(photo caption… the Resolver, ancient god of death.)
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,
the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself,
and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings;
he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature.
He created them male and female.
God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge!
Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.”
Observation – Creation stories abound from the ancient Middle-East and Mediterranean coastal regions. What is unique about our creation story? What would have set it apart from the others?
The tone and imagery of Genesis 1 invokes awe, design, balance, inter-dependence and partnership… coming out of chaos.
Other ancient religions have stories of gods in conflict with each other, using people as pons in a cosmic battle for power and control. Think of Thor, Hercules, Ra, Horace, Isis and others. These gods thrive in chaos and remain in constant battle with one another.
But Genesis is different. The Creator begets co-creators, partners with significant responsibility in a plan to establish a world of blessed relationships and ecological sustainability.
Ancient gods were often represented as sculptures, surrounded by imagery, hieroglyphs, or pillars depicting their supremacy and conquests.
Similarly, Genesis depicts two pillars telling the creation story. Day 1 through 3 depicts the first pillar starting with the creation of light then sky and finally land. Day 4 to 6 parallels with the creation of lights (sun & moon), then animals of the sky and finally plants & animals of the land. But instead of a god standing between the pillars, we find humans, “in our image”. The Creator places the created human in the spotlight. But this image is not to be worshiped. Rather this image, humans, are to partner with God and see their significant role in creation as co-creators and workers, “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible…”
Application – God is not looking for me to place myself as a Canadian idol between his pillars of creation. God is not looking for an image or representation of him front and center in my alterpiece either. Rather, God has created me, invited me and empowers me to be in relationship with the trinity, with others and with all of creation. I have relational work to do.
The initial design of creation was good. The creation of humans was very good. Where other gods want the spotlight on themselves that we might forsake goodness to satisfy their cravings for power, my God points the light back at me. Instead of wanting my sacrifices and homage, my God invites me to do my part in calling all of creation back into relationship! Now that is a creation story I can believe in,… it leads to a happy ending.
Prayer – Creator of the universe, you are calling me and every person to an exciting adventure of reconciling all of creation back into relationship with you. Help me to be your instrument of peace, faith, hope and love in areas of chaos and conflict around me.
Lloyd is married to Carol and the two of them are Regional Mission Mobilizers – Prairie Region for Mennonite Bretheren Mission.