Read: Genesis 1:1-2:15
The creation story may be one of the most recognizable stories in the whole of Scripture. It has led to countless conversations and debates on how it scientifically happened and just how long ago it occurred. Our Western minds crave for the scientific detail and want to know without a shadow of a doubt how and when it all happened…. but what if we shifted our perspective? The near-eastern (the designation of the ancient Hebrew people) culture, literature, and thought process was so much different than ours. Instead of approaching the creation story looking for details as we would in a textbook or scientific study what if we approached it as a story and sought what this narrative is trying to communicate? Just like every good story the creation narrative is unfolding a truth about the main character in the story, and in this case, the main character is God. So what does the creation story, being placed at the beginning of Scripture to lay the foundation, tell us about the God who we will see throughout all of Scripture?
In these verses we see a God that is not distant and disconnected but one that is close and involved in his creation. We see a God with the power to create the massiveness of the cosmos while also having the care and gentleness to create the smallest of creatures. We see a God that approaches the creation of humanity as an artist and craftsman rather than a mass manufacturer. We encounter a God that steps back from his work over and over and delights in it and recognizes its goodness. We witness the character of a God that does not dominate over, coerce, or enslave, but rather invites his creation into his own work of propagating, tending to, and stewarding, while also modeling what rhythms of resting look like when the work is done. We can glean that he is a God that extends trust and has confidence in the good of the people he has created. We see a God whose ultimate will is to have a loving and intimate relationship with his creation.
This is the God that the writers of the creation narrative wanted the reader and ultimately the people that follow this God to know and be able to recognize throughout the entire story of scripture as well as in their own lives. Knowing that from the very beginning of creation as we know it, this is the character of the God that wants a relationship with us, is such good news.
Heavenly Father, we glorify you as the creator of all things. You spoke and the universe came into existence, You spoke and there was light. Later, at your command, flowers, trees, and plants sprang from the ground, the seas teemed with living things and the earth with living creatures. Then, as an artist does, you formed humankind in your image and breathed your very life into us. Help us to know that this is the kind of God you are and open up our eyes to see you through your story in scripture. Reveal to us how you are working in our lives and call us to your good news.
- What is one thing that stood out to you in this passage?
- How often have you approached this scripture scientifically and how often narratively?
- Why is it important for our understanding of Scripture to be able to understand the perspective and approach of the writers?
- Does this narrative approach change how you view this passage?
- Why is it important to see the character of God in the creation narrative?
- How does this perspective of the scripture shape the way we might approach the rest of the Gospel story?