The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15)
What God created “in the beginning” is remarkable. But what’s equally remarkable is what he did not create.
He created animals but he didn’t give them names. He created the ocean but he didn’t build a boat. He created stars but he didn’t make a telescope for others to marvel at his glory. Of course, God could have created those things. But instead, he chose to invite us to do that work with him.
Today’s passage helps us see this beautiful truth. Before God put humankind in the Garden to “work it and take care of it,” it says that “no shrub had yet appeared on the earth…for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground” (Genesis 2:5).
God had no intention of working alone. He always intended for you and I to “work the...
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 2:9)
Spain’s largest church, La Sagrada Familia, has been under construction for more than 135 years. Why? Because more than a century ago, the church’s architect, Antoni Gaudi, laid out intricate plans to create a house of worship that would be senselessly, gratuitously, over-the-top beautiful.
Today, annual construction on the church costs roughly $60 million dollars—a price tag that has drawn sharp criticism from many who don’t see the purpose of such lavish art. If Gaudi were alive today, I bet he’d point his critics to today’s passage to remind us that the God his church worships values beauty in and of itself.
Think about it: The trees of Eden didn’t need to be beautiful. They were “good...
Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. (Genesis 2:1-2)
It feels like there’s been a resurgence of Christians committing to rest in general and Sabbath specifically in recent years. As I wrote about last week, I’m all for this! But my fear is that we’ll swing the proverbial pendulum too far in the other direction, with some Christians taking the Biblical command to rest as a license for laziness.
Thankfully, God hasn’t left us in the dark regarding the ideal balance between work and rest. He shows us in today’s passage where it says he worked six days and rested one. Talk about imbalance! God worked wholeheartedly, and then he commanded us to mimic his rhythm: “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:9-10).
God set [the lights and stars] in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day. And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” (Genesis 1:17-20)
God could have created everything in a single day. But instead, he paced himself, spreading the initial work of creation over six “days.”
Take today’s passage as an example. On the fourth day, God created the sun, moon, and stars. Could he have also created “living creatures” that same day? Of course! But he chose not to. After finishing the work of creating the heavenly lights, God called it a day. He rested. And then of course, on the seventh day, he did no work at all, establishing for the first time the idea of Sabbath (see Genesis 2:1-3).
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. 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. (Genesis 1:11-12)
Today’s passage is just one example of a theme we see throughout Genesis 1: God calling the material world “good.” Why is this important? Because it helps us debunk the lie that “spiritual work” is more important to God than work that is more concrete and earthbound.
Let me trace the logic here. Many Christians have grown up believing a misinterpretation of 2 Peter 3:10 which says the earth will be “destroyed by fire” in the end. If we take that literally, then we must assume that our ultimate existence will be disembodied souls floating on heavenly clouds for all...
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3-4)
I finished writing my last book on a Friday and started writing the next one the following Monday. I took almost no time to stop, see, and appreciate the goodness of what I had finished before moving on to the next thing. What a contrast to the way we see God working in today’s passage.
In the first chapter of Genesis, we are told seven times that God “saw that [his work] was good.” The language here suggests more than just a passing glance. You can envision God taking a step back, breathing deeply, and exhaling in delight as he gazed and marveled at the good work of his hands. He didn’t rush on to the next thing. He took the time to see and delight in what he had already made.
Again, what a contrast to the way we work today. You and I are always looking towards the...
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. (Genesis 1:1-3)
The bookends of today’s passage are familiar to us. Countless children’s books and sermons have repeated the words, “In the beginning God created” and “God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” But it’s been a while since I’ve heard someone preach on the fact that “the earth was formless and empty.” What’s going on here?
Well, according to Moses (the author of Genesis), “in the beginning” the world was amorphous and chaotic, wild and unwieldy. And the rest of Genesis 1 shows God bringing form to the formless void. Establishing order where there was once chaos. But pay attention to how God brought order...