The story of creation. It’s one of the first stories we read in any children’s bible story book, and one of the first stories we teach our children. It’s such an elementary story that sometimes we miss the magnitude of what is happening.
This is the story of God creating the world. Picture that for a moment. Everything you see around you: from the beautiful sunrise to the flowers beginning to bloom, from hiking through the mountains to spending a day out on the lake, all of this is done by the handiwork of God. God spoke the world into existence. God breathed the breath of life into living creatures. God had this vision of what the world could be and then God made it a reality. I’m proud of myself when my garage door breaks and I’m able to order the parts online and fix it, or when a woodpecker puts a hole in one of the front columns of my house and I’m able to patch it up. But those things don’t even come close to creating the world. Creating something out of nothing. Creating beauty out of chaos.
So often, we hear the creation story and we get consumed with details, that while important, take us away from the beauty of what is happening. We argue over whether the days were literally twenty-four hour periods or longer, or we argue over whether the earth is a few thousand years old or hundreds of thousands of years.We start to argue about details of the story as if the Hebrew scriptures are a science text-book and not the story of God interacting with the world. These question are important in their proper place, but the story is not about the science behind the creation, but the beauty of creation. In this story there is no violence or chaos, like other ancient creation myths. Instead, in the Biblical story there is order and design. This beautiful world that we live in is a testimony to the God who made it. There is a creator, and there is a creation, and the very fact that there is a creation proves that there is a creator. There is one who spoke the world into existence, and who holds the world, the planets and all of life together. And this world, this beautiful wonderful world, is good.
The creation story is God’s first love song to the world. It is sung over the creation to bring it into being. It is sung over us to remind us of the beauty around us. God places repeating phrases into the text, helping the cadence move from one clause to the next.
- And then God said…
- And God saw that it was good…
- And there was evening and morning the first day, the second day…
These phrases turn this message from just a list of activities into a beautiful song of creation. Through the phrasing, we find ourselves pulled into the story of this beautiful world God is creating. This is not just a planet with land and water, trees and animals. This is a beautiful temple for God to dwell in. God chooses to dwell among the creation, to tabernacle with us, and to enjoy fellowship with the creation.
That’s why the creation is blessed. God doesn’t just create and walk away, or only give half-effort. God creates and blesses. God creates a beautiful world and then gives the world everything it needs to flourish. This is the love song of creation: the beautiful music that God is singing over the entire world.
God sees what is made and says, it is good. If the creation is good, then the beauty in creation is a reminder of God’s goodness. When we see the flowers beginning to bloom it is a reminder of God’s goodness. When we notice the sunset over the water, it is a reminder of God’s goodness. When we hike through the mountains or see the stars at night, it is a reminder of God’s goodness.
Thus the creation draws us into praise. It draws us into praise of the one true God. It draws us into awe and wonder as we recognize our place in the world. And it draws us into relationship with the creator of all good things.
It also reminds us of the new creation. It reminds us of the beauty of what once was, and the beauty of what will one day be. It reminds us that God is right now at this moment ushering in the new creation. And we can find hope in the knowledge that the beauty of what we see now is only a taste of the beauty that will one day be.
Thus we are reminded: in the beginning God created, and God saw all that was made and blessed it and declared, it is good.