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Story Archives: Story of creation has order of events order of purpose
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|Story of creation has order of events order of purpose|
It's all good" is a phrase that has been adopted by many. Most of the time it is used in jest, or at best a reminder to keep the main thing the main thing; (i.e. "My washer is broken and my car has a flat tire, but it's all good!")
It would appear there is a fine line between finding the good in a situation and masking the truth concerning the situation. I agree that things could be worse, but that doesn't mean this particular moment is "all good."
The Bible is a book that promotes honest evaluation, not only of the current situation, but of the heart. Believe it or not, God is the first to set the example. Not long ago I happened upon a television program concerning the book of Genesis.
The Rabbi asked, "What is the first thing mentioned in Genesis that is bad?" I immediately responded aloud, "sin." To which the rabbi said, "If you answered 'loneliness' then you know your Torah." Sure … that's what I meant.
I knew immediately his reference, but had never considered the accountability this aspect of the creation story offers. On Day One God creates light. He evaluates the light and considers it good. According to Moses' story, this pattern continues for several days (six, to be exact). On Day Six, God creates man. As in previous days, God evaluates His work. This time He says; "It is not good that the man should be alone." Genesis 2:18 (NRSV) It would appear that this evaluation leads to the creation of companionship.
At this point I would like to share with you a challenge I received early in my ministry; "Are you going to take the Bible literally, or are you going to take it seriously?" I suppose if one were to take this creation account literally, one might decide that God is a part of an on-the-job-training program concerning creation. Realizing the insurmountable pressure and stress that "creating-as-you-go" might bring, one can certainly understand the need to designate Day Seven as a day of rest.
However, if one were to take this creation account seriously, one might decide that God is using this event as an opportunity to teach mankind about the importance of creating order in the midst of chaos and the need for accountability in the midst of community.
In each "day" of creation we find a pattern. We find, not only an order of events, but also an order of purpose. Likewise, in our day-to-day lives, we should never underestimate the importance of evaluating our actions. Sometimes it is something major, but often times it can be trivial events such as looking for a misplaced item. This is when most of us find ourselves in a continuous circle. We look everywhere we know to look and then, because we don't know where else to look, we simply repeat the process. Albert Einstein offers this well-known definition for insanity: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." In light of the misplaced item, this might be a good time to not only evaluate our actions, but also our options.
I am reminded of the man who spent the day chopping wood with a dull axe simply because he didn't have time to sharpen it. If evaluation is important enough for God to include in the lesson of creation, we will be wise to consider it, as well.
Is it possible these chapters of Genesis are offering us much more than an account of our beginning? These chapters could also offer a creative way to live our life in an orderly and productive way; and to do so in a way that does not minimize the importance of community and friendship. Life, as so creatively revealed in the book of Genesis, can go from "all good" to "uh-oh" in the blink of an eye (or the bite of a forbidden fruit). Maybe now is a "good" time for us to evaluate our devotion to God and our love for our fellowman.
Jo Ann Cooper is a United Methodist pastor of the LA Conference.