Our family spent the last week in Yellowstone National Park.
We hiked through the mountains and along the brink of a mind-boggling canyon, watched the wildlife, and observed many different aspects of the interactions between rock, water, heat, and time. We saw the energy from the molten core of the earth unleashed by the Yellowstone Volcano in the form of geysers, hot springs, steam vents, and boiling mud pots. We were dwarfed by mountains formed by the collision of massive plates of the earth's crust.
At the West Thumb Geyser Basin, on the shore of Yellowstone Lake, Ranger Steve led us on a ranger-guided walk through the thermal area. A professor of geology, specializing in hydro-geothermalogy, he is highly intelligent and very qualified to discuss the scientific basis for the geysers and hot springs in that unique region.
Ranger Steve described the constant change seen in the thermal features as the work of an artist. This great artist works in the mediums of rock and water interacting with the heat from the magma intrusion of the Yellowstone Volcano. This artist's tools include earthquakes which alter the "plumbing" system deep in the earth, thermophile bacteria perfectly adapted to feed off of the energy of the scalding water and convert the sulfur into sulfuric acid, and the occasional cataclysmic volcanic eruption which "wipes the slate clean" so that the artist can begin an entirely new masterpiece of creativity.
As you experience Yellowstone, it is easy to see it as the work of a great artist. However, when Ranger Steve identified the artist, he got it completely wrong. He said that the artist whose creativity was seen at Yellowstone was “Mother Earth.” But the earth screams with signs of an active creativity, intentional design, a purposeful application of power, and a delight in beauty and variety of creation. None of these are traits of a chunk of rock orbiting a star in the outer fringes of an inconsequential spiral galaxy. Creation is evidence of the existence of a creator. Design points to a designer. Purpose is proof of a higher intellect directing the course of existence.
The artist of Yellowstone is not an impersonal one. Even Ranger Steve admits this by personifying the earth with the name “Mother”. But the earth and the forces of nature which Ranger Steve lifts up as the artist are themselves the creations of God. If you exclude the possibility of God as the source of creation, then Ranger Steve’s naturalistic view of Yellowstone being a product of chance is the only option left, but that doesn’t make it scientifically sound. There is nothing scientific about rejecting the one explanation which best fits the observed facts without any basis other than a refusal to admit the existence of a creator with the authority to define moral boundaries.
Only God could be the great artist of Yellowstone, artist of the universe, and artist of our lives. An honest look at Yellowstone confirms without a question the truth of God’s existence, his role as creator, and his continued care for his creation. Everywhere I looked I saw proof of God’s greatness. I am awed to serve a God who could conceive of the things I witnessed, intelligent enough to design them to work in such perfect harmony, powerful enough to create them by his Word alone, and loving enough to let me experience the results of his creativity.