Monday, July 1, 2013
Doubtless, like me, you have heard the Creation story countless times. Has anything ever bothered you about the verse above? Have you ever thought that it is just a little “off?” If it should be changed, what should the new words say? Take a moment to think about it before you read on.
Perfect. The writer of the Creation account left out the word perfect. The Creation is very good, but it is not quite perfect. There is something else that is needed, something to make it complete, something which, once added to everything else, will allow for the possibility of completion, possibly even perfection. The addition of mankind was not the answer. Mankind had something that might have been the answer.
With the addition of humanity came instructions. “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion!” (Genesis 1:18) These humans were told to go out and have a whole bunch of baby humans, to take care of things, to renew things, and subdue things. There were things that needed to be conquered. Notice, humanity is not commanded to stay in the Garden. Their job was to venture out and to make a difference in the planet through subduing and replenishing and multiplying and through governance.
God knew humanity needed to be busy, so he gave them a regular job in addition to his broad commission for the whole planet and he “took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it.” (Genesis 2:15) Humanity had a job, given directly from God. They knew what they were supposed to do. The world had a place as well. It responded to the “dressing and keeping” of humanity.
However, a problem quickly arose. Given the lofty status of keeper and tender of Creation, and knowing that Creations job was to respond to the governance of humanity over it, humanity still decided that this was not enough. The people of Creation did not want to be princes, junior creators if you will. No, they had been given tremendous authority and responsibility, but they wanted it all. They did not want to be with God in harmony. They wanted to be god themselves.
The consequence is the creation we have now, one that does not readily know its place and yield the harvest, one that rebels, even as we did, and does not send the rain to water the crops humanity has planted, one that is not fruitful in all places as it might have been.
Relationships were broken between man and woman, between humanity and creation, between humanity and the animals, and certainly between humanity and God. The blessed life we could have had is only restored to us through Jesus Christ. We cannot recapture it. We cannot subdue, replenish, or have dominion on our own, even though those were among the very things for which we grasped. We wait patiently for the new heaven and the new earth. In the interim, Jesus Christ has summoned us once again, this time as ambassadors of the gospel message. God has asked us to work with him once again. What will our response be this time?