In the beginning God created...
The heavens and the earth, the sun and moon, the seas that teem with living things, and the mammals with their furry pelt that feed upon grass and berries. Filling the atmosphere with every winged creature, and star-speckled space beyond our skies, gravity miraculously holding it all together. He caused the moon to move a steady pathway around the globe, creating the tide pull and the ocean's yielding response, lapping upon the shoreline, caressing each grain of intentionally designed sand.
All this God created - And it was very good.
And yet more vast than creation is the creative nature of God Himself - The One who spoke everything into existence, including mankind in His image.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
Halfway home my middle child confessed, "I didn't bring my spelling book home and I have a test tomorrow." We turned around and drove to school again. Walking together toward his class we passed the art room with the door ajar, and I saw the sign hanging, pronouncing,
In the beginning God created...
That dear woman who teaches my children art saw me then, and I looked into her eyes and told her what I had just learned, what I'm now tell you: We were made in the image of this Creator God. She nodded back. "That's what I tell the children."
There is a movement abreast in the Christian community, specifically among women, where God's created people are opening up His Word and creatively responding back within the pages of their Bibles. For years we've dared write within the margin spaces, like a conversation with the Holy Spirit. But in recent months many have taken to doing something even riskier than write... they've dared create on those pages. With watercolors and pencils, creative women are reflecting God the creator as the moon reflects the sun. Light bouncing off light-bearers. And there's been no better time in history for paint to splatter thin Bible pages then right now, for Instagram and Facebook carry the images to the rest of us like a visual Bible Study.
Inspired, I decided to try my hand at it as well.
As I read again God's creation story, I thought of Aslan breathing green shrubs out of a naked orb in "The Magicians Nephew," the classic children's tale by C.S. Lewis that precedes his famous "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." It's always been one of my favorite interpretations of creation, with the King of Creation singing it forth, and the whole planet responding to his hot breath.
Most people I know get hung-up on those first six days, wanting to understand each 24 hours and carbon dating and evolution and how literal we are supposed to read each word. But that's not my bag. I am fine with a literal interpretation, but I am equally all right if God, in His creative majesty, elongated the hours into millennia... At the core, God created - and down to my core, I believe.
Here is where I struggle: Each time I read those early chapters of Genesis I have deep groaning heartbreak over Eden. Witnessing perfection and fellowship, wishing I could go back to that place, wondering why God allowed us this natural bent toward sin, this gift we call free-will, when it goes and screws every beautiful thing up. Then theology floods my reasoning mind; how it is a gift, free-will, and with it we choose to enter into a true relationship, the submission of will and comprehension of love. All of it rich because mankind gets to choose.
Still my heart cries, "Why God? I'd rather it be simpler, more beautiful, less stained, even if it requires a measure of ignorance." I long for a heart that has a natural bent towards obedience. I wish we were all sheep that never wander.
But sheep that never wander... never need a Savior. And it's all mashed up together, here "In the beginning..."
God knows I'd like to walk with Him in the cool of the day, amidst the pre-fallen garden state, and talk with Him of the vastness of His glory and the intimacy of His love and the tendencies of His sheep and the pursuing love of a Shepherd. What a conversation that would be, hand in hand.
Can't you hear Loretta Lyn's sweet voice singing:
I come to the garden alone, While the dew is still on the roses, And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, The Son of God discloses. And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.
Already my mind turns to Jesus, here in the earliest stories of Creation and the Fall. Three days into my journey through the Bible and I see the thread that will weave us through, the theme that takes us from the fall to God's redemptive return. Jesus. Though He knew no human heart could earn it, be righteous enough to attain it, He found a way to restore us on the other side of sin and separation. Through Jesus - the good shepherd. Because He wants Eden too. That's the story from Cover to Cover, how Jesus will lead His flock back to the beginning again. That's how we look at Revelation here in the garden.
Over and over again, in the pages of this book. Jesus. Our need for Him and His passionate pursuit of us. Story after story. Image after image. From God's tender call, "Where are you," as Adam and Eve hid, to the moment they are cast out. Because, well... don't we all deserve that horrible separation? Then brother kills brother, the spilling of blood, followed by the cleansing of the earth through the flood.
"Never again," He promised with the artistry of a rainbow sign, for every generation to know He will never cleanse the earth that way again. The next time He cleansed us from sin, it was a thorough cleansing with blood. Jesus. Again and again, Jesus. Blood for blood, our sin in exchange for a life that knew no sin. All of it... pointing to Jesus.
From the beginning... the stories all point to Jesus.
I am eager to hear what it is that God is teaching you in His Word. Weather you are #ReadingthroughtheBible with us here, or simply abiding with Him in various chapters and pages as He leads. What are you learning... and does it have anything or everything to do with Jesus?