This week my congregation read the first several chapters of Genesis. As I read the creation narratives, I was struck by a couple things. I was struck by how poorly we have read the opening two chapters. Why I say this is because we have allowed ourselves to get bogged down by discussions that distract us. While some find value in arguing about the literal length of days or pitting science up against Genesis chapter 1, it distracts from the goings on of the text. The story of God’s creation is a beautiful telling of the Creator. Do not misunderstand me; I do not want to dismiss the fact God is the creator. As I read the testimony of Israel, this is their concern. Throughout the Hebrew Bible, Israel proclaims theirs is the powerful creator God. They envision God on the throne speaking all things into existence.
I believe God created out of the overflow of God’s love. As I have posted elsewhere, I am overtly Trinitarian. When I read in Genesis 1, “Let us make man in our image,” my mind goes directly to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Triune life of God is one of communion. The Godhead forms a life of perfect communion together; God had all things in the Triune life. This means God’s choice to create was an act of generosity. Creation is from the overflow of God’s love.
Then we read God created us in God’s image. Male and female are the very good part of God’s creation. We are the image bearers of the Triune God. Often, I have been too distracted with the specifics of the order of creation or other discussion to bask in the reality of what it means to be God’s image bearer. We find our identity and calling in Genesis 1 and 2. We do not need to look any further to understand ourselves. We are the people beloved by God. Whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, our identity must be found in the reality that God has created us out of the desire of God’s heart.
God then takes this man and women and places them in the garden to go to work. Have you ever noticed Adam is put to work before the fall? Humanity had a part to play in God’s plan from the very beginning. Genesis 2:15 says, “The Lord God took Adam and placed him in the garden to till it and keep it.” Even before the fall, God chose humans to be his partners. Just as we are invited to be coworkers in God’s reconciling work, Adam and Eve were given a part to play. Though the fall brought sin into the world, God’s plan for the world did not change. God created with the plan for humanity to partner with him in moving creation forward, even Eden was not a finished product.
Genesis 1 and 2 introduce us to the Creator God who has the power to create all things, and the desire to be in relationship with creation. It also helps us understand God’s calling for our lives. We are to the God’s image bearers in the world, and it means we are to go to work right alongside of the Triune bringing life out of the rubble of death.