Monday, January 26, 2015

Made... To Flourish

God said, “Now let Us conceive a new creation—humanity—made in Our image, fashioned according to Our likeness. And let Us grant them authority over all the earth—the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, the domesticated animals and the small creeping creatures on the earth.” 
So God did just that. He created humanity in His image, created them male and female. Then God blessed them and gave them this directive: “Be fruitful and multiply. Populate the earth. I make you trustees of My estate, so care for My creation and rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that roams across the earth.” Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant that grows on the earth and every fruit-bearing tree. They will be your food and nourishment. As for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and every small creeping creature—everything that breathes the breath of life—I have given them every green plant for food. And it happened just as God said. (Genesis 1:26-30)  
The Eternal God planted a garden in the east in Eden—a place of utter delight—and placed [Adam] there. In this garden, He made the ground pregnant with life—bursting forth with nourishing food and luxuriant beauty. He created trees, and in the center of this garden of delights stood the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil... The Eternal God placed the newly made man in the garden of Eden in order to work the ground and care for it. (Genesis 2:8-9; 15)  
It is not good for the man to be alone, so I will create a companion for him, a perfectly suited partner… At last, a suitable companion, a perfect partner.
Bone from my bones. Flesh from my flesh. I will call this one “woman” as an eternal reminder
that she was taken out of man. Now this is the reason a man leaves his father and his mother, and is united with his wife; and the two become one flesh. In those days the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Genesis 2:18; 23-25)  
“Then they heard the sound of the Eternal God walking in the cool misting shadows of the garden. (Genesis 3:8) 
We see at least three areas in which humanity’s purpose, planning and intention is revealed:
  • Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth ("Make more of you!")
  • Be trustees of creation ("Make the earth look like this!")
  • Live in shalom with God, each other, and the world
This Hebrew word, shalom, means peace in at least four ways: With God, within, with others, and with the world. That’s what you see in Eden. And God basically said to Adam and Eve, “Do you see what we have here? Recreate it everywhere you go." John Walton says the beginning of Genesis is meant to show how God built the earth as a Temple where He took up residence at the end of His creation. We are given the responsibility and privilege of going into all the world and doing a kind of spiritual terraforming as we show the world what Eden looks like.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Made…In God's Image

When we were kids, we had this kind of instinctive question: “What is that for?” We’d walk into the shed, or the kitchen, or the store and just point and ask. Eventually we’d ask that question from the shower, and then things got awkward.  But it’s a great question. We want to know what a thing is for, what it’s supposed to do, how it is supposed to be used.  We call this design: “purpose, planning, or intention that exists or is thought to exist behind an action, fact, or material object.”

We want to know this design because we recognize that if we don’t understand what something if for, things can go bad quickly. We don't walk into the pharmacy when we are sick and just pull something off the shelf and hope it works. We need to know what it is designed to do so that we can know what it is intended to accomplish, and how we can effectively use it for that purpose.

There’s a difference between what we can do with something and what we should do with something. When we use them within the design, they flourish; when we use them outside of the design, they fall apart. 
  • I can use a hammer to put screws into my deck, but that will break the screws, because they were not made to be hammered.
  • I can use my hammer as a poker in a fireplace, but it will hurt the hammer, because it’s not made to stir hot coals.
  • I can use a hammer on nails, and all is well.
The stakes are higher, of course. I should use my lungs to inhale oxygen; I can use my lungs to inhale lots of other things. I should use my teeth to chew food; I can tear off bottle caps or pull a train with a rope. I should use my words to speak truth and bring life; I can lie and leave devastation behind me if I so choose.