Not so many years ago, my kids attached a prism to our living room window. They both knew what a prism does. As soon as it was in place, they began scouring the living room floor for…what? Yes, the rainbow. My wife is a teacher by training so spotting the rainbow isn’t enough. It must include an explanation; an explanation of the dispersion of light. The prism separates light into its constituent colors: ROY G BIV. You need a prism to see what’s contained within light. You need a prism to see what light is made of.
Maybe God has designed creation to be a prism. Creation disperses God’s glory and goodness so that we can see and experience the constituent colors of God’s glory and goodness. Creation helps us understand what it means that God is glorious and good.
A walk on the beach taking in a sunrise or sunset being soothed by the sounds of crashing waves is creation showing you something about God’s goodness and glory.
The intimacy of marital love. God created it to be a prism. It disperses his glory and goodness so that you see and experience his glory and goodness firsthand.
Picking and devouring strawberries fresh off the vine. It doesn’t just meet our need for nourishment, it’s pleasurable to eat! Picking and eating fresh strawberries disperses God’s glory and goodness so that when you bite down on that berry and the juices flow you actually taste and see that the Lord is good. God’s glory and goodness becomes less theoretical and whole lot more tangible.
The material world is a prism that helps us see and experience the constituent colors of God’s glory and goodness. The question is: as you engage with the material world, do you thank God for it?
C.S. Lewis remarks…
“I was standing today in the dark toolshed. The sun was shining outside and through the crack at the top of the door there came a sunbeam. From where I stood, that beam of light, with the specks of dust floating in it, was the most striking thing in the place. Everything else was almost pitch-black. I was seeing the beam, not seeing things by it. Then I moved so that the beam fell on my eyes. Instantly, the whole previous picture vanished. I saw no toolshed, and above all, no beam. Instead I saw, framed in the irregular cranny at the top of the door, green leaves moving on the branches of the tree outside, and beyond, 90 odd million miles away, the sun. Looking along the beam and looking at the beam are very different experiences.”
Lewis contrasts “looking at” the beam of light with “looking along” the beam of light. Looking at the beam of light in the toolshed is like experiencing a walk on the beach without being amazed at the God who created it. Looking along the beam of light in the toolshed is like picking and tasting strawberries and consciously reflecting on the God who made those berries and praising him for it.
That fact that God made a material world and put us in it to enjoy says something about how highly matter matters to him. Don’t refuse the gift. Embrace the gift while looking the giver in the eyes and saying “thank you!”