Summary: Part one of the "Big Picture" of the Bible.
The Reichstag in Berlin is a beautiful building, and like most structures built before the modern architectural era, it is very ornate. The detailed design of certain areas of the building is part of the reason people are attracted to it. But in 1995 two artists named Christo and Jean-Claude covered the entire Reichstag in fabric, hiding the details and exposing the essence of the structure. It was beautiful. The shape of the building, the larger form, had been ignored by people who were in awe of the decoration. By covering up that decoration, they could see and appreciate the beauty of the whole thing. I think many people in business today need to pull out some fabric and do the same thing.
If someone can’t see the wood for the trees they get so caught up in the details that they fail to understand see the bigger picture. Over next 5 weeks I want to do something I’ve been suggesting i.e. look at the overall message, the big picture of what God has been and is doing. I think that this is particularly important when it comes to the bible. We have our favourite bits but we need to see what the overall message is from time to time. It gives us perspective, it helps us to make sense of things.
To do this we need to start at the beginning. The first chapter in God’s great story is the story of creation. So often Genesis is seen as a battleground re: creation v. evolution. This completely misses the point. What is the point? I want us to see what exactly the point is.
1. God made the world
Genesis tells us that God is creator. Arguments of timescale and agency are beside the point. He is maker of all things in heaven and earth. The implications of this are massive.
He is therefore Lord & Ruler, the one who is responsible for a universe of infinite proportions is Lord of all. God is in control - he is in charge. It means that despite the turmoil in the Middle East at the moment God rules. He does not want people to be killing each other, but his plan will take account the sinful actions of his creation. It means personally whatever we face – God is bigger, whatever the challenge, be it redundancy, a tumour, opposition etc. He is in charge, he gives and he takes away, we may not know the reasoning – Is. 40:25-31.
Take a look at this piece of artwork. Famously by Leonardo da Vinci – we all know that an artist of such brilliance produced only good work. When we realise that this is God’s handiwork we know that it is good. Da Vinci’s work has been a little spoiled by the years, creation is marred by the fall, but it is still good. God has given us so much to enjoy. Because he made it all that he made he made good. Do not call anything he has made unclean, come back to that at the moment. This is a wonderful world. Thank God for the world we live in, yes it is marred, but it still retains so much of the original beauty and splendour its creator built into it.
God is revealed in it – as da Vinci’s brilliance is revealed so you can tell much about God from what he has made. I am amazed at the beauty of nature, it takes your breath away. I like pictures of the Grand Canyon, look at this one. Whatever takes your breath away, we know from what God has made that he is immensely powerful, incredibly brilliant, the heavens declare the glory of God – Psalm 19:1-4. We must not lost our capacity for awe. When a very small child sees a bird it points and is awestruck, we who have seen a bird 10,000 times are not in the least amazed. But the ability to experience awe is a necessary part of the ability to worship. To be amazed by creation, awestruck is to be amazed and awestruck by it’s creator = worship.
2. The role of man
The story of creation also tells us we are unique, made in the image of God. We are rational beings (well some of us anyway!) with the ability to reflect, plan and create, we have emotions where we can love and hate, we have the power of moral choice, to do right or wrong. Uniquely we have the capacity for awe and worship. It reminds us that we are like God in many ways, which image may have been marred in the fall but it is still there. It reminds us that we are all made in the image of God, make and female, black and white, all creeds and colours. The racism that causes so much pain and conflict is completely illogical since we share a common parentage. Sexism, Racism, Nationalism – ignore this simple fact. As the people of God we should be at the forefront of affirming and living out this principle of the equal worth of all human beings, made in the image of our heavenly father. We are family.