In the last section I talked about how we all need a story to live by, and how the story of God and God’s dealings with creation turns out to be something like a play with six acts. In this section I’ll think about the first act: Creation.
In this act, God creates the universe and everything in it, including this planet on which we live. Of course, we now have a much bigger view of what this act of creation entailed than did the author of Genesis when he wrote, ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth’ (Genesis 1:1, NIV 2011). We know about the untold millions of years during which God was slowly shaping the evolution of life on this planet, preparing it for the arrival of humankind.
But the author of Genesis knew a thing or two as well. He knew that God had created human beings ‘in his own image’, as he says in Genesis 1:27. Obviously this was not meant to suggest that we look like God physically. But in a number of important ways we do resemble God. We are creators. We have a sense of right and wrong. We can make free choices rather than being slaves of our instincts. And we have been placed on this planet as God’s representatives, to care for God’s creation and protect it from harm. This is the meaning behind the symbolic language in Genesis 2:15 where we read, ‘The Lord GOD took the man and put him into the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it’ (NIV 2011).
In the beginning, the original human beings fulfilled their role as God intended. The story tells us that they lived in perfect harmony with each other with the universe, and with the God who had made them: ‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good’ (Genesis 1:31 NIV 2011).
Next up: Act 2: Rebellion.