Hacks and rip-off artists

the creator in you Apr 18, 2022

Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:8-9)

Last week, we worshiped God for the fact that he works. But now we must make one thing clear: God works in ways that are totally unlike the way you and I work today.

We worship the God who simply “calls into being things that were not” (Romans 4:17). As I say in my children’s book, The Creator in You“With just a few words, He made creatures appear, like polar bears, penguins, alpacas, and deer.”

My kids love pretending to create animals and magical snow with their words, but so far, their play hasn’t turned into reality. You know why? Because only God can create out of nothing (see Genesis 1:24-25)! As Jen Wilkin says, “We are all hacks, arrangers of Someone else’s palette of colors, wavelengths, and building blocks. The most creative human you know is a rip-off artist, shamelessly (gleefully?) rearranging and recombining existing materials into new forms. No one has ever truly created anything. No one, that is, except God.”

OK, so God works totally unlike us, using his words to create out of thin air. But he also works like us, using his hands to unfold creation. That’s what we see in today’s passage where God “planted a garden in the east.” Gone is the “God said…and it was so” language of Genesis 1. In Genesis 2, we see a picture of God with his hands in the dirt. In the words of pastor Timothy Keller, “God’s own work in Genesis 1 and 2 is ‘manual’ labor.”

Interestingly, when Scripture describes “the work of creating” God did in the beginning (see Genesis 2:3), it uses the Hebrew word mlkh—the exact same word used to describe human work throughout the Old Testament. What’s the point? I think the writers of Scripture wanted us to see our work in God’s work because our work is an opportunity to show others a glimpse of God.

God works like and unlike us. May that truth lead us to reflect him well and worship him for his inimitable glory today!

P.S. Want to help the kids in your life get an epic view of God’s creative work? Pick up a copy of The Creator in You!

P.P.S. Want a version of today’s devotional that you can read with your kids? Check out the children’s version of this series on YouVersion’s Bible App!


50% Complete

Join 100,000+ Christians who receive my weekly devotional every Monday morning!