The intersection and unification of all things under the Lordship of Jesus begins with a stable, orderly creation. God’s works or activity in the world can be principally found in the arenas of history and science.  When the biblical writers—most often in the poetic books— call upon people to “tell of all His wonderful acts”[1] the command is premised upon observation of divine intervention in human affairs as well as exultation about creation.  Nations like Assyria are considered a “work of God” as much as are the heavens.[2]

“Telling” is an often cited response to God’s works.  The writer himself declares that he will speak of God’s acts.[3] The command “to tell” is repeated often.[4] Songs are to be sung in response.[5] The directive is given to His creation “everywhere in His dominion to give Him praise.”[6] Furthermore, the earth is said to be “satisfied” with God’s works while the heavens “pour forth praise.”[7] Even God Himself is found “rejoicing in His own works.”[8] People not necessarily linked to Israel are said to “declare your works” which men have “extolled in song . . . that all men might know.”[9] Humans see God’s work and all He has done for them.[10]

Within obvious pointers to truth, mystery is a central component of God’s work.  “You cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things”[11] is a statement made in the context of comprehending the wind’s origin or the intricacies of the human body.  Scripture rhetorically asks, “Who can straighten what he has made crooked?” and plainly states, “Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning” [‘what goes on under the sun’].[12]

A thorough investigation of life should bring people to conclusions of one kind or another.[13] Indeed, humans have been given rule over the works of God’s hands.[14] People are called to “come and see,” “ponder,” and “meditate on” God’s works.[15] Three Psalms in particular mark a repetitious response to the Almighty’s labor on behalf of humanity.  Psalm 107 six times recounts the benefits of “God’s wonderful works for men” supporting those in and outside of the covenant community.[16] Psalm 111 remembers the greatness, honor, power, and justice of God’s works.  Psalm 145 demonstrates human and creational response to God’s works while indicating that His involvement shows His compassion and love toward all He has made.

Beyond peoples’ response to creation is the command to “remember” and “not forget” God’s works.[17] Some “show no regard for” divine activity: in fact, “in spite of God’s works they [do] not believe.”[18] So, unbelievers adopt the works of other nations, being prostituted and defiled in the process.[19]

Even all human work is understood as accomplished by God; everything comes from His hand.[20] Moreover, the work of human hands is dependent upon what God gives from His hand causing the Psalmist to ask for God’s blessing on the work of human hands.[21] God’s works are called “perfect,” “awesome,” “unparalleled,” “great,” as well as “faithful and just.”  For those who believe, God’s works produce gladness.[22]

Humanly speaking, work done apart from appreciation of God is “meaningless.”[23] Judgment of human activity, prompted by God’s anger, is predicated upon the injunction that God will “repay every person according to what they have done.”[24] People work for enjoyment, sometimes motivated by envy, the results of which are in God’s hands.[25] Whatever one does must be done in life, because death is final.[26]

So people must take seriously God’s activity.  “It was your own eyes that saw all these great things the LORD has done.”[27] The existential experience of the observer is crucial to mark the objective reality of action.  Only revelation brings understanding.[28] Human activity apart from divine proclamation “amounts to nothing,” idols (e.g., models or theories which set themselves up against God) “are but wind and confusion.”

Applications for “the works of His hands” may suggest the following:

(1)  develop a theology of contentment with God;

(2)  God is personally interested in and interactive with His creation;

(3)  all humans can personally experience God’s personableness;

(4)  reaction to God’s works is a response to God—either for or against Him;

(5)  humans are given the authority to rule God’s works (e.g., manage and conserve);

(6)  science should point first to our need of God, second to new information;

(7)  discovery does not mean full disclosure—we will always be limited in our understanding of the world;

(8)  believers are commanded to “tell” of God’s works, hence the responsibility to study science;

(9)  all human work is predicated upon God’s works—scientists cannot function without them;

(10)    “remembering” God’s works is our responsibility in study and test-taking;

(11)    science labs help humans to see God’s works for themselves;

(12)    motivations for doing science may or may not be God honoring;

(13)    science is a marker of death—people had better pay attention to the world’s wonders now in order to bow before Him then.

The Biblical Doctrine of Creation “The Works of Your Hands”: A Corollary Study Suggesting Markers of Truth. Originally written for the course “Faith and Learning” at Moody Bible Institute, August, 2004. Dr. Mark Eckel is Dean of Undergraduate Studies and Professor of Old Testament at Crossroads Bible College, Indianapolis, IN.

[1] 1 Chronicles 16:9

[2] Isaiah 19:25; Psalm 19:1.

[3] Psalm 9:1; 71:17; 145:4.

[4] Psalm 26:7; 105:2; Ps 145:5.

[5] Psalm 107:22.

[6] Psalm 103:22.

[7] Psalm 104:13; Psalm 19:1, 2.

[8] Psalm 104:31.

[9] Psalm 64:9; 75:1; cf. 1 Chr 16:24; “song” Job 36:24; “know” Job 37:7.

[10] Joshua 24:31; Judges 2:7, 10.

[11] Ecclesiastes 11:5; cf. 3:11.

[12] Ecclesiastes 7:13; “meaning” 8:17.

[13] Ecclesiastes 8:9.

[14] Psalm 8:6.

[15] “See” Psalm 46:8; 66:5; “ponder” Job 37:14; “meditate on” Psalm 77:12.

[16] Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 22, 24, 31.

[17] Psalm 105:5; “not forget” 78:7, 11; 106:13, 22.

[18] Psalm 28:5; “do not believe” 78:32.

[19] Psalm 106:35, 39.

[20] Isaiah 26:12; 1 Chronicles 29:14, 16.

[21] Deuteronomy 2:7; 8:17-18; 16:15; Psalm 90:17.

[22] “Perfect” (Job 37:16), “awesome” (Ps 66:3), “unparalleled” (Ps 86:8), “great” (Ps 92:5), as well as “faithful and just” (Ps 111:7); “gladness” (Ps 92:4).

[23] Ecclesiastes 1:14; 2:11, 17.

[24] “Activity” Ecc 3:17; 12:14; “anger” cf. 2 Chr 34:25; “what they have done” Prov 24:12.

[25] “Enjoyment” Ecc 3:22; 9:7; “envy,” 4:4; “in God’s hands,” 9:1.

[26] Ecclesiastes 9:10.

[27] Deuteronomy 11:7.

[28] Isaiah 41:29.