The Eternal Community of Love and Communication (see yesterday’s post) had a good thing going. Why bother to risk mucking it all up?
Scripture doesn’t tell us God’s motives for making. Scripture also tells us that God’s ways are not like our ways, that as the heavens are high above the earth, so are God’s ways high above our own. And given the assumption that our knowing is a thimble-full in a galaxy of oceans, I concede the point. However, even a thimble-full of water will tell us something substantial about the substance of those unknown galaxies of oceans, assuming that the material in the thimble is somehow born of and connected to the material of the oceans. In God’s mysterious making, I find a key to the treasure chest we call “meaning.” We can’t see it yet, not at this point in the story, but I think its there.
God inhales to speak His very first “Word.”
Leland Ryken (The Christian Imagination) describes the beauty of the Genesis 1 story itself, it’s structural parallelism. Light and Dark (day 1), water and sky (day 2), seas and land (day 3). Then in parallel to day 1, back to light and dark, and the heavenly bodies called sun, moon, and stars. The in parallel to day 2, back to water and sky, and the creatures that fill them. Finally, back to day 3 (though the sea has already been filled), and God populates the lands with living creatures, one of whom He makes in a somewhat different fashion.
In His Image, His likeness. (That’s tomorrow’s post.)
And after the work is done, He rests.
Many writers have written on the various beauties of this first creation story (Genesis 1 without Genesis 2), while others have fought tooth and nail for specifics that just aren’t there. I often say it’s the kind of telling that isn’t interested in answering all the questions we of the 21st Century want to ask of it. But I am confident that what’s in it is just what we need.
Dorothy Sayers says we meet God first as Maker. It seems obvious, but I missed this for years. He expends energy (words fail). He works. Jesus, in John 5, tells the Jews God has been working to that very day. Does that imply He’s always working? Creating? Fashioning? Forming? Still making? And I’m curious…does He still say, “That’s good?” I know where the story is going, that there’s going to be a “fall” and that things are going to get broken. But does that destroy the whole notion of “good” and “very good?”
God making and shaping, birthing Beauty, forming material and energy, exploding nothing into something, Eternity’s early population “shouting” for joy, perhaps joyful because they’re seeing their God and Maker joyful and excited in a new way, a way they’d never seen before. The Eternal Community of Love, Communication, and Glory was expanding, and the thrill of the Triune God, who some would later name “Love,” was overwhelming, a happiness to birth galaxies. (See Calvin Miller’s classic The Singer for a pretty great rendition of this.)
Life, love, truth, goodness, and beauty were expanding. Joy was expanding. Possibilities were expanding.
What does this mean? For God? What is the meaning of God’s life, and the work that He did, and perhaps, is still doing?
In the answer to that lies a clue to “the meaning of life” for the creatures made in His image, and His likeness.
Tomorrow: The Initial Image
What’s expanding in your worlds?