A Reflection: Our Place in Creation

This is at Erratic Rock State Natural Site. Clicking on the image will take you to an interactive panorama of the view.

This is a virtual reality photograph. Click on the image to open it, then click and drag to look around.

This is the view from Erratic Rock State Natural Site near McMinnville, Oregon. The large rock in the foreground originated in the northern Rocky Mountains, nowhere near this spot. It is the only rock of its type outside Canada, and was transported here during a massive Ice Age flood around 15 thousand years ago. Titanic floods washed down eastern Washington, scoured their way through the gorge, then filled the valley with water. The water was filled with debris including icebergs from the flood’s origin, some of which carried boulders. As the ice melted and the waters receded, this boulder remained, a silent testimony to the power and extent of the flood. The view from this point helps us appreciate the scale of the flood. As you look out over the valley, try to imagine the vast scale of this catastrophic event, the amount of water needed to fill the valley before you, the forces powerful enough transport a 90-ton boulder across hundreds of miles.

(This is actually only part of the view. To see the whole thing interactively, click and drag in the window that opens when you follow this link: Erratic Rock VR.)

As one stands there awed by the scale and power involved, remember that this is but a small event in the scale of the entire planet, a small puddle of water trickling from one spot to another. On the scale of the solar system, the puddle becomes a drop, and on the scale of the universe, the entire event becomes nothing. As awe inspiring as this ice age event is, it is inconsequential on the cosmic scale. As small as we may feel when faced with the enormity of this event, how much smaller we seem against the scale that dwarfs even that.

The same might be said for the timescale. As much as we marvel at structures that are ancient by the standards of humanity, perhaps even millions of years old, this is but a blink over the time of a 13+ billion year old cosmos.

Staring up at the stars at night, seeing the vast scale of both time and space, one cannot help but ask: Who are we, to imagine ourselves significant on such a stage? Our grandest constructions mere dust, entire civilizations mere flashes. Or, as David expressed it:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Psalm 8:3-4

This is why we are significant: because God, the creator of everything, cares for us. He cared enough to create us in His image, He cared enough to die for us, and now He cares enough to live within us.

To many who don’t know Him, the creator is an abstract, unfathomable entity. Even though He created us, it seems hard to believe our little existence would be worth His time when the rest of creation beckons. But this is why His incarnation is so meaningful. This is the ultimate truth of the creator acting in love, so identifying Himself with us that He was born, lived, and died as one of us. Yet though He completely identified with us, He was still the perfect source of life, exhibiting none of our flaws. Because of that, His death was unique, and ultimately undone.

The defeat of death demonstrated in the resurrection points to the power behind creation. It is a picture of the limited natural creation being overcome by the limitless power of the creator. Not a religious symbol, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a reality, a singularity that is the unseen personal gateway between our flawed nature and the one who defines flawlessness. Our creator stepped into our world to rescue us from a life dominated by temporary physical purposes, into a life determined by eternal meaning.

The result is less about living forever, than living a fulfilled life now. Not about avoiding some future punishment, but avoiding today’s pointlessness. Ultimately, we have worth because the one who created us loves us and declares us worthy.

No matter how small we may feel when standing awestruck under the starry canopy, we know there is value and meaning to our lives because the creator says there is, and He will lead us along the path to realize it.

So as you look out over the vast scale of that flood, know that you are supremely important.

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