Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Genesis 1:1-2:2

"In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. "

The creation story. Well, one of the two creation stories in the bible. This is the first reading that we'll hear at the Great Easter Vigil service on the Saturday night before Easter morning. The first story we hear is the story of God creating the world.

As we read this story we notice some amazing things about the Hebrew account of creation that are quite different from other creation stories written by other peoples in the ancient near east (compare to the Enuma Elish, the babylonian creation story). In this creation story, God speaks and things happen. The things that happen are ordered in a logical way - God creates light, then God creates water, then God creates earth, then God creates, plants, animals, etc. Everything comes in the order in which it is needed: plants need water and soil, birds need fish and plants, animals need water and plants and other animals, people need all of those things - see how that works? The world is created in an ordered way as an ecosystem that works in harmony.

And every day that God creates something, God looks and sees that it was good. God created it good. Except on the day that God created people - on that day God saw that it was very good.

The Hebrew creation story makes a faith statement about God and who and what they believe God to be. The Hebrew people believed God to be all powerful: just speaking brought the universe into being. The Hebrew people believed that God provided for our needs and the needs of the world: every part of the system has what it needs to survive. The Hebrew people believed that God created the world to be good: it was good and it worked in harmony. The Hebrew people believed that God created humans to be very good - and that God gave us stewardship over the whole creation.

As we listen to this faith statement made by the Hebrew people, we must ask ourselves if we believe the same thing. The world does not give us much evidence of a good God who created a world that works in a harmonious way. What we see around us in the world is violence and fear and corruption. We see people taking advantage of each other and the world's resources. We hear a message of 'every man for himself'. And, probably worst of all, we hear from preachers on TV that God is exclusionary, that God only loves certain people that behave a certain way.

And so we begin this journey towards Easter asking ourselves what we believe about God and God's creation.

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