Does Not Nature Itself Teach You?

Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him…—1 Corinthians 11:14

My effort here is not to make a point about hair or head coverings, but something more basic. Namely this: nature teaches. Does not nature itself teach you? Does it? It is designed to. 

Nature teaches us more than geology and biology; it teaches wisdom. That’s why the Bible tells us to go to the ant, to understand red threatening skies in the morning, to glean many lessons from honey, and to enlarge our understanding and wisdom by paying attention to our teacher, nature itself.

In the text above, Paul will get around to teaching about head coverings and authority, but before drawing his conclusions about head coverings, Paul tells the basis of his conclusions: nature itself.

Nature teaches. There are things we should understand, even without divine revelation, because nature itself serves us as instructor. God will hold us accountable for paying attention to nature, and learning what she teaches us. Having nature to teach us, we are without excuse.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.—Romans 1:19-20  

If nature teaches, leaving us without excuse, why bother with verbal instruction, a Bible, colleges, and seminaries?

Just because nature teaches, that doesn’t mean that all her inhabitants readily learn from her what Paul says should be obvious. Whether in the stars and heavenly bodies, or worldwide evidence of death-dealing geological catastrophe, or the predictable rhythm of sunrises and seasons, or the obvious differences between sexes, nature’s lessons are all around us. Yet like blind men failing to ‘ooh’ and ‘ah’ at a beautiful painting, people can swim entirely immersed in nature and not learn her lessons. A newborn surrounded and supported by loving caregivers can remain entirely self-centered, not able to explain what love is or care one iota to model it. Me, me, me. So we need training in how to observe.

“Paying attention”—that’s our pursuit at Bethlehem College & Seminary. We help each other pay attention—to observe and apply. Jesus Christ, who created all things, created them to reveal. All things are pointers. At this institution, we aim to slow down and help each other not miss the pointers and the One to whom they ultimately point. The main pointer is the Bible.

In May the Board of Trustees met all day to lay plans for a future of observing in a school that has completed her eleventh year. In dependence on God, we approved a budget for the coming year, even during these economically volatile days of pandemic-motivated government restrictions. We welcomed a new trustee, Juan Sanchez, who video called in from Texas. We deliberated over the ongoing development of plans for the succession of President Tomlinson, who has made it known that he intends to transition in 2021. We engaged in extensive discussion, asking ourselves what should be the nature and structure of church-based theological education. Thomas Barclay led us in an insightful study of the temptation to boast in our afflictions, using them as excuses. It was a full day, and God heard our prayers for help.

Thank you for praying for the trustees as we face a number of big rocks to move in the days ahead.

Sam Crabtree
Chairman, Board of Trustees

Prayer Requests:


  1. Please continue to pray for peace in the city of Minneapolis and the surrounding communities.
  2. Please continue to pray that the Lord would guide the Presidential Succession Commission and the Board of Trustees.
  3. Please pray that the Lord would bring in the final $84,341 that we may finish our fiscal year strongly.