Created to Create

8 03 2010

Yesterday morning I taught Sunday School to the junior high and senior high youth, all together. Our lesson was on the first creation story in Genesis 1, which was pretty familiar to everyone in the room. We spent some time talking about each of the seven days of creation, and then focused in on what God was doing on the sixth day:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

As we puzzled over God’s commission to humankind, I asked, “What do you think God meant when he said to ‘subdue’ the earth?”  Mentally I prepared myself for the competing ideologies of “creation care” and “creation dominance.”

“Making it tame?” someone suggested.

“Making the earth less chaotic?” said someone else.

I got really excited by this answer: it wasn’t what I was expecting, but it was perfect.  It had both beauty and symmetry. Tradition tells us that God created the heavens and the earth out of a formless void…out of the darkness over the face of the deep…out of chaos!  In the very act of creation, God was making the universe less chaotic.   And so, the end of this story comes full circle: in the closing commission, God is inviting us to participate in His work in the world by making the earth less chaotic.  We are created in His image, so that we, too, can create order out of chaos.

I see creation as a process that is still going on in the world today.  And no, that’s not just my reconciliation of creationism and evolution.  I believe that God is still at work, creating us anew in each day and every moment.  That is both the promise that we have received…and the responsibility we have to uphold.

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Quote: C.S. Lewis on God’s creativity

25 07 2009

Last night, I found myself re-reading part of C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. Lately I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be created in the image of God, but Lewis describes it much more eloquently  than I ever could:

“A statue has the shape of a man but is not alive.  In the same way, man has (in a sense I am going to explain) the ‘shape’ or likeness of God, but he has not got the kind of life God has.  Let us take the first point (man’s resemblance to God) first.  Everything God has made has some likeness to Himself.  Space is like Him in its hugeness: not that the greatness of space is the same kind of greatness as God’s, but it is a sort of symbol of it, or a translation of it into non-spiritual terms. Matter is like God in having energy: though, again, of course, physical energy is a different kind of thing from the power of God.  The vegetable world is like Him because it is alive, and He is the ‘living God’.  But life, in this biological sense, is not the same as the life there is in God: it is only a kind of symbol or shadow of it.”

Lewis goes on to explain that even though humanity is the closest resemblance to God that we know of (in that we can create, love, reason, etc.), we still are part of the natural world and cannot possess spiritual life on our own:

“A man who changed from having [natural life] to having [spiritual life] would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved stone to being a real man.

And that is precisely what Christianity is about.  This world is a great sculptor’s shop.  We are the statues and there is a rumour going round the shop that some of use are some day going to come to life.”

(from Mere Christianity, book 4, chapter 1)