As we’ve entered 2019, my wife and I have begun a daily reading plan to go through the Bible in a year. We see it as a way to hold ourselves accountable to spend time focusing on spiritual growth together each day, as well as to keep our minds steeped with Scripture.
Along with that, from time to time I’ll share some theological/devotional reflections that go along with what we’ve been reading. And since we’re starting at the beginning, with Genesis 1-3, I want to briefly share a few of my favorite things about the beginning of the Bible.
For one thing, I love being reminded that God’s desire has always been to create good and beautiful things, and to bless them. With evocative and poetic language, Genesis 1 brilliantly displays God’s power and order, as well as his endless creativity. With mere words, he spins the universe into being and fills it with life.
Long before we get to any of the stuff about why the world’s gone wrong, we start with how God originally made everything very, very good.
This includes humans, made in God’s image. The most fundamental thing about us, even before how broken we are now, is how valuable and dignified we were made to be. We are God’s masterpieces, his treasures. We were made for blessing.
I used to think Genesis 3 was the first place in the Bible where God casts judgment, but on this latest read-through I realized that actually it’s only the first time he has to judge negatively. The very first time God ever judges in Scripture — the first evaluation he ever gives — is when he calls his creation good.
Genesis 1 forever stands as a reminder that God’s intention is to bless all that he creates.
The majestic power of a waterfall. The stately splendor of mountain peaks. The gentle beauty of a hummingbird. The grace of a flowing river. All of these were God’s ideas.
I remember back to a time when I first told one of my friends that my wife and I were expecting a child, and their reaction, essentially, was “Aren’t you scared to bring a child into this messed-up world?”
It’s not an unreasonable question. But it shows how much more weight we often give to Genesis 3 than to Genesis 1.
We so easily fixate on all that’s broken, and we forget our first God-given calling as humans — “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and tame it! Govern the fish of the seas and the birds of the skies and every creature that roams the land” (Gen 1:28, my paraphrase).
God made a wild and beautiful world for us to savor and enjoy. To fill with laughter and childlike wonder. And to steward and cultivate as an act of worship to him.
Genesis 1 teaches us that we’re tasked to be creative with our world, as reflections of our Creator. To make it a better place than it was when we were born into it. And to do so as part of our relationship with the God who made us in his image.
That’s where the whole story begins — the story not only of the Bible, but also of your life and mine as well; the story of reality.
God made us to bless us, so that we in turn could be a blessing.