Beginning with the Beginning
- Sunday, September 30, 2012
4. In the beginning man is introduced. Many deny the historicity of Adam and Eve. It’s another myth, they say, a metanarrative meant to give man a sense of self-worth. Well, at least they got part of it right. The Creation account does give us a sense of self-worth – a very high sense of self-worth. According to Genesis 1, the creation of man is the climax of God’s creativity activity.
Every step in the creative process pointed to and prepared the way for God’s greatest creation. He created a world in which man would live. He provided the foods man would need. All those things, God said, were good. When the time was right God created man. More than that, they are created in God’s image, meant to be a human reflection of His divine goodness, His ambassadors here on earth. As such, man is more than an apex animal as evolution suggests. He is the apex of the creation itself. Everything has been done for this purpose.
With the creation of man, Creation was complete. God surveyed His masterpiece and pronounced it “very good.” No other response was possible as the creation, like man, reflects its Creator.
5. In the beginning the end is in sight. With His work finished, God rested. The seventh day, anointed blessed and holy by God, set the pattern for Jewish life and worship throughout the rest of the Old Testament as they followed His example. Christians, too, have applied the principle, if not the law, of the Sabbath to the Lord’s Day.
Yet, such a reading of the final words of the Creation account seems incomplete. The wonder and the majesty of it all are lost, if the seventh day becomes little more than a holiday. On the other hand, if the message of the Sabbath rest is seen in light of the Creation itself, it takes on a greater meaning. God rested, not because He was tired but because His work was complete. He had created that He might be known and worshiped.
The rest of history has been the outworking of God’s plan. The Fall, the Flood, the Covenants, they’re all part of this great drama. Just as man, created in the image of God, was the height of the creative process, God sent His Son, the God-Man, the perfect image of God, to restore order, to renew hearts, to create new worshipers. Those that trust in Him will rest from their labors. What God began will be complete when God’s people find their rest in Him. This is the end to which the beginning pointed.
Thus, the Creation account is more than a myth. It is greater than a metanarrative. The Creation is the beginning of God’s greatest work in the universe, the redemption of mankind. Ignore the beginning and you’ll miss the end. For without the beginning, there would be no end.
Peter Beck is Assistant Professor of Religion and Director of the Honors Program at Charleston Southern University in Charleston, South Carolina. He is the author of the voice of faith: jonathan edwards's theology of prayer. Follow him on Twitter @drpeterbeck.
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