A small group of us—my husband, Darren, my sisters, their friends, and myself—stood on the stone riverbanks watching other campers slide gleefully down the creek. My youngest sister, Jamie, and her friends decided to give it a try. I joined them and Darren whipped out his camera. Over the years the water had smoothed and shaped the rock into gentle slopes, forming a natural “slip ‘n slide.” But there was no way to go about sliding gracefully. Water did nothing to soften the stone riverbed as we bounced over exposed quartz veins and tumbled into pools. (I somewhat regretted my participation when I felt the aches and pains the next day.)
The creek feeds into Hume Lake. Nestled amid the peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the lake once served as a sort of storage area for a logging company. Now it draws vacationers to its shores. We were staying at the Christian camp and retreat center that occupies one side of the lake. Earlier in the week we had attended church at a chapel decorated to fit the high school summer camp’s wacky theme. The speaker talked about obedience to God and how even the stones and trees surrounding us obey their Creator.
“How many of you have diamonds?” the speaker asked. (I raised my left hand a little too eagerly; I am a newlywed after all). He went on to explain that gems, crystals, and rocks adhere to the methods and mechanisms of formation that God engineered for them.
The speaker quoted writer Annie Dillard:
Crystals grew inside rock like arithmetic flowers. They lengthened and spread, added plane to plane in an awed and perfect obedience to an absolute geometry that even stones—maybe only the stones—understood.
The words “arithmetic” and “geometry” caught my attention. Though mathematics have distressed many a student (including myself), the subject is a key indication of intelligence and purpose. Ken Samples notes that “such conceptual realities as logic, mathematics, knowledge, and truth flow from a supremely intelligent divine mind and characterize his universe.”
In response to a crabby Pharisee who wanted the disciples to cease praising Christ, Jesus said, “I tell you…if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40). Whenever I heard this verse as a kid I always pictured my rock collection bursting out in song. But the sermon at Hume helped me realize where the stones find their voice. Through the intricate, precise means by which they form and grow, the rocks of the Earth testify to the intelligent Creator.
For more on rocks and the things they tell us about creation, check out these RTB articles:
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Maureen Bell & Sandra Dimas