Summary: Creation, Pt. 2
THE SKY IS THE LIMIT (GENESIS 2:1-25)
In March 1997, Dolly of Scotland made headline news. Who was Dolly? Dolly was a sheep. Scientists from the Roslin Institute in Scotland, who have tried for more than 10 years to clone a sheep from a single adult cell, produced Dolly after 277 failed attempts. Times magazine said Dolly “is a carbon copy, a laboratory counterfeit so exact that she is in essence her mother’s identical twin.” (The Age of Cloning” 3/10/97 J. Madeline Nash) The truth is that Dolly is technically more likely her clone’s sister than twin or kid.
Genesis 1 tells us that God created the world out of chaos. Man was incomplete without God, and he is the crown, the climax, and the centerpiece of God’s creation. Everything God created was good, but creation was only complete with man. What He saw as “good” before now had become “very good.” (1:31)
In God’s design and by His devise, the sky was the limit for man. The possibilities were boundless, and nothing was beyond his reach. St. Augustine said, “Man wonders over the restless sea, the flowing water and the sight of the sky - and forgets that of all wonders Man himself is the most wonderful.”
How is man “very good”? How is he the center of God’s creation? Why did God lavish on man and reserve for him the best things in life?
Man is a Physical and Spiritual Being
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. 4 This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens-- 5 and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, 6 but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground-- 7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. (Gen 2:1-7)
First, you and I are physical and spiritual beings. We are not heavenly creatures. God did not make us from star dust, moon beams, or meteor showers. Man is dust from the ground, soil, or in the “Fiddler on the Roof” expression: “a worthless lump of clay.” At the end of life three things await physical humanity: disease, death, and dust (in that order).
Do you know what else comes out from the ground (2:19)? Animals! So man, in a sense, is comparable to an animal.
There was a Jewish story about a king who tested Elijah the prophet with two questions. The first was: “Why was man created?” Elijah responded: “The only reason that He made man was that he serve Him with all his heart, so that He should take pleasure in him and in the generations that spring from his loins until then end of days.”
“Why did the Almighty create reptiles?” was the second question. Again Elijah said, “When man procreated and his number became great he began to worship the sun and stones and wooden idols. From day to day the sinfulness of man had been mounting so that he deserved death and greatly tried God’s patience.
At that point God looked upon all creatures He had created in the world and said: ‘Men have life and these creatures have life. Men have souls and these creatures have souls. Men eat and drink and these creatures eat and drink. Therefore, men too are animals and are no better than the reptiles that I have created.’
Immediately thereafter the Almighty’s wrath subsided and he withheld his hand from destroying mankind. From this therefore, you can see that God created the reptiles, so that He would have some creatures with which to compare man and shame him unto humility.”
William Jenkyn says with wit, “Our father was Adam, our grandfather dust, our great-grandfather nothing.”
However, we are more than dust and we differ significantly from animals. How are we like and unlike animals (2:7, 19)? By the way, animals possessed the breath of life (Gen 7:15, 22), too, but God Himself breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life (2:7). God has put His spirit and breath in us (Job 34:14-15). Man has a longing for the Creator - in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).