Friday, November 16, 2012

Thoughts on Genesis 1

The famous and dramatic opening chapter of the bible is full of powerful truth.

In the beginning, God... There is one God who is eternal and uncreated.

God created the heavens and the earth... God created everything, spiritual and physical, simply by speaking! He didn't struggle to create - God is almighty. God made the world as a wonderful temple: heaven is the holy place where God dwells; earth, the outer courts, expresses His glory.

God created man in his own image... The climax of building a pagan temple was the setting up of a 'god's' image - an idol. This is a pale reflection of the climax of God's creation: He makes human beings in His image and places them in the world. Living, breathing, loving human beings reflect and represent God Himself.

Everything that He had made...was very good... The created world is good. Evil (which enters the account two chapters later) can only spoil creation, rather than being original in itself.

The first chapter of Genesis is poetic in form. Later chapters become more clearly historical, focusing on Abraham and his family. Powerful poetry stirs awe and deepens the heart's understanding. It isn't 'history' or 'science' in a modern-day sense. Yet what this chapter tells us about God and man and creation is profoundly important.

I'm left with thought-work to do: explore what it means to be 'in God's image'. Mine this chapter for other important truths.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Speaking quietly

Acer“It speaks for itself – quietly.”

So says the visitors' leaflet at Batsford Arboretum, home to many beautiful trees. My wife and I went for an autumn walk there today.

The place is effulgent with luminous yellows, burnished oranges and blazing reds, as well as some residual cool greens among the tall beeches and firs.

It is also, as the leaflet promised, quiet – apart from tinkling streams that criss-cross through the wooded paths.

Beech“It speaks for itself – quietly.” That, I thought, is quite a good summary of what creation does. It speaks, but quietly, on the whole.

Not just in the glory of beech and acer; also in the perseverance of dandelion; the brilliance of carapace; the patience of moss; the humility of grass; the mystery of mist; the utility of worm; the logic of branch; the humour of mushroom; the mischief of cloud; the wistfulness of water; the playfulness of bamboo; the security of sunlight; the equanimity of dog; the cleverness of cat; the generosity of sky...

I need to shut up and listen.