6 Ways that Studying God (Theology) Outdoors Leads us to God Himself

I came across this article written by Pastor Ashley Denton on his blog Outdoor Leadership with Ashley Denton. Check it out.

6 Ways that Studying God (Theology) Outdoors Leads us to God Himself

by  on SEPTEMBER 18, 2012


I liken a biblical worldview to a fresh rain in the desert, or a warm Chinook wind in the dead of winter. Desert dwellers leap for joy when the monsoons finally arrive in August. And Coloradoans, like myself, sigh happily at the Chinook wind that blows down the east side of the Rocky Mountains at the end of winter.  They are both welcome and refreshing changes because they radically contrast the norm. In studying God’s Word consistently, we also discover that the Bible’s worldview radically contrasts the mainstream.

photo by Thomas Haines


Like the contrast between bright snow and gray granite peaks, as I spend time with Jesus in the darkness of the morning, I am continually reminded that the Living Word of the biblical text is a drastic contrast to the regular diet of external worldly voices and internal doubts that I entertain everyday. So unless I decide that it’s a biblical worldview that I want, there are plenty of other fast-food ideas out there to get me by. But empty, dry, and cold they are.


Theology |θēˈäləjē| is simply studying people’s questions about God and then seeking the answers to our questions in the Bible. The origin of the word, theology comes from: Greektheos (‘god’) logia (‘word’) denoting a study or interest in God. When I’m outdoors and free to look deeply into what God has made, I begin to wonder and ask questions.  As I study what God has made it leads me to God himself. And as I take seek answers to my questions by studying God’s Word, the Bible, I am drawn by my Heavenly Father beyond the ink on the page into the very presence of my Father whose inspired Words are written in that very ink.  That is what true theological inquiry should lead to, God himself:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. -Romans 1:20


Why would I want to seek answers to my deepest questions in the bible?  Because it is reliable, historically accurate, and scientifically verifiable through the created order itself. It is full of eyewitness accounts, it is brutally honest about both mankind’s sin and his potential for glorifying God through his son Jesus Christ.  It has more archaeological evidence to support its validity than any other religious or non-religious book in the history of the world.

It is consistent from start to finish, it is full of prophecies that have come true, it explains fully who Jesus is, why he was born, why he died for mankind’s sin, how a person might receive salvation through faith in Jesus, and it offers very clear guidance on how a person can experience life to the fullest.  The Bible is the Word of God, and it will transform your life beginning the moment you put your full trust in Jesus Christ and commit your life to him.  In this sense, the words of the Bible are tested and found true through faith.

RELATED POST: Most Under-Estimated Benefit of Outdoor Ministry | Time for Evangelism


All of Creation and even cultures themselves have evidence of the design of God. The list of lessons Creation teaches us about God is endless, but let’s take just one quality of Creation as an example. Think about the concept of beauty.


How do you know that something is beautiful? This question is impossible to test in a laboratory, but somehow every person can recognize beauty. When we look at the wide-open spaces of a majestic mountain scene, or we meditate on the splendor of a sunset on the horizon of a rolling sea, we know we are looking at beauty. In a Christian worldview, we believe God created the heavens and the earth, and everything he created was good and pleasing to him. It is beautiful. And the existence of beauty itself points to the God who designed beauty. And just like hunger pains point to the existence of food to satisfy our hunger, so beauty’s existence points to One who is ultimately beautiful—God himself.


Just as the creation inspires awe, by contrast, the degradation of the earth causes repulsion. When I walk by polluted streams full of human waste and discarded trash in developing countries, I am saddened by the ugliness of the scene, but even more grieved by the plight of the poor who cannot enjoy a safe and refreshing drink of water, which was God’s intention for creation.

The logical conclusion that leads from the existence of ugliness in the world does not point away from God, rather it points directly to him—the Creator of all beauty. What God creates is beautiful, and what our sin causes is destruction of that very beauty he intended.

RELATED POST: Outdoor Leadership as Mission | Where Outdoor Ministry is Going Today?


  • How do you see evidence of God’s design in the beautiful landscapes you visit when you head outdoors?
  • In what ways do you see evidence of mankind’s sin destroying that very beauty God intended for the human race? What does this say about God? What does this say about mankind?
  • How does being a follower of Jesus Christ make you a restorer of beauty in God’s world?
  • How can you take a snapshot of the awe-inspiring beauty you see in a magnificent natural setting and go back to your cities with a renewed vision to restore God’s intended beauty in our relationships, schools, churches, and city as a whole?”
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