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Valerius Herberger and the "Two Books": Bible and Creation

531178_vol1This excerpt introduces the meditations on Genesis prepared by Valerius Herberger (1562-1627), a Lutheran pastor in Fraustadt (now Wschowa), Poland. Here Herberger discusses God's revelation in Scripture and in creation as "two books." The "Book of Creation" especially should lead us to praise God for His wisdom, power, and beauty.

The following comes from The Great Works of God, volume 1.

Since we have been informed by such solid reasons that Jesus, along with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, is the Creator of all things, let us contemplate creation at every passing moment and get to know the Master from His work. For this is why He created heaven and earth, that we might learn of His goodness, omnipotence, and wisdom from two books, as it were: first from the Bible, second from creation. Thus when St. Anthony was asked where he had acquired his great wisdom, he said, “I have no more than two books. One is in my cell: an old, worn Bible that I have gotten to know very well and every word of which I have weighed with special care; the other is too big to fit in my cell.” At this, he led his guest outside into the open, indicated the entire world, and said, “Behold, this is my second textbook, the great cosmography, which has only two pages. The first is heaven, wherein the capital ‘A’ is the Sun, and the lowercase ‘a,’ the moon. And then come the other stars, which to me are nothing less than letters that I read thus: My God! how rich You are; how manifold is Your creation! My God, how mighty You are; who can do what You can? My God, how wise You are; how orderly and skillfully everything is arranged! O my God, what a great friend of mankind You must be; for all these things have been made to benefit me and my neighbor with their light, movement, and power! The second page is the earth’s foundation, its sphere, and all that is on and above it. There in the clouds gliding over the earth I read how God is almighty, for He can hold the water over our heads and it does not drown me. There in all the streams and in all the birds, in all the trees and sprouting plants, in all the little leaves I read how God is my Father and Provider, for He has given me all this as furnishings for my home. In short, the Bible is where I read how God gave me His Son; creation is where I read how God honored me with all that I need for this temporal life.—Valerius Herberger

From The Great Works of God, Parts One and Two: The Mysteries of Christ in the Book of Genesis, Chapters 1–15, pages 41. English translation © 2010 Matthew Carver, published by Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

To order The Great Works of God, Parts One and Two, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit www.cph.org.

Concordia Publishing House has also published The Great Works of God, Parts Three and Four.

Written by


Dawn Mirly Weinstock has been with Concordia Publishing House for 25 years and has served as a production editor for professional and academic books for more than 10 years. Her projects have included Luther's Works, Johann Gerhard’s Theological Commonplaces, and the writings of Hermann Sasse, C. F. W. Walther, and many others.


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