The first few chapters of Genesis. A short block of text covering a HUGE amount of content.
You know, just the creation of the universe, initiation of life, the start of humanity.
Then one of the most significant events in human history (perhaps second only to the work of Christ, which was, in a sense, in response to this) – the fall. Followed by the banishing from Eden – our loss of an effectively perfect environment, and the condemnation of humanity to suffer and have difficulty.
But then there’s always this weird paradox for the Christian – this world is in labor pains, and everyone is sinful. The very creation itself is groaning for renewal (on that, I think Christians need to be environmentally conscious to try to redeem our poor custodianship of creation a little) – things are messed up. We know we are to be in but not of this world, and that we are to focus not on worldly pleasures but those in heaven. We are to forgo material concerns.
As almost any pastor worth his salt would remind you that even though there is sacrifice, the Christian walk is one of joy and fulfilment that cannot be found anywhere else. But there’s still that thing – the creation was good, and is still very enjoyable. There are lots of things, even in a broken and fallen world, that are good.
You’ll notice that it keeps popping up; “it was good.” As God goes on, creating land, plants, the celestial sphere, sea creatures and birds, and land creatures. Each of those things has a statement that God, in his correct judgement, deemed EACH ELEMENT of creation as good, on it’s own terms.
Then, at the end of the period, God creates humankind. God puts someone in his own likeness, to rule over the creation. What a MASSIVE privilege that is – firstly to be made in the image of God, and then also to be trusted as custodians and rulers of his astounding world.
That’s a massive challenge to me as it is – I fall far short of this calling. And so does everybody else. But that’s no excuse, really – I definitely need to work harder at replicating the just and holy rulership of God in the world he has placed us over.
But here’s the interesting thing – at the end of chapter one, we see this;
“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.”
The interesting thing is in the difference – we already knew everything in creation was good. My conjecture is that this “everything he had made” doesn’t just mean all the bits, individually. It means as a slick, well-oiled machine, a compound whole, it was not just good, but VERY good. There’s something about the order and the way it all relates that is inherently good.
You may have seen where this is going – maybe the difference between then and now, is this order or relationship. All the elements are still here, and the things are still good and we can enjoy them.
But in the fall, there was a mixup of the way things creation related to itself. Humanity looked to jump outside the created order, as did Satan. Adam and Eve focused on themselves rather than God effectively worshipping creation over the creator. And this dilemma is still here today – we idolise and fawn over things that we should not. We always distort the order – things are still good, but not VERY good in the same way they were in Eden, when the order was all properly aligned.
And I’m stoked for heaven, where the relationship between creator and created, as well as creature to creation, will be redeemed. It will be VERY good.