The God honoring foundation of America’s National Parks
241 years ago the course of world history changed, for on July 4th, 1776, the 13 colonies adopted The Declaration of Independence and proclaimed themselves to be The United States of America. Since then these United States have risen to become a world power and have been the source of many amazing world innovations. One innovation that seems to never be talked about or even noticed is this country's profound contribution to recognizing, appreciating and preserving the wonders of the natural landscape: Nature. It covers the world with its intricate complexity, its unfathomable beauty and its breathtaking majesty. For most of us, our park system doesn’t feel like an innovation; rather it feels like a common, scarcely noticed commodity – yeah, we have National Parks – cool! Today we stop for a moment and ask how did these National Parks came to be, what was the motivation for their existence and what does all of this have to do with Almighty God?
To help us drill down to understanding the connection between God and the American National Park System (and yes, there is a BIG connection) we brought in friend of CQ – Tom Gilbert. Tom is a devoted Christian who spent his adult life working for the National Park System and knows a thing or two about its history and objectives. What he revealed about how these parks came to be was not only fascinating but surprising as well. Before we crack open the door of proof (which our podcast on this subject clearly does), let us state a factual conclusion about the founding of our national parks: Christians were the main movers to develop America’s national parks and their primary reason for doing so was to make the wonders and awe-inspiring aspects of God’s creation accessible to the average American.
Think about that for a moment. These parks were preserved so America could praise and honor God as they observed the magnificence of the natural world! These parks were founded so we could see God in a whole different way than in the Bible – they were chosen lands to showcase nature in all of its pristine beauty. In those days the miracle of nature, commonly called “God’s Second Book,” was recognized on a national scale as an important part of what the United States of America stood for. These sentiments were not only seen in the establishment of our national parks but were heard in the verses of many American anthems. Look up the words to “America the Beautiful” and see what that song is really all about.
It is tragic how we today have truly lost sight of God and His role in our lives. We need to fight that tragedy, and you can start by checking out our July 3, 2017 podcast, “Does America Show Us the Nature of God?” Listening can only feed and strengthen your passion for the greatness of God. Once strengthened, go and ask some folks about the founding of America’s national parks and then share with them the “why” behind it all. God speaks through nature, so let us speak of God through nature as well!
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