Monday, September 12, 2011
Read: Genesis 1:26-31: Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth." God said, "See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Think About: When I was teaching school, one of my students, who knew that I trusted the Bible as the Word of God, approached me and asked, "If we were all descended from the same two people, wouldn't we all be mentally challenged?" I answered with a question: "How do you know we're not?" He chuckled, nodded his head, said, "Good one," and left.
Think about how much time the world has wasted debating the legitimacy of the creation story as it relates to scientific discoveries and theories. The earth that is created in Genesis is flat, and the sky is a dome that covers it. Rarely do those elements of the creation story come up, but they are there. They are part of Scripture.
If we approach the creation story as Pastor Bill Barnes does, as the first part of "the progressive revelation of the nature of God as understood by a particular people," then we ask different questions. What is the nature of God at the beginning? Who are these people who worship him? In considering these questions, the first thing we understand is that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The God of creation is the same as the Word of John 1:1 (In the beginning was the Word).
What made the Israelites - that is the descendents of Abraham through Isaac - unusual in their time was their worship of one God. He was not like the gods other tribes and nations worshiped. He did not have specific responsibilities, and he did not toy with the people who worshipped him. The Israelites had no idea what he looked like, and they were forbidden from trying to conjure up a likeness of him.
But they knew who he was. He was the creator of the universe, the Lord of absolutely everything - including all those tribes and nations who didn't worship him. Humans were his very special creation, and when he made them, he wanted to spend time with them. He wanted to walk with them in the beautiful garden he had given them. He made them to live with him in Paradise. And he gave them free will so that they would love him back. He didn't want them loving him because they had no choice. He wanted them to understand him, to appreciate him, to worship him because of his extraordinary love for them.
Later this week we'll explore what went wrong.
Pray this Prayer: Father God, there is only one reason to address these questions, and that is so we can learn to know you better, to understand you as much as we can with our finite minds. As we explore your Word, we know that we will be amazed at the depth, breadth and width of your immeasurable love. How great you are! How insignificant we seem. Yet you love us anyway. You are truly an awesome God! Amen.
Written by the St. Luke's Writing Team
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