In the Beginning…

God created…

Even people who don’t know much about the Bible probably know where these words come from. It is Genesis 1:1, the very first verse in the Bible. In almost every English translation it reads the same way, “In the beginning God created…”

I’ve been sitting on Genesis chapter one for a project I’m working on. So many amazing things to see and contemplate in the creation narrative. But I keep coming back to two things.

God was there. In the book of Revelations God is called, the beginning and the end. He predates creation. He predates time. It’s hard enough to wrap my head around eternity future. Eternity past is beyond me.

But like so many other God characteristics, my lack of understanding does not change the truth. God is the Great I Am. He was and is and is to come.

Also, the very first recorded act of scripture is that God created. This is so encouraging to me, because later on in Genesis chapter one, we read that mankind is created in God’s image. He created us with the potential to create. Sit on that for a while.

I would like to think that we are reflecting Him well when we create. What is your creative talent? Figure it out. It’s there. Maybe it isn’t sculpture or painting, but it’s there. My husband likes to draw floor plans for houses. He would swear that he’s not creative. Yet, I live in one of those creations.

There is peace and satisfaction as we reflect the characteristics of the Lord of creation, whether it is in His love and grace or in His creativity.

All that change

I’ve noticed that a few of our maple trees had not released all their leaves. I’m not sure how rare this is, but it is not something I have not noticed before. Today, I noticed that new leaves are forming on those trees, yet the leaves have not dropped.

I don’t know what this means for my tree, but it is a graphic reminder of how we can divide ourselves between moving forward and holding on to the past. I don’t know if my trees will be limited in some way until those leaves drop. But I know I do not want to limit myself by holding on to the familiar and failing to reach out to what God is calling me to.

Change is part of the natural order of things. The young grow. The old grey. The snow melts and the wildflower bloom. The sand dunes reshape with the wind and rain. The caterpillars turn into butterflies. Forest fires devastate, and yet are needed for some plants to reproduce.

Somehow, though, it seems that the human is the only species to resist change.

Here’s my theory. God made it harder for us, so that we would realize our need for Him. When we trust Him, really trust Him, change gets easier. Knowing that His plan is always for our good makes it easier to step out in faith.

So, let go of the old leaves and focus on the new growth. Those old leaves are only good for fertilizer anyway.


God came down

I love the story of creation. Some well meaning people, even in our churches, excuse creation. They think some combination of evolution and God’s hand in it is probably more accurate. You can’t argue with all that science.

I disagree. Personally, I think the fact that I don’t understand how God does something makes it that much more plausible. After all, I don’t really even understand my own body most of the time. Somewhere I heard this, “If God were small enough for me to understand, He would not be big enough for me to worship.” This applies to creation. At least, for me it does.

I love that God spoke and it happened. “Let there be light… and there was light.” He makes it sound so easy. For Him it was. For Him it should be. Incidentally, He created light on day one, but didn’t create the sun, moon and stars until day four. He created light without a source. Try wrapping your head around that one.

But when it came to people, God came down.

“Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)

Why? Why would an all powerful God who spoke the whole universe into existence come down to earth and get His hands dirty making man? I think it’s because man means something more to Him. If you keep reading about creation, you will see that God made a special garden for man, He gave him specific responsibilities, and He gave him a lot of freedom and one command.

And He came down and walked with Adam and Eve. He created man to have a relationship with Him.

I have been studying the story of Jonah. One of the things that stands out to me is that God commands the creation at every turn. He controls the storm, He controls the great fish– maybe even created it just for this purpose– He causes a plant to grow, He brings a worm to eat the plant.

But He does not control Jonah. Jonah has free will. Of course, God gives Jonah a command, but Jonah runs. And even after his experience with the fish, he goes to Nineveh, but his attitude is all wrong.

God speaks to him. He works with him. He shows great compassion on Jonah. It seems to me that God wants Jonah to understand His great love for people. And He still loves Jonah, even when he really doesn’t get it.

You can see God coming down and getting His hands dirty with man all through the Bible. Ultimately, He comes down as Jesus Christ. He did not come down to save the monkeys or the trees or the snowy owls.

He came for mankind, the creation of His hands, the ones that He loves.

Because He wants to

Psalms 147:15-18

“He sends forth His command to the earth;
His word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes.
He casts forth His ice as fragments;
Who can stand before His cold?
He sends forth His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow and the waters to flow.”

I found 24 uses of the word “snow” in my New American Standard Bible. Eleven of the them were used in similes, as in, “like snow” or “as snow.” Really, the Bible doesn’t speak much about actual snow. So, my mind perks up when I come across one.

A few weeks ago, there was a fantastic frost. You can see it it in the picture above (which is available for purchase in the gallery). Amazing! That’s all I can say about it. It made my whole day. The sunshine was nice too.

But why? Why does God care to “scatter” such beauty?

I can’t say I really know. Like others, I would have to say, “Who can know the mind of the Lord?” But I would like to think He just wants to.

We are created in God’s image according to Genesis. Now this doesn’t mean that He is just like us, but we do reflect Him. And one of the most amazing things about human beings is that we can be creative. It is one of the ways we reflect God best, I think.

The people I know who are most creative just enjoy it. They aren’t too concerned about making money at it or if anyone sees it. They enjoy it because it is part of who they are.

Our God is a creator. He enjoys it. So the next time you see that freshly fallen snow or you see frost or the autumn colors or that buck or bear, think about that. The God of the universe blesses us everyday with beauty just because He wants to.

Wisdom and the Creation

From I Kings:

29 Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. 30 Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. 31 For he was wiser than all men… and his fame was known in all the surrounding nations. 32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005. 33 He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish. 34 Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom.

If you don’t know, King Solomon of Israel was renowned for his wisdom. The story goes that when Solomon became king of Israel, God asked him what he wanted most. Solomon asked for wisdom. Because of this, God also blessed him with riches and fame. You can read all about that on your own in the biblical book of First Kings.

What I find interesting is that Solomon also knew all about the creation. In a quick bit of study, I learned that other versions of the Bible translate the hebrew word for “spoke” into “taught”. He knew this stuff and he talked about it.

For just a moment this morning as I read these verses, I felt like I could relate to this ancient Israelite king. Like we might bump into each other down along the Boardman River and excitedly share our pics of the day. We might tell each other where we could see an otter playing or an eagle’s nest.

And then that sassy side of me wonders: Does wisdom come from studying the creation? Or is the study of the creation just a practice of the wise?

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