All Thy Works Shall Praise Thee: God’s Gift of “Air” – J.Minderhoud

SB-March1-2015Another excellent article in the March 1, 2015 issue of the Standard Bearer is Joel Minderhoud’s most recent contribution under the rubric “All Thy Works Shall Praise Thee.” In his series of articles he is calling attention to the “main characters in the most elegant book” of creation (a phrase taken from the Belgic Confession, Art.2), and in this particular article he focuses on God’s gift of air.

At the outset he ties it to the annual Prayer Day service the Protestant Reformed congregations hold in this season of the year, by means of which we confess together our complete dependence on the God of creation:

…We do so for no small reason. Each of us in truly dependent upon God’s provisions for our daily existence. Though North American society has drastically changed in the past one hundred years, from the farmland to the office cubicle, we are no less dependent upon the physical creation for our daily existence.

…In this article we will examine air – and more particularly its fundamental element, oxygen – and note our absolute dependence in our every breath for this indispensable gift of God. As we observe the annual day of Prayer, calling on Almighty God to grant us what we need both physically and spiritually, may we give earnest attention to His good provisions in the creation for our physical needs.

To give you just a glimpse into this one amazing gift of God called “air”, Minderhoud writes the following about the process known as “respiration”:

God in His wisdom designed a pair of processes – respiration and photosynthesis – that by His providence give ample oxygen for us and the animals of creation to breathe. As fast as we remove oxygen from the atmosphere via respiration, photosynthetic organisms such as plants, algae, and cyanobacteria convert carbon dioxide ( a waste product of our respiration) into a fresh, new oxygen supply. Organisms that contain the green-colored, ‘solar-powered’ chloroplast organelles are the best-known ‘recycling facilities’ on the planet. All through the day, as humans (and animals) use oxygen for their daily existence, the chloroplasts, powered by sunlight, convert the waste carbon dioxide that we exhale back into oxygen gas (and simultaneously produce sugar products that are stored in the plant fibers, which we, incidentally, will use later on as our food supply). By this marvelous pair of processes, the oxygen supply in the atmosphere remains fairly stable so that we always have sufficient oxygen to breathe (257-58).

All that God does, just so we can breathe and live, and move about so as to carry out our callings in this world. One of which is certainly to praise Him for this work too. Do we? Have we thought today about His gift of air and oxygen? Have we asked Him to grant us this gift, without which we die and return to the dust?

Things to ponder as we learn about these characters of God’s most elegant book, creation.

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