Summary: We have been created for relationships. Adam and Eve were to till the garden and be companions for each other.
Genesis 2:4b-25 “Community and Companionship”
We just celebrated the groundbreaking for our worship and community center. It was a great day for us—an historic event. In constructing the worship and community center, we are communicating who we are and what we understand that we have been called to do.
Ours is not the first groundbreaking. In fact, I would contend, that the story of the first groundbreaking is found in Genesis 2, the creation of Adam and Eve. You might remember that God “broke ground” scooped up some cosmic dust and formed it into a human being. In this story we begin to understand our place in creation and the mission in the world.
HEAVEN AND EARTH
The creation of Adam—humankind—is different from all other elements of creation. In Genesis 1 God created by speaking. God created the animals out of the dust of the earth in Genesis 2. Only Adam, though is created by dust and by the breath of God.
We are part of earth; a piece of creation. This is where God has placed us and this is our home. We are a part of the whole and we affect each other. The sickness of our world—global warming—sickens us. Our rebellion against God has left the whole world groaning according to St. Paul.
We are also part of God. God breathed the breath of life into Adam and Adam became a living being. Many scholars claim that this is the reason we can say that humankind has been created in the image of God. We have that divine spark within us. We were created to be in a relationship with God.
It is necessary for us to struggle with this duality through our entire life. Rather than deny that we are mortal beings, or not believe that we are spiritual beings, this story invites us to embrace the truth. In the words of Martin Luther we are at the same time both saint and sinner.
As most of you know, Faye and I traveled to Europe this summer as part of our vacation. While in Europe I discovered that I could purchase an authentic German coo-coo clock and an authentic German beer stein that had been made in China. Sometimes I think that many of us feel that we have been made in China. We feel that we are an inferior product; one that is lacking talents and abilities. We may view ourselves as cheap or even worthless. The story of the creation of Adam and Eve speak against such thoughts.
The story carries with it the sense that God lovingly created Adam and Eve. There was no production line. Instead God scooped up the dust and hand crafted Adam. Satisfied at God’s creation God intimately breathed into Adam the breath of life. God took a rib from Adam and created Eve. In like manner, we are hand crafted by God. In Psalm 139 the Psalmist celebrates that God knew us even before our conception and watched as we were woven together.
God hand crafted us with a purpose. God gave humankind the task of keeping and protecting (or saving) creation. This not only includes the world’s fauna and flora but also or neighbors. We work as a team with God.
Everywhere else in the creation stories, God looked upon what God had created and said, “It is good.” Only in the story of the creation of Adam and Eve does God say, “It is not good.” It is not good that Adam should be alone. Humankind was created for companionship—with God and with each other.
God started to work on creating a companion for Adam. The storyteller must have had a grin on his face when we told this story. God creates dogs, cats, alligators, elephants, bats—all the animals as possible companions for Adam. None of them tickle Adam’s fancy. Exasperated, God causes a sleep to fall upon Adam, takes a rib from him and creates Eve. Adam’s reaction? WOW!
Companions are created. They are both alike and different. Together they will serve the Lord.
Family is blessed as the cornerstone of human society. Community is started. Working together people can accomplish great things. We can carry out God’s intentions for us—to keep and protect creation.
This story contains powerful messages for us. If we live in the truth it proclaims our lives can be transformed. The truth of this story is also what we want to communicate to the children, youth and young families to whom we will minister with our worship and community center. We boldly share the gospel so that all might experience God’s forgiveness, love and grace.