When I Consider Thy Heavens

In 1890, a hymn by Swedish poet Carl Boberg was published in the book Sion’s Harpan (“The Harp of Zion”). Here is the first verse of that hymn:

Original Text (Swedish)English Translation
O store Gud, när jag den värld beskådar,
Som du har skapat med ditt allmaktsord,
Hur der din visdom leder lifvets trådar,
Och alla väsen mättas vid ditt bord.

Då brister själen ut i lovsångsljud:
O store Gud! O store Gud!
Då brister själen ut i lovsångsljud:
O store Gud! O store Gud!
Oh great God, when I view that world,
Which you have created with your almighty word,
How your wisdom leads the threads of life,
And all beings are filled at your table.

Then bursts out the soul in the sound of praise:
O great God! O great God!
Then bursts out the soul in the sound of praise:
O great God! O great God!

This hymn was subsequently translated into German and from German into Russian. British Methodist missionary Stuart Hine became familiar with the Russian version while serving with his wife in Ukraine in the 1930s. He paraphrased the hymn into English, added two additional verses, and published it under the title “How Great Thou Art” in 1949.

The core message of the hymn, in both the original Swedish version and the modern English version is the same: interacting with God’s creations fills us with a sense of awe and wonder. This sentiment is powerfully expressed in the following passage from the book of Psalms:

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?

Psalm 8:3-4

The prophet Alma similarly testified:

All things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.

Alma 30:44

President M. Russell Ballard said, “I [feel] a deep reverence for both the creation and the Creator…. Truly, the heavens and the earth and all things in them evidence the handiwork of God” (“God’s Love for His Children,” General Conference, April 1988).

Here is a beautiful arrangement of “How Great Thou Art,” by Nathan Hofheins:

Today, I will consider the creations of God. I will take the time to step outside and appreciate the wonders of nature. I will express gratitude for this beautiful world and for the evidence it provides of a powerful and loving Creator.

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