Summary: God created by word light and life. It was all good.
Genesis 1:1-4, 20-24, 26-27; 2:1-14 “It’s All Good”
There are times when our practical jokes and pranks can be somewhat cruel. In my high school class, there was a girl who was a bit of a hypochondriac. She always thought she was coming down with some malady. On those rare days when she was feeling relatively healthy, some of her classmates would try to change her positive thoughts. We’d make offhand comments like, “Linda, you don’t look so good.” “Are you sure you’re not coming down with something?” “You look feverish, are you all right?” Usually we’d have her convinced that she was on death’s door and asking to go home, within a couple of hours.
Our perspective shapes our reality. People viewed the world as the center of the solar system and universe until Galileo and Copernicus promoted the concept that the earth and other planets rotated around the sun. The protector and purveyor of the truth, the Church, viciously fought the alternate perspective promoted by Galileo and Copernicus in the sixteenth century. Though Eratosthenes, an Egyptian astronomer and mathematician measured the circumference of the earth in the second century before Christ, a majority of people held to the belief that the earth was flat until well into the middle ages.
The first chapter of Genesis seeks to provide us with a truth filled picture on which to build our perspective and perception of creation. The view of creation that is revealed to us in Genesis is often at odds with the commonly held beliefs of our friends, neighbors and co-workers—even some of those who are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
IN THE BEGINNING GOD
Dozens of creation stories have been found in the Middle East. They tell stories of a violent beginning of creation. Capricious and conniving gods war against each other and kill each other. Out of their struggles and spilled blood the earth, humankind and all of creation is born. This creation is filled with violence, death, suffering, betrayal and intrigue. It is not a pleasant place to be.
We may pooh pooh such an idea of creation as rather archaic. Still, how often have we told ourselves that: “It’s a jungle out there?” “It’s a dog eat dog world.” “It’s a rat race,” and “The world is filled with evil.” When we speak these phrases to ourselves we program ourselves to see the world in this light. Our perception becomes our reality.
There are some of us who have a more benevolent view of the world. We consider ourselves lucky—we anticipate that Tyche the goddess of luck and fortune will fight for us and bless us with her gifts. Perhaps we have given up and have allowed ourselves to blindly follow the Moirai, the three Greek goddesses of fate. We might pick up on some themes from other parts of the Bible, such as Satan is like a prowling lion seeking to devour us. Demons might be lurking nearby waiting to tempt us or even possess us.
All of these perceptions are at odds with those expressed by the writer of this chapter. In Genesis 1 there is only one God and that God is creating the world in a loving and grace filled manner. Would our lives we different if we saw creation as God sees it—good—and began each day with the expectation that we would see more goodness than evil and walk each day in the presence of God rather than at the mercy of the gods or evil forces?
BRING FORTH LIFE
Though we live in the land of abundance, we perceive life as being limited. We do not have the finances that we need or want. We don’t have the time. We don’t have enough exercise, enough quiet time nor any time for ourselves. Everywhere we look we see shortages. Rather than view God as a God of abundance, we harbor the thoughts that God is stingy. This is certainly different from what the Genesis stories proclaim.
The earth has an abundance to it in this creation story. The oceans and seas are teaming with life. The first chapter of Genesis does not have limitations or shortages.
If we look around us, we catch glimpses of God’s abundance. Some of us may have been caught in a snow shower of Cottonwood seeds. On a few quiet evenings, when we have been outdoors, we have realized that there have been an abundance of mosquitoes. Creation is filled with an abundance of colors, an abundance of beauty and, yes, an abundance of good.
Certainly there are shortages but they are not God made. The 1% are growing richer while the 99% grow poorer and the playing field is set up to their advantage. The world’s 3%, of which we are a part, grow richer as the other 97% of the world grows poorer, and the laws and finances are weighted in our favor. Billions of people in the world are starving, while we struggle with obesity because of war and the fact that we demand inexpensive food from our government. God is a God of abundance, but our brokenness, selfishness and greed create shortages.