As you read this we will be well into another summer, and crops will be growing to reach harvest. Indeed by the time the next Messenger appears many will have been harvested. So, midway as we are between spring and autumn, how often do we stop to consider the processes that bring us the things that we need? Indeed how often do we stop to consider the nature of creation itself? It is easy to take for granted, or to discount the role that God is playing in providing for our every need.

 

Please now read Genesis Chapter 1 to Genesis Chapter 2v.3.

So there you go! Right at the very start of the Bible there is a controversial reading. There are those who take this very literally: the World really was made in 6 days, they believe and in the manner described. Others like to see those days as representing eras of creation, whilst on the other hand atheists use it as a way of debunking Christianity, claiming that science shows that the World was not made that way, therefore the Bible is untrue, and the Christian religion has no credibility.

And yet, science and religion are not incompatible bedfellows. This passage was not the first part of the Bible to be written, but was possibly first written during the Babylonian exile. However you read it, it is an uncompromising statement of identity. God was there at the start. He made the universe and the World. Nothing was made without His consent and intention. In case any of the exiles were wavering, this directly contradicted the creation theories of other religions, and restated the omnipotence of the one true God, just as it directly contradicts those today who believe the created universe is just a big accident! Even if thanks to the technological advances of modern astronomy we now know that the universe is billions of times bigger, and much older than the ancients imagined, we should not lose sight of that truth. Indeed perhaps we should be even more in awe that our God could make something so vast, wait millennia while it develops, and yet be so concerned with every fine detail, including ourselves.

However there is also more to this story than the mere mechanics of how the creation actually took place. By separating the events of creation into different stages (days), the story shows that there is order within God's creation (even demonstrated in the way that the story is written with repetitive phrases such as "Evening passed and morning came").

We might also reflect on what the story teaches us about how we treat God's creation. For instance, think about something that we have made. Perhaps that will have been a meal, maybe a piece of artwork, a garment, a plant that we have grown, a room that we have redecorated, etc. Then consider how we felt when that process, and the end product, went well. How did we feel? Were we pleased? Satisfied? Rewarded? Perhaps our feelings will be a combination of these things. Perhaps we have been particularly attached to something that we have made or done, because it was especially successful. When we think in this way we may start to glimpse at how our God sees the creation. In particular note how the text "and God was pleased with what he saw" is repeated. However special the things we have made or done may be to us, His creation is especially important to Him. So at the very least this story should start to make us think about how we treat that the World that we live in. We might like to consider these questions:-

  • How might God feel about what people do with creation?
  • How does what we have read suggest we should act now, as individuals and as a local church?

Next time we will consider what it might mean to be "made in God's image" (from Genesis Iv27).

Chris Noyce