Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Creation Story

Having told a series of stories communicating the story of Jesus we now want tell a series of Old Testament stories that will give us the background story to the story of Jesus. We start where the Bible starts with God in the beginning. Watch the video and or listen to the story on audio and then read the commentary below.
In the beginning God, who existed independently from creation, created the heavens and the earth. God’s Spirit was hovering over the uninhabitable deep dark waters (verse 2) and God began forming an environment perfectly suited for life. By His ‘Word and Spirit’ God ordered the world and determined to live among the people He created in His own image to be His ‘royal representatives’ on the earth. The lengths of the days of creation are a matter of debate among Christians. Some see Genesis 1 as straight forward historical narrative while others believe the repetitive language indicates that the account is poetic. We can avoid this controversy by focusing on the principle message of Genesis 1. Genesis 1:1 introduces the story, and in Genesis 1:2 we find God’s Spirit ready to initiate God’s creative activity according to God’s word. On the first three days God created specific domains or spheres and in days four through six God began to fill or populate those particular spheres.

On the first day God created light which he called day and separated the light from the darkness which he called night. On the second day God created an expanse which he called ‘sky’ separating the waters above from waters below. On the third day God gathered the waters under the ‘sky’ and dry ground appeared which he called land and the land produced vegetation. Now on the fourth day God began filling these domains by creating the sun, moon and stars to mark out seasons, years and days. Here the two ‘great lights’ are assigned the role of ‘governing’ the day and night which God created on day one. On the fifth day, God filled the waters below which He created on day two with fish and sea creatures, and birds filled the sky. On the sixth day God fills the land that he had formed on day three with various living creatures. Again on the sixth day, God determined to make mankind, male and female, in His own image. So both men and women equally bear the image of God and are to reflect the character and creative activity of their ‘Creator’.

The word good (Gen. 1:4, 9, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) is used repeatedly here and refers principally to functionality. When God said it was ‘not good’ for the man to be alone (Gen. 2:18) He meant that the arrangement was not yet suited for God’s purpose. When God declared the world ‘very good’ He meant that it was now perfectly suited for man to do God’s will on the earth. God demonstrated His good intention toward mankind by giving man plants and trees as his renewable food source. Moreover, God gave His ‘royal representatives’ authority to rule as God’s wise stewards over all the creatures and all the earth. God finished creating and He set apart the seventh day as holy because on it rested from His work of creating. God made and ordered our world in such a way that mankind, His image, could live in God’s presence and do God’s will. As God’s stewards man was, and still is, to exercise God’s dominion by reflecting God’s character and imitating God’s creative activity. Mankind fell from God’s favor and was expelled from God’s presence. Now it is through Jesus Christ, God’s ‘very image’ (2 Cor.4:4) that we are restored to God’s original purpose. Moreover, those trusting Jesus are being renewed after the image of God (Eph.4:24, Col.3:10) and conformed more and more into the image of God’s son (Rom.8:29).   

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