In the beginning, God said….
The word of God is his unlimited creative power. The universe and all that is in it came into being by mere utterance from God’s lips. “God said, ‘Let there be…’, and there was….” Out of nothing, something.
Man can create only out of pre-existent matter. I once worked with a man who refused to use the word create in reference to anything man-made. He argued that to create implies making something from nothing and that therefore only God can create. It was an argument of semantics, but the argument had its merits. Man can dream and design and invent incredible things, but he is forever limited to the materials at hand. God, on the other hand, speaks matter into existence.
But does God speak today? We give lip-service to his voice. We say that he speaks through his people, the Bible, the Holy Spirit, circumstances…. But do we really believe that it is truly the voice of God, or do we hear only his instrument, one speaking for God? Would I pay closer attention to the Sunday sermon if I really believed I was hearing the vox dei, the voice of God? Would I give more credence to my wife’s wise counsel if I really believed it was the creative Voice of the universe coming from her lips? How have we wandered so far out of range of God’s call?
When he finished speaking the world into existence, God walked in Eden with his finest creation, Man and Woman. They walked together throughout the garden, enjoying the cool evening breezes and the chance to talk amongst themselves. Theirs was a deep, intimate relationship, like—but far greater than—a father’s relationship with his grown children. You can almost hear Adam and Eve enjoying a good laugh with God about the names they gave the animals….
Father, get a load of this guy! We just burst out laughing when we
saw him, so we called him “hyena!”
Oh, Adam! Tell him about the great big one with the long
nose. He needed a REALLY big name—elephant!
They talked about farming and ranching, sunrises and sunsets, about all they had done during the day and the thoughts they’d had. Then one day it all changed. God came for his nightly stroll, but the kids weren’t there. He wandered among the cornstalks and the berry patches and the fruit trees, calling their names and listening for the sound of their voices. All he heard was the frightened beating of their hearts thundering across the valley. Slowly, tentatively, they poked their heads above the bushes they were hiding behind. Tears—the first ever to fall on Eden’s soil—stained their cheeks.
Here we are, Lord. We were embarrassed for you to see us naked.
The all-knowing Creator choked back his own tears as he asked, Who told you you were naked? And then the story and the tears flowed together as the man and his wife told of the serpent and the fruit and their motives and their fears. But Father, they pleaded, we only wanted to be more like you. And God banished Adam and Eve from the garden…but not from his heart. And as those last words of the curse rang in their ears, the First Family walked slowly away. And ever since, mankind has struggled to hear God’s voice plainly again.
Great post – it really puts me back there in the garden!
I’m trained as an engineer, so I’ve done a great amount of thinking about creation and design as exercised by God and man. I personally think that is OK to use the words create and creativity in reference to men. Since we are created in God’s image, I believe that God has given man some version of His creative ability, although it is greatly reduced because of the fall. I also believe that “create” doesn’t only refer to creating something out of nothing, but can refer to bringing something into existence that never existed before. However, I’m not a Hebrew scholar so I don’t know what are the exact meanings of the use of the word create in Genesis.
Once again, great post. If you have time and inclination for writing for publication, you might consider expanding it to article length!
Thanks for your comments, Bill … especially the suggestion to publish. I am actually working right now on an article for publication in a major journal (they have accepted my initial query, saying they’ll consider an article, but no promises). Your prayers regarding that would be greatly appreciated. The article is about a church conflict, so it necessarily involves some sensitive issues. I pray that my writing will be clear, grace-filled, and effective in steering other churches away from the mistakes we made.
I will pray for you regarding that. We’ve worked through a lot of conflict in our church the last couple years, and have learned a ton. That doesn’t make it any easier. If you need a reviewer let me know.