Jesus, Lord of Creation*
The First Day
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. Genesis 1:1-5
Religions of the world have many different creation accounts, but only one is the revealed Word of God. In the beginning, God created. This creation is essential for understanding our lives, the world we inhabit, and the Christian faith. Each and every day we should look about and admire what the Creator has accomplished for us – from the soil teeming with microscopic life, insects, worms, reptiles, and mammals to the spangled skies above us, lit with stars, an occasional comet, and changed by the cycles of planets and our moon. Man, the paragon of all animals is the greatest wonder of Creation, with an amazing complexity of God-given intelligence, emotion, and faith.
The wise of the ages have debated the exact nature of this First Day, often in spite of the plain language of Scripture. God created out of nothing, ex nihilo among the theologians. Did God create this first matter, the earth which was formless, void, and dark? This is clearly answered in the Gospel of John, which declares of the Creating Word:
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:3
The Spirit of God moved, hovered, or brooded upon the waters of this water-planet. The Hebrew words can be read as “a mighty wind,” but that reading appeals most to those who deny the Creation and least to the harmony and unity of the Scriptures. The Creation in Genesis 1 is Trinitarian, just as the entire Bible is Trinitarian. One of the chief attributes of God throughout the Old Testament is Creator, whether we are reading Isaiah or Psalms. Although the nature of the Holy Trinity was not completely revealed until the time of Jesus, the hallmarks of the Triune God are present throughout the Old Testament.
The Aaronic blessing repeats The Lord three times. That is an odd way for an ancient leader to speak of God. And yet this was God's command to bless the children of Israel .
The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. Numbers 6:24-26
This three-fold blessing remains the primary ending of our liturgical service.
Since God commanded that His name be three-fold, we can see that His intention was to reveal the Triune nature of the One God in time. During the First Day, the Three Persons participate in the Creation, for the Son of God is the creating Word, the command of God.
And God said means “through the Creating Word, the Son of God.” The disciple closest to Jesus, John, revealed this his Creation Hymn:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. John 1:1
Only two books in the Bible have the same opening, which gives Genesis 1 and John 1 a unique bond, each one explaining the other, each one dependent upon the other. We cannot read the two Creation accounts apart from each other. John presupposes the Creation of Genesis while the first book of the Bible looks forward to the fulfillment of Creation in the redemption earned by the Creating Word, God incarnate.
If anyone is in doubt about the Son of God being the creating Word, another verses repeats the doctrine in another form.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. John 1:10
God created light first, separating light from darkness. Like every aspect of Creation, this far surpasses our ability to comprehend. We think of light and darkness being governed by the sun and moon, or at least by power and power outages. However, the creation of light preceded the fashioning of the sun, moon, stars, and planets.
Evening and morning made up the first 24 hour day. Ancient and modern skeptics have stumbled over this time period. They do not like 24-hour days, but this is the only possible meaning of the Hebrew word for day. One Yale professor was called Old Yom because he insisted the Hebrew word yom could only include 24 hours. The term does not mean an era or epoch, as he proved from the text. The great minds of the 19 th century wanted to lengthen the days to form a coalition with the Darwinists and evolution. They would allow for millions if not billions of years for Creation along the lines of evolution, giving God the slight honor for being extraordinarily slow in His work. This line of reasoning helped them feel safe among liberals,modernists, and others who shared their weak and sentimental attachment to the Bible.
This Munich Pact with the evolutionists did not keep the peace, showing how ardently people feel they must campaign against Genesis 1 and John 1. Any university scientist suspected of believing in Creation today is silenced, denied tenure, fired, or excommunicated in other ways, subtle or not. The issue is not so much the time element but Creation through the efficacy of the Word. Stretching out the time is another way of denying the power of God's Word to accomplish His will. Undermining Creation has been effective in weakening the foundation of our faith and the legal precepts of our country. Either God created or He did not. The Creation is divine only when divinely accomplished, not when reduced to man's understanding his science du jour .
Chaos Versus Order
People recognize that the natural state of man's world is chaos. If things do not begin in chaos, they quickly degenerate into chaos. For example, a home abandoned will have its windows broken and its furnishings trashed, its walls crumbling and its roof leaking. When we look at an abandoned house in a former ghost town like Jerome , Arizona , we think about the families that once lived there and then moved on after economic misfortunes.
Even occupied homes are in a constant state of breakdown and wear. Dirt accumulates. Appliances fail. Clothes and odd items accumulate in a jumble at an alarming rate. The surest sign of a chaotic mind is a home where tons of rubbish accumulate amid stacks of old papers and the filth of animals.
Someone's office, the scene of daily work, is also a filter catching every kind of rubbish, from old and current mail to scraps of food, paper, and books. Items defy identification, when the desk drawers are searched. Anonymous keys sit at the bottom of the drawer. Two padlocks, but the keys do not fit. There are some keys and they must be there for a reason. Here are batteries. They may be good or useless, so they are kept just in case they are needed. But there are only three AA batteries when four are required. One marker is dry. The other one is slowly leaking onto the liner paper. The permanent marker is grabbed to use on the erasable board at school. Three white boards are now tattooed with permanent black ink.
When people meet or try to govern any institution, conflict and confusion rule, even when rules are established for orderly business. Even with constitutions, Roberts Rules, and written statements of policies, people consume time and energy getting the least amount done. To solve the problem some assume dictatorial powers and rebellion breaks out, making matters worse than an autocrat could manage with the worst decisions.
In contrast, God's world is perfectly ordered, from the smallest detail to the largest. Man cannot perfect anything, but God's order is exquisitely detailed. When we look at man's handiwork under a scanning electron microscope, the finest craftsmanship betrays its flaws. The Swiss watch no longer looks so expensive. The gears appear misshapen and unbalanced, good enough for man but not up to God's standards. Every microscopic feature of an organism is a work of art in comparison. Red blood cells look like velvet pillows floating by. The focusing mechanism of the eye is maze of graceful lines, pulling and relaxing instantly and without effort. Cells betray greater complexity as we draw closer to their secrets, which man is trying to imitate in nanotechnology, an effort to create pumps, computers, and switches as tiny as those we take for granted in our own bodies.
The Right Order
Making coffee is a good example of the need for order. To make a pot, several steps must be taken or the enterprise will be a failure.
1. The coffee maker must be plugged in.
Sometimes the coffee grounds are forgotten, yielding a pot of fresh, hot water. Sometimes the water is forgotten, so the machine hisses in imitation of making a pot while turning itself off in frustration, due to the temperature override. If the plug is forgotten, nothing happens. If everything is done right and the pot is half-full, the fresh coffee pours all over the counter. If the coffee grounds basket does not catch right, the coffee also pours all over the counter. Once the coffee pot was empty and the counter was clean, in spite of taking all the necessary steps except #6. The dry counter remained a surprise until the roll of paper towels revealed a brown color, a soggy nature, and the aroma of fresh coffee.
A Question of Purpose
The question of purpose has captivated people for countless ages. In modern times, Viktor Frankl, asurvivor of Nazi work camps wrote Man's Search for Meaning , which is still a popular book, appreciated as much by college students now as it was 30 or more years ago. The very existence of a soul in every human being raises that question – what is man's purpose?
The study of God's creation raises the same question, but many times over, millions of times over. Even from the perspective of secular, non-religious study, no one has found a single item on this earth that does not have a purpose. Even the forces our weather systems have a purpose for the entire range of life. The snow covering the northern states protects far more than it harms. The interlocking crystals form the lightest possible blanket over the soil and plants, protecting from the desiccating winds of winter. Beneath the snow are myriads of dependent creatures that need the warming blanket to keep them through the coldest nights and days. When they create pockets and tunnels in the snow, a comfortable bedrooms and living rooms are formed, with gentle blue light streaming in above. Although many animals and plants become dormant, they do not cease to function. The Eskimo copy their wisdom and thrive in the worst climate of all, fed by those animals designed to match their fortitude in winter.
A snowy winter in the northern states is a prelude for a riotous spring, when all the plants and animals emerge to bud, flourish, feed, and reproduce. One feeds upon another. One lives for the other. The predator becomes the prey in endless cycles while solemn morticians take away the dead, as ants do, or sanitize the place of death, as all carrion creatures do, from the crow to the maggot. Scientists marvel at this interlocking infinity of dependencies but they cannot answer the purpose. They can only describe what they see.
Each believer in Creation – even in the varied and strange religions of the world – understands that these dependencies are all the foundation of life for man, that they exist for man and require man's care. When man shows his gratitude for Creation, he is well fed and sheltered. When he destroys the complexities of life or tries to defy the laws established at the beginning of time, he is destroyed, not by God but by himself.
In contrast to the snowy winters of the North, we have those regions where little rain, no snow, and too much sun may be found. In a desert valley, the scientists marvel that the cacti thrive on neglect by wearing a coat of wax on their skin, storing water above ground in their flesh, and waiting patiently for a few inches of rain each year. If a saguaro cactus (the familiar one with arms) gets infected with insects, birds will peck them out of the flesh. The saguaro needs this pest patrol just as much as the birds need the food. However, the saguaro shows its gratitude by building a wooden-shoe in the hollow where the hole was carved during feeding. Birds then take up lodging in this birdhouse and continue their work of protecting their home and enlarging their real estate.
People look at the desert as barren, remembering the sand dunes of Yuma , Arizona in Star Wars IV or the shifting sands of the Empty Quarter in Lawrence of Arabia . When church members built their home on the northern edge of Phoenix , near vacant land, a visitor from St. Louis commented on how perfectly landscaped the vacant lot was. The empty land was covered with an attractive array of desert plants, spaced so evenly that a landscape architect seemed to be involved from the beginning.
Scientists say that the animals and plants of the desert adapted to their harsh climate, without explaining how these creatures first planned and then executed the changes necessary for their new home. Midwesterners throw away their woolen coats and their galoshes, drink more water, and buy sun-blocker when they move to a desert. Did plants have a parlay before their trek and say, “We have to move to the desert, so we are going to produce skin wax and thorns”? Did the birds join a temperance league and forswear worms while changing their diets to insects?
The more we see the intricate chain of life on this earth, the more we understand how God has a purpose for each and every person. Although the weather, plants, and animals continue to serve their united purpose with a singular will, a divine will,man has the freedom to deny the purpose, reject any notion of a purpose, and live without serving anyone except himself. When a famous actor was asked whether his crippling accident had a higher purpose, he said, “No, it was just an accident.”
If we look at the lives of those writers whose work delights children and adults, we find that they had the most miserable childhoods or painful adult experiences. Rudyard Kipling was treated savagely as he grew up, put in special institutions for the children of people serving in India . Beating was a common form of discipline in those horrible dens of self-righteousness, but Kipling grew up to write children's stories we still love, from The Jungle Book to his Just So Stories . Hans Christian Anderson suffered in different ways but excelled everyone in his fabulous stories, so numerous that my two-volume collection is the size of two huge Bibles. E. Nesbit was treated like a dog by her husband but her stories are filled with delight and humor. Nesbit is so famous in England that professional writers make a point of reading her stories over again each year.
Samuel Johnson is one of the most quoted writers of the English language. His father's bankruptcy forced Samuel out of Oxford , where he was an exceptional student. Johnson was afflicted with poor eyesight, a neurological condition, and bouts of crippling depression. The world of English literature forgets that he was a Christian, but people can judge for themselves from the prayer he wrote in his journal:
O Lord, who wouldst that all men should be saved, and who Knowest that without thy grace we can do nothing acceptable to thee, have mercy upon me. Enable me to break the chain of my sins, to reject sensuality in word and thought, and to overcome and suppress vain scruples; and to use such diligence in lawful employment as may enable me to support myself and do good to others. O Lord, forgive me the time lost in idleness; pardon the sins which I have committed, and grant that I may redeem the time misspent, and be reconciled to thee by true repentance, that I may live and die in peace, and be received to everlasting happiness. Take not from me, O Lord, thy Holy Spirit, but let me have support and comfort for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
Just as plants, animals, and the weather are linked together in an endless chain of dependencies, so are we humans, as often as we try to break that chain and form a new and man-centered one. People rush into all kinds of folly searching for that certitude they found so tedious in the Christian faith. Their mad pursuit of eco-religion, meditation, and paganism reflect the simple words of Augustine, the greatest orator of the Roman Empire , the most famous pagan of his time, the rebellious son who seemed immune to the prayers of his Christian mother Monica. In his Confessions , Augustine wrote:
“Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”
(C) All rights reserved. This website was designed and constructed by Norma Boeckler in 2006.
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This is a sample of my artwork entitled "The Beauty of Spring." This was the theme painting for a one-artist show in Melbourne, Australia in 2004.