Windows on Nature: Reflections on God

Jane Kelly reflects on the visual and biblical feast celebrating our beautiful common home in the new book from Bob and Evelyn McDonald.

'Windows on Nature: Reflections on God' by Bob and Evelyn McDonald arrived at my front door just as I began a week of COVID isolation in June this year. 

What a blessing! In Windows on Nature, Bob and Evelyn have masterfully weaved their expert photographic skills for capturing the beauty of nature, with their considerable scientific knowledge and deep biblical learning to create a collection of magnificent 32 reflections.

Each reflection contains a visually spectacular landscape or nature photograph that inspires the reader to slow down and absorb the vibrant image. 

Alongside each captivating photograph is an exposition of deep scientific knowledge or the sharing of First Nations wisdom which the authors have been honoured to receive from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the traditional custodians of these lands since time immemorial. Bob and Evelyn don’t leave the reader simply admiring the spectacular gift of creation. Rather, they introduce and exeget a scripture passage, bringing the reader’s awe and praise back to our Good Creator God and Sustainer of our common home. 

Each reflection caused me to recall the words of the Apostle Paul, “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.” (Romans 1:20)

And then, in the centre of the book, like grace notes in a song, are “Five Stories from the Natural World”. These marvellous vignettes reveal a tiny element of God’s creation; so small it could seem utterly insignificant. But each one demonstrates the tender loving, meticulous, and sometimes inexplicably imaginative heart of our Creator God. For example, the commensal relationship between the turtles and butterflies on the banks of the Tamopata River in Peru. Butterflies, whose diet is sodium deficient, will land on the faces of turtles when they cry and drink their tears. At this stage, scientists have been unable to determine the benefit of this activity for turtles.

Each time I have the privilege of diving into Windows on Nature, I find my soul singing out one of my favourite passages of Scripture, Job 12:7-10 “But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.”

My life has returned to its usual hectic pace post COVID isolation. However, I have placed Windows on Nature:Reflections on God on my work desk and I regularly return to its pages for encouragement to pause, be still, and consider the beauty and wonder of God's spectacular and complex creation.


Windows on Nature: Reflections on God by Bob and Evelyn McDonald can be purchased at Blue Gum Publishing or Koorong.  

Jane lives in Western Sydney with her husband Simon and their three children, Elise, Finn, and Eamon, and the black labrador, Bailey. She has over two decades of experience in tertiary education administration and project management roles. Her studies include theology, ministry, ethics, and legal studies. Jane is excited to bring her passion for Jesus and justice to her role as Common Grace's Creation and Climate Justice Coordinator.

Creation & Climate Justice