Word on Wednesday – by John Mason
‘Inspiration’… February 10, 2016
The Bible has been described as ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’. Many agree, but rarely read it or think about it. They have yet to see the depths of the epic and feel the riches of its narrative wash over them, bringing them new vitality and hope, inspiration and joy.
Despite the political rhetoric, the reality is that our world is in short supply of real, substantial ‘hope’. The world, its leaders, and we ourselves are all too imperfect. Deep down we long for a better experience of life and a certainty about the future. The question is, ‘Where can we find it?’
During this season of Lent, you can access here, http://eepurl.com/bPVvBX, a series of daily Bible readings and reflections that touch on some of the peaks of the biblical narrative, from Genesis to Revelation. The weekly ‘Word’ will continue, but it will simply be one in six of what will be available. Let me begin with Genesis 1:26-31:
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Confusion often exists over Genesis because, influenced by a culture of science, we come to it with the wrong question. Genesis does not set out to explain the ‘how’ of creation. It is interested in the ‘who’ and the ‘what’. The Bible epic begins by telling us that God created all things and therefore all things have their origin and meaning in him.
Day Six of the creation account is significant, for midway through the ‘sixth day’ of creation the style of the language changes and we sense a break between the creation of the animals and the creation of men and women. It is as though there was a pre-cosmic pause while a conversation took place in the Godhead where the question was discussed: ‘Will we do it?’ The language, ‘Let us’, implies the question, ‘Will we go ahead with this next and final part of creation? The cost will be great.’
Philippians 2:6 provides another window on this pre-cosmic conversation: the second person of the Godhead made a personal choice to follow through the plan that had been set before creation. The incarnation and the crucifixion of Jesus were not Plan B but part of Plan A. But I rush ahead.
Genesis 1:26ff tells us that God moved ahead with the final great act of creation – created in God’s image, men and women were the glory of his creating work. Unlike other ancient creation accounts, such as the Enuma Elish story, men and women are not a final emanation of the god(s), created to serve their needs and pleasures. Rather, the God of Genesis 1 has ordered everything in such a way that men and women have the responsibility and joy in overseeing it. We are God’s under-rulers, vicegerents – or as C.S. Lewis put it in his Narnia series, ‘kings and queens’ of the earth. As his vicegerents God calls on us to learn from him, to trust him and to find our meaning and purpose in him.
That God delighted in us is seen in the profound and uplifting words that close the chapter, God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. Everything was perfect, a joy to God. He could say that his handiwork, including men and women was good. Furthermore, it would be his delight to serve us, as it should be our delight to serve him! But as the biblical story unfolds God’s service of us would come at a very great price to Him.
You might like to consider:
1. the implication that God exists and in his wisdom and power created all things out of nothing;
2. what it means for us men and women to be the climax and glory of God’s creation;
3. the suggestion that in giving men and women dominion over aspects of creation God has given us the privilege and responsibility of a stewardship that is ultimately accountable to him.
Don’t forget to sign in for daily Bible readings & reflections until Easter Day: http://eepurl.com/bPVvBX
Let me encourage you to pray
© John G. Mason – www.anglicanconnection.com