Today I consider color. I look outside and see green trees. But all the trees are not the same green. They range in intensity from deep, almost-black green hemlocks to pale, almost-yellow green birches. Today white plume-like clouds reach across an intense blue sky. But sometimes the sky is pale blue with a splattering of gray clouds, or blue with a hint of sunrise or sunset. To say the sky is blue doesn’t quite cover it.
When I asked my sixth-grade science teacher why the sky is blue, she said the oxygen content in air makes the sky look blue, and the chlorophyll in plants makes the leaves green. he answered my question… sort of. But why does oxygen take on shades of blue and chlorophyll shades of green? The only explanation I can come up with is because God ordained it to be so.
God could have created a perfectly functional world in black, white, and shades of gray. The air could provide life-giving oxygen without looking blue. Leaves could process sunlight without looking green. Flowers could bloom and fade without showy displays of color. Light could penetrate without varied wave colors. Fire could burn without changing color as the heat increases. The sun could rise and set each day without painting the horizon. Fish, and bird and animal species could be distinguished by their shapes or sizes. If they, and their surroundings, were all monochromatic, they wouldn’t need special plumage, or fur, or scales to ensure their survival.
So why all the unnecessary color? It almost seems frivolous, doesn’t it?
The abundance of color in this world must speak to God’s character. He created color for sheer pleasure; His own and ours. He created color for sheer beauty and delight; a reflection of His own delight in all things bright and beautiful and His desire for us to delight in them as well. He went above and beyond the functional and necessary to give a good gift, something which would add joy to daily life.
Paul passes on this promise in Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” While it’s true God only promises to take care of our needs, he gives so much more. God sometimes gives us what we want, even though we don’t need it. James 1:17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” Color is one of those good gifts.
I wonder, too, whether color is infinite. Is it, like the endless heavens, more tangible evidence of God’s infinity? A trip to the paint store certainly offers enough evidence to entertain the notion. So does a trip to the fabric store for thread or embroidery floss.
When we enjoy the color around us; a rainbow arched across dark gray clouds, botanical gardens in full bloom, or salt water fish swimming through coral reefs, God must be pleased His good gift has not gone unnoticed.