The sensical starting point for us is Genesis, the very beginning of the biblical story. The beginning is one of the most important aspects of a story. It is the inception of the story, it’s what sets the direction and the momentum of everything that happens. And Genesis is the inception of the biblical story, of the Christian Narrative that we find ourselves living into. The Biblical Narrative starts of with five powerful words:
“In the beginning God created…”
Already we have the main character of our story, God. Not us, not a spouse, not money or a job. But God. Everything that is points to Him; everything that happens is because He first created. The importance of this is pointed out by the reason He created. We read later on in the story, in Colossians 1, that “15[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” (italics added)
The love of the Father for the Son, the love that is found within the Trinity, is so strong that it compelled God to create in order that others might know that same love…so that we might know that love. In 1 John, John says that God is love.1 God is not just someone who loves, but love is at the very center of God’s personality, God’s identity. Creation flowed out of God wanting to share that part of Himself. More than that, He wanted to instill that same personality of love into something! And thus humans enter the scene.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Here we see the magnificence of God creating mankind in His very image. The very same love that inspired the creation of the whole universe is instilled within us as well. When we write stories or music, when we paint or draw, when we invent, when we form friendships and relationships, we are tapping into the same love that inspired God to create the universe.
So here is a question for you: In your life, how do you display love which produces creation?
For a long time I struggled trying to find something that I was good at creating. I wish I could sing or play an instrument so I could make music and create beautiful songs. But if you ever hear me sing, you’d quickly notice that I’m pretty close to tone-deaf. So making good music was not an option. I took an art class in middle school and discovered that although I’m bad, I’m not good either.
If I really think hard I can remember myself being creative. Way back in elementary school I was very creative, or at least I remember myself being creative. But aren’t all kids creative? Many of us lost our creativity when we ‘grew up’ and were told by adults that we should find more useful things to do. For me, it was math. I was really good at math in school so the school system thrusted me into the subject. This greatly increased my love of math. But I was never taught how to use math in a creative way, so I lost my connection to creativity, my connection to a facet of who God is.
I have recently rediscovered my creative side. Through different research projects I am learning to use math discover and create new ideas. I also made a New Years resolution to write at least 100 words a day.
So I’ll ask you again: In your life, how do you display love which produces creation? I want you to take a moment and stop reading this blog post. Pull out a pin and paper, or the notes app on your phone, and write down a fews ways that your love for something translates into creativity. If nothing comes to mind I challenge you to look for ways to awaken creativity in your life.
Now we’ll take another look at Genesis. We are going to read the whole first chapter of Genesis. Bear with me because some really cool things happen in this chapter!
“1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.”
There is a really cool parallel that happens in this chapter. You can split these six days into two categories. The first category is forming and consists of the first three days. Here God forms the light and the dark on day one. He forms the sea and the sky on day two. He forms dry land on day three. The second category is filling and consists of the other three days of creation. Here God fills all that he has formed. On the fourth day he fills the light and dark with the sun and moon and stars. On the fifth day He fills the sea and sky with fish and birds. On the sixth day He fills the earth with land animals, including humans.
The theme of filling is an important one throughout Scripture. In Genesis 1:28 we see a commission that God gave to Adam and Eve.
God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’
Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth. From the beginning of our existence, part of our purpose on earth has been to fill it. We are called to create with God just as He created us. We are called to create by tapping into the love which is innate within us. We had work while we lived in the garden, work that consisted of nurturing and growing God’s creation while using what God created to create more things. Writing, painting, singing, inventing – these are all examples of what it means to be made in the image of God. Whether you’re Mozart or tone-deaf, we were all created with a desire to create something, a desire to help fill the earth.
1 1 John 4:8