  • Reasonable Doubt $11.99

    Reasonable Doubt

    • DVD
    • 2007
    • All

    Discover the fascinating modern science, unknown to Charles Darwin, that is shaking the scientific and academic establishment's "holy grail" of biologic evolution theory.