PSALMS: The Creation, by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Prayer Book of the Bible

The Creation Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The scripture proclaims God to be the Creator of Heaven and Earth.  Many psalms summon us to bring him honor, praise, and thanksgiving.  There is, however, no single psalm which speaks only of the creation.  It is always the God who has already revealed himself to his people in his word who is said to be known as the Creator of the world.  Because God has spoken to us, because God’s name has been revealed to us, we can believe in him as the Creator.  Otherwise we could not know him.  The creation is a picture of the power and the faithfulness of God, which he has demonstrated to us in his revelation in Jesus Christ.  We worship the Creator who has revealed himself as the Redeemer.

Psalm 8 praises the name of God and his gracious act to man as the crown of his work.  But that is incomprehensible on the basis of the creation alone.  Psalm 19 cannot speak of the splendor of the movement of the Heavenly bodies without at the same time mentioning in abrupt and unexpected insertions the much greater splendor of the revelation of God’s law and the call to repentance.  Psalm 29 lets us wonder at the frightful power of God in the thunder, and yet its goal lies in the power, the blessing, and the peace which God sends to his people.  Psalm 104 fixes our eyes on the fullness of the work of God, and sees it at the same time as nothing before him whose honor alone remains eternal and who finally must blot out sin.

The creation psalms are not lyrical poems, but instruction for the people of God in which, coming to know the grace of salvation, they are led to know and to honor the Creator in the world.

The creation serves the believer, and everything created by God is good if received with thanksgiving.  But we are able to give thanks only for that which stands in harmony with the revelation of God in Jesus Christ.  The creation with all its gifts is there for the sake of Jesus Christ.  So we thank God for the grandeur of his creation with, in, and through Jesus Christ, to whom we belong.

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