The Native Americans lived very close to nature, had great respect for it and depended largely upon hunting for their food. Their concept of the “Great Spirit” and reverence for the natural world is commendable but it is very animistic at best. There are cultures and spiritual beliefs the world over that secures their mind set and actions only in the natural world. The failure to recognize the God of the Bible as the designer and power of the natural world has vested itself as a cardinal problem for man. The problem of getting beyond ourselves and what is seen around us remains our greatest tragedy.
These problems existed in Bible times also. In fact, in Acts 17:22-28, this picture unfolds as Paul gave answer to the superstition of an “Unknown God.” Later, in his letter to the Romans, Paul shows us what God thinks about our human folly. (Romans 1: 18-25) It’s a sobering picture, but the sadder truth is that it remains to influence our world today.
We understand from reading God’s Word, the Bible, that nature is indeed alive but it is spriritless – without soul. Natural phenomena and all objects of nature are just that, phenomena and objects, created by God. (Gen. 1:1-31) “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork” Psa. 19:1) Even we are His workmanship. (Eph. 2:10)
Finding God and seeing and enjoying His creative artistry are two different things. The Bible tells us that “God is a Spirit; and they that worship (find) Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24) He created us a living spirit-soul. (Gen. 2:7) It is the spirit in us that is connectable to the Spirit of God. Many times I have publicly said, “To know the creation best you must first know the Creator.” So to understand that the God of the Bible is the Creator, who is outside of time and space, yet personable, loving, approachable, and forgiving is our greatest need. (Jn. 3:16)
Over the years of my CBA ministry I’ve met hunters who indicate that they find God, their church in the great outdoors, the tree stand, the mountainside, etc. and that’s good enough. My answer is: “if you find God in nature, it is because you have taken Him with you and your spirit is open to the Spirit of God and His salvation.”
I conclude that we don’t hunt so we can find God; we hunt to experience his workmanship and find joy and release from the pressures of life.
So, the next time you go afield in pursuit of game, don’t only find your satisfaction in what you see around you, but let the God of creation fill your spirit with joy and peace because of the Saviour who indwells you by His Spirit. (John 14:26, 27)