On Creation

Right from the start of Genesis, we see that God is a creator, a craftsman. He made the earth with purpose and intentionality. Therefore, everything He creates has meaning and value.

Next, we see that God does not rule from afar. He enters the darkness and faces the chaos head on. Redemption is embedded in the very fabric of creation.
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Now it’s time for a bit of a side note. If you were like me, you probably sang as a child some little song about the days of creation. “Day one, day one, God made light when there was none…”


But then something happened. As I grew older, I started learning more about the “science” behind “creation.” Apparently, sometime in the last hundred years or so, believing in a young earth and the literal 24 hour days of creation became a major tenant of the Christian faith. For some, at least.

I was taught that the 6 days of creation were exactly 144 hours. No more. No less. To suggest otherwise was borderline heresy. I was also taught that the earth was not any more than 6,000 years old, and science could prove it. Carbon dating and the fossil record just had to be wrong because they didn’t support what the Bible obviously claims to be fact.

Before you go grabbing your torches and pitchforks, let me just say that I truly believe the God absolutely has the power to create an entire universe in 144 hours. He very well could have created the earth to look older than it actually is, just as he created Adam and Eve as adults and not babies.

Here’s my word of caution: Genesis 1 is a poem.

Let me say it again so it sinks in. The opening chapter of the Bible is POETRY. It’s not historical narrative like the rest of Genesis. It’s not a section of the Law, like Leviticus. It’s poetry, like the Psalms.

I think it’s really cool how Rob Bell breaks down this poem in his video Everything is Spiritual.

Is my faith threatened by the theory of evolution? Nope. Do I feel the need to take up arms against proponents of the big bang? Not at all.

Here’s why: I look around and I see how much science has changed over the last thousand years. We went from thinking the earth was flat and the center of the universe to putting men on the moon. Every year, scientists and researchers are discovering new and better information than we previously had. Scientific “facts” are always changing and evolving. Things we took for granted 100 years ago have shifted and taken on new forms. How much more so in the next 100, 500, or 1000 years?

And yet Genesis 1 will always say, “Let there be light.”

God has given human beings the capacity to explore our world and the universe around us. If he made it all, then why would he be threatened by anything we discover or by any new theories we might develop along the way?

Genesis 1 is a poem, the true depth of which is far greater than 144 hours of creation or the young earth theory. It is a poem about power, community, empowerment, and love.

Resurrection

I watched this the other day. I had heard most of it from the sermon podcasts I listen to from the Mars Hill Church, where Rob Bell is the pastor. This is pretty much a condensed version of his sermon on resurrection highlighting the main points. If you can get past the overdone, in your face visuals, his message is pretty legit. The video is from YouTube, but the video and script can both be found at robbell.com/resurrection

Jesus is standing in front of the temple in Jerusalem
the massive gleaming brick and stone and gold house of God
and he says destroy this temple
and I’ll rebuild it in three days
the people listening to him said how are you going to do that?
it took 46 years to build this temple!
but he wasn’t talking about that temple
he’s talking about himself
he essentially says, listen
I’m going to be killed
that’s where this is headed
because you don’t confront corrupt systems of power
without paying for it
sometimes with your own blood
and so he’s headed to his execution
if you had witnessed this divine life extinguished on a cross
how would you not be overwhelmed with despair?
is the world ultimately a cold, hard, dead place?
does death have the last word?
is it truly, honestly, actually dark
and so whatever light we do see
whatever good we do stumble upon
are those just blips on the radar?
momentary interruptions in an otherwise meaningless existence?
because if that’s the case then despair is the
only reasonable response
it’s easy to be cynical
but Jesus says destroy this temple and I’ll rebuild it
he insists that his execution would not be the end
he’s talking about something new and unexpected
happening after his death
he’s talking about resurrection
resurrection announces that God has not given up on the world
because this world matters
this world that we call home
dirt and blood and sweat and skin and light and water
this world that God is redeeming and restoring and renewing
greed and violence and abuse they are not right
and they cannot last
they belong to death and death does not belong
resurrection says that what we do with our lives matters
in this body
the one that we inhabit right now
every act of compassion matters
every work of art that celebrates the good and the true matters
every fair and honest act of business and trade
every kind word
they all belong and they will all go on in God’s good world
nothing will be forgotten
nothing will be wasted
it all has it’s place
everybody believes something
everybody believes somebody
Jesus invites us to trust resurrection
that every glimmer of good
every hint of hope
every impulse that elevates the soul
is a sign, a taste, a glimpse
of how things actually are
and how things will ultimately be
resurrection affirms this life and the next
as a seamless reality
embraced
graced
and saved by God
there is an unexpected mysterious presence
who meets each of us in our lowest moments
when we have no strength when we have nothing left
and we can’t go on we hear the voice that speaks those
words
destroy this temple and I’ll rebuild it
do you believe this?
that’s the question Jesus asked then
and that’s the question he asks now
Jesus’ friends arrive at his tomb and they’re told
he isn’t here
you didn’t see that coming, did you?
he’s isn’t here
there is nothing to fear
and nothing can ever be the same again
we are living in a world in the midst of rescue
with endless unexpected possibilities
they will take my life and I will die Jesus says
but that will not be the end
and when you find yourself assuming that it’s over
when it’s lost, gone, broken and it could never be
put back together again,
when it’s been destroyed and you swear that it could never
be rebuilt
hold on a minute
because in that moment
things will in fact have just begun