In the Beginning – Part 1

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. – Genesis 1:1-5

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Clouds With a Flourish | Galveston, TX | July 2019

I have a theory about creation. It doesn’t have to do with big bangs, days, epochs of time, figurative or literal understanding of these opening verses of Genesis. It has to do with creation itself, and how we believe, deny, celebrate, or belittle the idea that God created the world as described in these verses. The implication of the way we and the world relate to the idea of creation is profound.

Judge Robert Bork wrote a book titled Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American DeclineThe book’s blurb says that Bork

offers a prophetic and unprecedented view of a culture in decline, a nation in such serious moral trouble that its very foundation is crumbling: a nation that slouches not towards the Bethlehem envisioned by the poet Yeats in 1919, but towards Gomorrah.

Slouching Towards Gomorrah is a penetrating, devastatingly insightful exposé of a country in crisis at the end of the millennium, where the rise of modern liberalism, which stresses the dual forces of radical egalitarianism (the equality of outcomes rather than opportunities) and radical individualism (the drastic reduction of limits to personal gratification), has undermined our culture, our intellect, and our morality.

He asserts that the root of all this is the sexual revolution of the 60’s and the twin ills of radical egalitarianism and radical individualism. I believe, however, that the story begins long before the 1960’s. It begins with the loss of faith in the Creator God who spoke light into being, and who created the world and everything in it.

At our church’s national convention we adopted a resolution affirming the belief that God created the world in 6 “natural days.” I’m not certain what that means, nor am I ready to avow a term that might mean something the Bible does not say. I believe God created the world in 6 days in which there was evening and morning each of those days. We’ve been told that clearly in the Genesis account. Beyond that is a mystery.

While I won’t embrace the idea of “natural days”, I do not necessarily reject the idea. More important, I believe that the foundational reality that the Bible reveals here is profound beyond the length of the days of creation. It is this: Did God create us? Are we his creatures? Are we accountable to him? Most important, What does it mean to believe this?

This is an article of faith. Martin Luther explains this doctrine of creation in these terms:

I believe that God has created me together with all that exists. God has given me and still preserves my body and soul: eyes, ears, and all limbs and senses; reason and all mental faculties. In addition, God daily and abundantly provides shoes and clothing, food and drink, house and farm, spouse and children, fields, livestock, and all property—along with all the necessities and nourishment for this body and life. God protects me against all danger and shields and preserves me from all evil. And all this is done out of pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness of mine at all! For all of this I owe it to God to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true. – Luther’s Small Catechism, The 1st Article of the Apostle’s Creed

Notice how he points us to the act of God’s creation, his ongoing care and daily provision for us and his creation, his fatherly divine goodness and mercy, and then our accountability to God for all this.

On a human, secular level, the idea that there is a Creator to whom we must give an account will give us pause in the face of temptation toward evil of every kind. It will restrain us to at least some extent from abandoning decency and morality. It will point us toward the True North of a life of thanksgiving, praise, service and obedience.

There is much more to be said of all this, and I look forward to unpacking it in the days to come. For now, let’s hold our heads high (no slouching here!), stand strong in the confidence of our Creator’s love and daily provision, and thank, praise, serve, and obey him.

 

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