“And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” God included a rest day in the created order, so how do we think we can work seven days a week without someone or something suffering somehow from labors that do not follow the created order? If you are not taking a day of rest, what do your relationships with your family, friends, and co-workers look like? How is your health?
“The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” In the NETBible it is pointed out that this first command in which God gives man a daily calling and purpose only included caring for and tending the garden. Cultivating the soil was something that came after man decided to disobey God’s command not to “eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” The world was such a different place before man chose to disobey God. Man’s disobedience has brought so much suffering into this universe that people today (and in times past) want to blame God for all their troubles. God’s first calling and purpose for man was, in my mind, fantastic. God knew what would be best for us to do. By disobeying him, in effect choosing our own calling and purpose, life became much harder than God intended it to be. Isn’t this a classical human dilemma? How often do we ignore the wise advice of people who have learned the best way to do something through dire experience when we are trying that same thing for the first time? All of us dislike the ‘I told you so’ comment that usually follows when you fail because you have chosen to do it your way.
“It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” The word ‘helper’ in the NIV translation can also be translated as ‘indispensable companion’ (NETBible). Many husbands and wifes don’t understand or sometimes forget this verse: the woman is not the man’s subordinate. Instead, she makes the man complete . . . and notice that the ‘suitable helper’ that God makes for the man is a woman . . . perhaps not the most political correct message . . . but then the Bible was never meant to be politically correct.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Wow . . . what a loaded statement. I think one of the reasons so many of us (those of us who have had exposure to the Bible and its message) have a problem with some of the teachings of the Bible is that we carelessly read over this first verse. We have been brainwashed to embrace the world’s (people and institutions outside the church) ideas about origins as the only logical explanation for how this universe came to be and why it is in the state it is in. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” may also be the source of some tough questions like ‘If God did create the universe, why do we see so much evil and suffering?’ or ‘If we have been created by a Supreme Being, does this Being, God, have expectations of us?’ I want to challenge you to read the whole Bible because the answers to these questions are contained in its pages.
Isn’t it amazing how orderly and logical God creates everything? ‘Orderly and logical‘ based on what we know about the natural world as it is described in the body of knowledge called ‘science‘. First God creates light, secondly the sky, thirdly dry ground and the ocean, and right after that plants, fourthly the sun, moon, and the stars, fifthly all creatures living in the ocean, and sixthly all creatures living on land, and then human beings – great logic if you are left-brained like me. However, the creation account is not only for left-brained people: the beauty and splendor of creation should satisfy even the most right-brained person amongst us.
The Bible makes some extreme statements, wonderful in their extremity, about our human identity:
- Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
What makes human beings different from the rest of the created organisms? We have been made in God’s likeness. Wow! On a side note, the Bible isn’t saying that we are God, like some people believe. Instead, the way we as humans relate to each other in positive relationships, the kind that makes you a better person, shows us something of how God would like us to relate to Him and other people. Of course God gives us an example of what relationship should look like in the Trinity, but that is a discussion for another day.
There are so many more things that can be said about this passage, but this time around, the things mentioned above stood out to me.
The purpose of this blog is not to argue the reliability, authenticity, and authority of the Bible – although, in all fairness, it will probably be addressed as I journey through the Bible. Instead, I am going to comment on verses that stand out for me on this journey.
Feel free to comment on what I have to say, or to add your own reflections on these verses as comments. If you choose to disagree with me, please do so in a way that respects the fact that I am but a student of the Bible, and that I am convinced of the reliability, authenticity, and authority of the Bible. However, I am more than willing to hear and respect what you have to say. Please keep in mind that it is hard to accepts someone’s words when they are delivered in a harsh manner, especially when they disrespect the other person’s worldview. I may comment on a worldview different than mine but I commit to do it in a respectful manner.
Ultimately the purpose of this blog is to marvel about the miraculous richness contained in the pages of the Bible.