natural năch′ər-əl adj — 3 Conforming to the usual or ordinary course of nature.
The Jesus Storybook Bible is the most splendid children’s bible. The art is beautiful, the writing engaging, but it is the deep theology that sets the Bible apart. Take the feeding of the 5000:
“Well, Jesus did many miracles like this. Things people thought couldn’t happen, that weren’t natural. But it was the most natural thing in the world.”
At first glance miracles seem unnatural. We live in a world where it is unnatural for bread to expand or multiply or fall from the sky (how did the bread arrive after Jesus’s blessing?). But we also live in a world that is broken by sin. Paul writes that creation is in “bondage to decay”, “groaning in pain”, “eagerly awaiting the Children of God to be revealed” (Rm 8:18-30).
The feeding of 5000 is unnatural in a fallen world. But if we allow God, as Creator, to define what is natural the definition changes. In God’s design what is unnatural is not 5 loaves and two fishes feeding the multitudes. Instead the unnatural part of the story is that humanity is hungry!
From this viewpoint, the miracles of Jesus are not breaking God’s natural order. Instead miracles put nature back in line with God’s desire! This is why the Storybook Bible writes, “it was the most natural thing in the world.” Because nature was acting as God’s creation!
Looking at Romans 8, why is creation eagerly awaiting the Children of God? In a world broken by sin, everything is wrong. But in God’s design humanity was to care for creation. So creation longs for holy caretakers to make things right.
With selfish consumers in charge, creation is not working with humanity. Everything/everyone is working against each another. To visualize, humanity wants to be the leader. But sin has turned everything upside down. Creation, meant to provide, now falls upon us bringing viruses, cancer, hunger, mudslides, frostbite…
Yet death was never meant to reign as our ruler. In God’s desire, it is death that is unnatural. So Jesus “suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone… that he might break the power of him who holds the power of death — that is the devil” (Hebrews 2:9,14). In Christ, it is life eternal that becomes natural.
On Sunday we continue our message series, Pouring over Hebrews. This week we look at Hebrews two. I hope you are reading along with us and will join us at 10:30 (in-person or streaming live).