Thursday, August 26, 2010
God's Love: Part II, "Creation's Story"
Continuing our topic from last week on God’s love, what is it, exactly, that creation reveals about His love? First, we must take a fresh look at how it all unfolds. We must think as an artist thinks.
I was an art major in college. As soon as I was old enough to hold a crayon, I was drawing. When I have a new canvas in front of me, it is blank, empty, and void of anything. So God began with a “blank canvas.”
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. (Genesis 1:2)
As I begin a painting, I start with large sweeps across the canvas. Light and dark colors give a general shape to whatever I’m creating. Much the same as what God did first.
“Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good,
and God separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3-4)
Smaller shapes made with the brush bring more definition. The painting becomes a bit more interesting, just like God’s creation when He separated the waters with an expanse He called “sky.” Then He gathered all the waters into one place, and made dry land appear. (Genesis 1:9-10) Ah, you can see the scene coming together now.
I am what you would call a “realist artist,” who creates realistic artwork. That involves attention to detail—and I crave detail! With what unfolds next in the creation story, it is an understatement to say our God is a god of detail! He proceeds to call forth all forms of vegetation on the earth. Imagine the succulence as “mangoes laden the branches of their trees, blackberries burst forth on the bushes, cabernet grapes drip from the vine, fields of sun-flowers stand upright, their happy faces to the new sun.” (John Eldredge, Epic, 43)
Notice how His gift of vegetation appeals to all our senses. From the vast textures of all the different fruits, and of course their mouth-watering flavors, to the stunning colors and intricate detail of the wide array of flowers. I love the sweet and tangy aroma of gardenias sneaking through my back porch. Tree branches sway in the mighty forces of the wind, rustling their leaves, while coconuts land with a thud on the hard ground.
As if that weren’t enough, God is not done yet! Fish of every color, imagined and unimagined, some even glowing, begin to jump and swim in the seas. Some are smaller than your finger, others larger than a house! Is there no limit to our God’s creativity? Eagles soar on their wings as songbirds boast their melodies from the trees below. Pink flamingos take their stance on a mud flat, while ostriches race across the African savannah.
There is still more. Land animals appear next. From man’s best friend (I have one myself!), to the king of cats; from cows that provide sustenance, to polar bears exploring the icy waters. You can see the complexity of God’s work increasing with each day. The delicate, silky hot-pink roses that color my yard’s landscape do not hold a candle to the wild Mustang roaming the fields of Montana.
But wait, it gets even better. Even better?! Just to think on what comes next, with the deep awe of all that has been created up until now fresh in my mind’s eye…I am moved to tears. Satisfied with all He’s made so far, God determines something different is needed. Something, or someone, with whom He can share all the love and intimacy and adventure with.
“Now we will make humans, and they will be like us…” (Genesis 1:27 CEV)
Man and woman are created in the very image of God, to be just like Him. And to rule over every living creature. He creates humans, and sets them right down in the middle of all this wonder and adventure.
Through all of this, it is obvious God is creative, but creativity is not His point. He was not merely showing off. Why would God go to such great lengths to create a world as stunning and mesmerizing as this for us to enjoy and rule over? What is creation’s story telling us about our God’s intent? There can only be one answer.
God uses his creation to woo us. We have become stale, and consumed with our busy lives. We hardly notice the beauty around us, if at all. Many days I’m so impatient to get home after a long day. All I think as I hurry toward the west side of town is how I can’t get there fast enough. When all of sudden, I am awakened; a colorful, vivid sunset with hues I’ve forgotten seizes my attention.
And I am undone. I remember I was created in a world made for romance. A world created by love, in love, and for love. This is what creation’s story is telling us about God’s love.
Some ideas adapted from John Eldredge's book Epic)