“….Then God said…”
“…And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”
“…And God saw that it was good…”
These repeated phrases in Genesis one have become very familiar and comforting to me over the past year. When I was first memorizing it, the pattern made it easier to get into my mind than some other passages have been. Each phrase reveals so much about God. He speaks, and creates incredible things out of nothingness. He is an orderly God, ordaining time as it still exists now – days, weeks, seasons, years. He is good, and everything He makes is good.
I’ve mentioned before that each Monday I recite Genesis 1-4 aloud from memory. It’s beneficial to dwell on the beginning of time and the early years of humanity as a new week begins. To be honest, it’s often kind of tough, too. I’m jaded by the incongruity I feel in myself as I repeat “And God saw that it was good” on each day of creation.
Like, I just saw a headline about some dreadful crime that was committed nearby. The world was good then- and only briefly. What about right now? It ain’t looking too good, man.
And then, in a less heavy but still real way, the orderliness of the world prior to sin nags at me. The floor and the dishes and the laundry is dirty again. There’s smelly trash to throw out. It’s great that it was all in order then, but it certainly isn’t right this second.
And that is why I rejoice that God has given us the entire Word that reveals Jesus as the Redeemer and returning King Who will restore everything (Revelation 21-22).
Still, I have a tendency to skip ahead when it comes to a lot of things. When I was growing up we always fast-forwarded through musicals if we didn’t like a song. Sometimes I’ll skip sections in books, too. The long John Galt lecture in Atlas Shrugged? The lengthy chapters on French architecture in The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Bye Felicia!
So yesterday morning as I reviewed I tried to really meditate on what Genesis one records instead of just whizzing past it to get on to the next three chapters. And now I’m wondering what took me so long to just slow down and marvel. Wowzers.
In the beginning the earth is “formless and void”. There’s darkness over the surface of the deep. God the Spirit is there, moving over the surface of the waters. Then, God speaks!
How quick I am to take the daylight for granted. A new dawn each morning. The sky above, declaring His glory daily (Psalm 19). The seas and the land and that they’re separated from each other. The plants exploding out of the ground in my backyard and the flour in my cupboard from wheat fields across the nation and produce from all around the world sitting in my fridge. All because God created plants and trees on the third day. Just a twenty minute drive to the aquarium and I can see a tiny fraction of the swarms of creatures who inhabit the ocean. He made those…every single one of them. I’m hearing a chorus of birds outside my window right now. My neighbors have dogs and cats whose original ancestors were brought forth by God speaking them into existence on the sixth day!
And then…God declares His purpose to create people in His image. That is fundamental to who we are as people. Philosophers and many others have pondered, written, and lectured, just trying to carve out the purpose of man’s existence. And here lies the answer. May we not leave it unopened!
Paul explains it clearly in the Areopagus address, ending with the call to repent and believe in Christ:
“The God who made the world and everything in it — He is Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Being God’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination. Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, God now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the Man He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” – Acts 17:24-31
Romans 1:20 tells us this:
“For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. As a result, people are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20
What He has made points us to Himself! The vast oceans full of life, the breathtaking snow-capped mountains, the galaxies we can’t even begin to explore. We all know it, whether we admit it or not…and He wants us to know. He isn’t hiding!
So as I’ve been considering how I want to dwell more deeply on what’s recorded in the first chapter of Genesis, it’s not as if I’m choosing to shut myself off from the current fallen state of the world. That wouldn’t be faithful to the full counsel of God. But what I am seeing is that God is high and holy and that His power and perfection can still be clearly seen in creation around me. I can praise Him for the way He created everything as good and the ways that goodness can be seen and touched and smelled and heard and tasted today.
Rather than focusing the bulk of my attention on the headlines and resenting the ongoing carousel of dirty dishes, I can praise God for His holiness and think more deeply on that. And I would encourage you to do likewise, so that we can grow together in our certainty of His great love for His children and the sure hope we have in Him.