November 12, 2005

The Story of Creation

1545 page14 capAVE YOU EVER FELT EMPTY? THAT dark void of nothingness that sometimes makes you wonder why you are here? A need to be filled with something bigger than yourself? It's as much a part of who we are as is our heart. Let's take a look at the story of creation and, with appropriate "poetic license," make it personal.

Genesis 1:2 says: "Now the earth was formless and empty."* This perfectly describes that aimless empty feeling that comes with questions of who am I, and am I really living or just existing?

"Darkness was over the surface of the deep" (verse 2). This emptiness can feel like a dark hole. It leads to desperation, something that most of the world is running from. We load our lives with work, entertainment, and food, hoping such activities will fill the void that threatens to swallow us whole. The only problem is that God made that space just for Him. Nothing else we do will come close to filling it, because nothing else can take God's place.

The last part of verse 2 is important: "and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Hovering like an eagle on the wind, God is there, watching, waiting for us to let Him create in us something wonderful and good. He is waiting to fill us with His love and strength. He is hovering, not smothering--waiting close enough to help but without snuffing out our free will.

Gentle as the Sunrise
"And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light" (verse 3).

Wow! God made light without a source! There was no sun, moon, or stars. God could have created everything on the first day, but God took His time. He was gently taking the earth from nothing to everything.

1545 page14Look at this from the concept of a sunrise. Early in the morning, watch the eastern sky and notice a slight change as the dark of night slowly and gently lightens a little at a time, always getting brighter. Only when your eyes have easily adjusted does the sun actually rise. Compare that to the blinding light switched on in the middle of the night. Both help us see, but one is gentle.

Now look at this first light as understanding, and make this verse personal. See why having it come gently but steadily is better than being blasted with it? When you blast someone with light they squint, close their eyes, and look away. Basically, they fight it. No one fights the gentle rising of the sun or the gentle accumulation of understanding and wisdom.

The first day of creation concludes with verse 4: "God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness." The light of God's understanding will cast out the darkness of doubt and fear.

When the Water Rises
Day two of creation can also be made personal. God took the waters and divided them, creating an expanse. Verses 6-8 explain how God formed the sky. We don't have a personal sky, of course, but many of us have troubled waters. Times in our lives when the waters rise, as things we need to do increase until we feel as if we can't keep our heads above them. Other times we get broadsided by a rough wave of calamity or tragedy.

Even then God is still at work, and if you let Him, He will make a space, a sky of peace, in your heart--"the peace of God, which transcends all understanding" (Phil. 4:7).

Growing Stronger
Then God took it a step further on the third day, in Genesis 1:9-13. He gathers the waters together and calls forth dry ground. God did more than just give us a place to stand. He gave us gifts. Gifts of the Spirit that bear fruit when we stay firmly connected to Him.

Just as the land through its rich and nutritious soil brings forth vegetation and trees, and vines bear fruit, we also can bear the fruit of the Spirit when we're grounded in, and nurtured by, the richness of God's love. Yet just as the harvest is not ready the day after the seed is planted, so each of us needs to be patient as we daily grow stronger and fuller in the Lord.

Always There for Us
On day four God created the "lights in the expanse of the sky" (verse 14).

Notice that God made light, then land, sea, and vegetation. Now, vegetation needs light to live, and yet it wasn't until the fourth day, according to a literal reading of Genesis 1:14-16, that God created the sun and moon. Verses 14-19 give all the details, but let's focus on these two key phrases: "God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night" (verse 16).

The sun and moon are always giving us light, but often clouds hide them. Just so our problems can hide or dim our view of God if we let them. What we must remember is that, like the sun, God is always there.

The Bible is our clearest and strongest source of information about God's character, love, grace, and mercy, and we might think of it as the sun. The lesser light also shines, or more accurately reflects, the greater light of love. In this sense nature could be considered as the moon. The intricate detail God put into even the least life form on the planet is incredible. And even in their sin-damaged state, they reflect His love.

The second phrase we're focusing on is in verse 18: "to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness." What better way to describe the role of the Bible than that? The light that shines forth from its pages shows us truth from error, separating light from darkness.

Every Detail Covered
On the fifth day God created all the sea creatures and all the birds of the air, the first of His creation with brains, as I like to think of it. This is interesting, but it doesn't capture the attention as much as the idea that God is into details. Recent discoveries in the depths of the ocean have shown us an entire ecosystem that no one knew even existed. Nothing was overlooked, and nothing ever will be, including the tiny details of our lives.

Think about how many times in your life you would actually see all the different types of sea creatures--or even birds--were it not for specialized parks or television nature channels. Yet even though we may never know about them, they're there. God didn't leave anything blank. He didn't just leave the seas and skies empty. He filled them. And He can do the same for us. He can fill our loneliness and our emptiness. Not just with Himself, although that would be enough, but also with others, so we can all be blessed.

There are parts of you that no one will ever see but God. Do you want them to be empty or teeming with life?

Humans--God's Crowning Act
Verses 24 and 25 tell us what happened on day six: God spoke the animals into existence. Isn't it interesting that they are actually listed: "livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." This gives us a glimpse of God's love of variety. He created variety in everything--something to ponder the next time someone wants to do something different.

Verses 26-31 conclude God's work with the creation of humanity--man and woman. "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (verse 27). God blessed them and gave them their purpose for existence (verse 28). But chapter 2 of Genesis gives us more detail about humanity's creation. Verse 7 specifically explains how God got down in the dust and formed man with His own hands. Then He leaned over the form of man and breathed into him the breath of life, and he "became a living being." Those same details include the specifics of Eve's creation: He used His hands also to create Eve from Adam's rib (verses 18, 21, 22).

I see this all as very important. So many of us need that personal touch. And we need companionship. Not only knowing (intellectually) that we're not alone, but actually sensing it.

God still offers His touch to us today. And He made a special day each week when we can feel that touch more fully. The seventh day of creation is often overlooked because all God did was rest from His creative work and bless it. But is that really all He did? Think about this in a practical sense for a moment. It was God who created the entire concept of having a day off--a time everyone yearns for, whether they believe in God or not.

Yet God didn't do it just so sinful humanity could go do their own thing. He did it so that on the seventh day of every week everything else can dim, and we can focus on Him. A special time when we can seek His touch, seek His face, and experience His love in a fuller measure.

It's a Date!
God is with us every day. Even in the beginning He knew that with all the things we would need to do to survive, we'd need a day to just be with Him. It's not just a day off. It's a date! That's right. You have a weekly date with the Creator of the universe! God--with all His power, angels, and other created beings--wants to spend time with us!

I challenge you to again read the first two chapters of Genesis and see for yourself all the ways God gently and slowly took nothing and made it into everything we need today. And remember that when it came time for the most important part of creation--us--He got down in the dirt and made us by hand.

The message? No matter how dirty or unworthy you think you are, remember that God is not afraid of dirt.

*All scriptural quotes are from the New International Version.

Juli Blood is a mother and wife who writes from Hanover, Pennsylvania.