According to this ancient metaphor, God is the author of two “books”: a Book of Words, or the Bible, and a Book of Works, or creation.
God’s Book of Works points to its creator through the wonders of nature. God’s Book of Words, as revealed through scripture, tells of the creator’s character and of creation’s ultimate purpose.
For centuries, some of the most brilliant philosophers, scientists, and theologians have used this metaphor to understand how scripture and science interact. At times, it has encouraged a fruitful relationship between faith and the study of nature that has played a role in revolutionary discoveries. At others, it has sparked lively disagreements and debates.
The Bible as God’s Book
“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart . . . the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.”
Nature as God’s Book
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. . . . Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.”
Psalm 19:1–2, 4