Main Truth: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
Not too long ago I was hovering over the first few passages in Genesis for the zillionth time and noticed that the entire narrative arc of Scriptures can be neatly summed up in their first few pages. Wow! All of the obvious and repeated themes in Genesis chapters 1, 2, & 3 seem to be telling the story from start to finish: God the Creator, Our Human Identity, Our Human Vocation, God’s Provisions, God’s Instructions, The Fall, The Exile, and The Cure (spoiler alert in Gen. 3:15 ). All of these themes and more are introduced before we ever meet up with chapter four. And if we stare at our Bibles long enough, we might notice that every page after the first is simply retelling these primeval narrations in other clever ways. Over and over God inspires His chosen authors to reiterate the richness of these ancient Genesis texts throughout the subsequent Biblical books. It’s a clever literary device; especially when your audience is given to distractions. And from this handful of critical themes, God as Creator and our own Human Identities are foundational to the way we see God and ourselves. Without them, the rest of the Bible just wouldn’t make any sense.
The creation theme is central to both the Old and New Testaments: God bringing order from chaos, making the wild and wasted places into something optimal and full. Everything that exists sprang forth from the mind of God. And as the capstone of His creative works, only the humans were said to be made in the image of God. While this distinction lends significance to the human experience—it also assigns value to our existential lens. Through it we see ourselves as God’s masterpieces. And we could, if we wanted, see others this way too.
And unlike the other created beings, we alone can call forth similarly ordered works from the randomness of chaos as co-creators with God! To His delight we can sculpt beauty from crude stones; we can paint on blank canvases by calling forth our imaginations with our hands and a brush; we can write poetry, turning ideas into words that carry a power we can barely comprehend. (side note: A full one third of the Scriptures fall within the genre of poetry. Did you ever ask yourselves why?) In these ways and in so many others, God’s co-creative image bearers are carrying on with His Divine energies at work in their lives. Creation doesn’t stop at Genesis folks. It started there, to be sure, but its works are continued as God’s image bearers are called to conjure up beauty, generativity and wholeness in every living thing. It’s what we were made to do; and Its who we are. It would not be a stretch to say that our human identities are all wrapped up in the God of ongoing creation, and our ability to glorify Him as such.
Have you ever seen aspen leaves kicked up by an afternoon breeze? Your eyes squint, focusing on their vibrant luminaries; golden, quaking, and invoking your awe. A tree, by simply being a tree, is bringing glory to God. (Thomas Merton) How much more should we, God’s own image bearers, bring His majesty into focus by stepping into our own incarnational calls? By Identifying as our own uniquely created selves and functioning within the role of stewards over God’s good creation, we can corporately identify as those who brings order, wholeness and peace.
“Acquire the Spirit of Peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.” - Saint, Seraphim of Sarov.
Post Written by Gina Wheelock
Gina completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies in 2013 and has since began the process of earning her Master of Clinical Mental Health with the goal of serving a growing population of folks who have experienced spiritual abuse. Her passions are theology, psychology and good conversations around either of those topics. Gina is also a 52-year-old wife and mother of seven grown children and 16 grandchildren. She currently assists her husband Mike, who is the founder and CEO of Grayback Forestry. They have been quite busy in the last few years preventing and putting out wildfires all over the Pacific Northwest.