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Gadfly Paraphrase: What the Heavens Declare

13 January 2011 by FX Turk

Scientists, who have sunk deeply into these matters than others, understand how the stars are arranged in such beautiful order, that notwithstanding their large number there is no confusion; but to the ignorant and unlettered, the continual succession of days is a surer proof of the providence of God. David, therefore, having spoken of the heavens, does not then depart from them to other parts of the world; but, in order to get closer to the way we see things, he confirms what he has just now said, namely, that the glory of God not only shines, but also echoes all over in the heavens. There are quite a few explanation of these words in translation, but they all amount t the same thing. Some explain that no day passes in which God does not show some specific evidence of his power. Others would say that they are saying that the universe is put together in a sensible way, - that every day contributes something to build upon the proof of the existence and perfections of God. Other would say that the days and nights talk together, and reason concerning the glory of their Creator’, but this interpretation is a little forced.

David, I have no doubt, here teaches, from the rhythm of the cycle from day to night, that the course and revolutions of the sun, and moon, and stars, are regulated by the marvelous wisdom of God. Whether we translate the words Day after day, or one day to another day, it doesn't matter; for all that David means is the beautiful design of time which the parade of days and nights show us.

If, indeed, we were actually looking at it the way we should to be, even one day would be enough to tell us clearly, "GOD! CREATOR GOD!", and only one night would be enough to do it again for the same reason. But when we see the sun and the moon performing their daily dance — the sun following the moon following the sun, up again, then down again — and when we get it that the length of the days and nights is regulated, and that the variation of their length is arranged according to some regal design, and it happens again and again year after year, we have in this a much brighter testimony to the glory of God.

David, therefore, with a completely clear mind, declares that although God should not speak a single word to men, yet the order of all things and the uses of all things, as the rotation of day and night eloquently proclaims, "Glory to God!" There's no way for men to be ignorant, because day and night teaches us so well. We can learn a lot of things from them as teacher, if we pay attention.

-- Calvin's Commentary of Psalms, Ps 19:2 [paraphrase]