by Chuck Summers
[Ed. note: This article is part of our series of weekly reflections, called Deep Down Things, published on Wednesdays.]
On U2’s 2000 album All You Can’t Leave Behind, there is a song called “Walk On.” In this song Bono sings about “a place that has to be believed to be seen.” Some might think this is just a clever turn on the more usual phrase, “I’ll have to see it to believe it,” but actually U2’s song touches on a very important truth. Some things really do have to be believed in before they can be seen.
This is especially true in the spiritual realm, but it is my conviction that it is also true in the physical realm. Seeing God in creation requires such believing.
The story is told that after WWII these words were found etched on the walls of a Jewish concentration camp: “I believe in the sun when it’s not shining, I believe in love when I feel it not, I believe in God when He is silent.” These words remind us that we don’t always have to see or feel something in order to believe in its presence. They also remind me of the biblical definition of faith found in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
The writer of Hebrews goes on to say, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (v. 3). The affirmation that God is the “Maker of heaven and earth” is a faith statement. It is not something that can be proved using the scientific method. Instead it is something I trust to be true.
It is this believing that enables me to see God in that which he has made. It is this believing that opens my eyes to the wonder and majesty of the Creator found throughout his creation. Some fail to see God in Creation because they think they must see him there before they will believe. What they don’t understand is that Bono is right. Some things have to be believed to be seen.
Dr. Chuck Summers is a pastor and photographer. His work has appeared in numerous national magazines and calendars, and he has published three books: Kentucky: Unbridled Spirit and Beauty; A Year in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park; and A Year in the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. You can view more of Chuck’s work at www.agpix.com/csummers.
This reflection and the photo of Rowdy Lake in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado was originally published on Seeing Creation.