Jeremiah provides a succinct summary of God’s creative force: power, knowledge, and wisdom. Through it, he established the entire universe, our physical realm of existence.
Power: God is a god of power. He is all-powerful, that is, almighty; he is omnipotent. There’s nothing he can’t do; nothing is too big for him, too complicated, or too hard. He unleashed his unlimited power to create us, our world, and the universe we live in. How he did it doesn’t matter, but he was there at the beginning and before the beginning, creating our temporal reality out of his power.
Knowledge: Power without knowledge is, at best, a wasted effort; at worst, it is a tragedy. Fortunately, God is also a god of knowledge. He knows all things; nothing is beyond his comprehension; he is omniscient. Creation is birthed by his power and through his knowledge.
Wisdom: Without wisdom, knowledge and power have no purpose. God is wisdom; he exemplifies the ultimate in understanding. Wisdom guides power and informs knowledge to create something truly marvelous. In his wisdom he made all things, working perfectly together in the ultimate masterpiece.
We are an amazing creation, living on an amazing world, stationed in an amazing universe. We applaud God for making it all, using equal parts power, knowledge, and wisdom.
Thank you, God. You are awesome.
Asking respectful questions about the Bible is not a sign of rebellion or indication of disbelief, but can be a means of more fully pursuing the God who is revealed in the Bible. It is from this perspective that I’ve been pondering the creation account and asking some questions. My final query is:
6) People were not made until midway through the sixth day, so there were no eyewitnesses to most of God’s creative efforts. How then could details that no one saw have been known, passed down from one generation to the next, and then recorded in the Bible?
The solution is that God would have had to tell his creation how they came to be. Just as a parent leaves out details when a young child asks “Where do babies come from?” so, too, God must have left out details when he explained our origins to us. Still, I want to know more.
However, Moses puts my inquiring mind into perspective, confirming that God has kept some things from us:
“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever.”
God is, in many ways, a mystery — and that is one of the things that draws me to him.
Continuing with my questions about the Genesis account of creation — but never doubting that we and the world we live in were created by God — I focus on the person of Cain — who killed his brother Abel — asking questions 3, 4, and 5.
3) At this point in the story, only three (living) humans have been identified: Adam, Eve, and Cain (Abel is dead). So, who did Cain marry? The conventional answer is his sister. Yuck! In addition, it would have been a genetic disaster. A more reasonable answer is that God had created other people as well, and from them, Cain picked his bride.
4) If there were only Adam, Eve, and their offspring, why would Cain need to build a city? Surely, one couple and their offspring would not warrant Cain constructing a city. The reasonable explanation is that as Cain wandered the earth, he encountered other people to live in it.
5) Cain was afraid that the people he encountered in his wanderings would kill him. God’s solution was to put a mark on him to protect him. Why did Cain need this mark for protection? Certainly, his family would know him. Only if there were numerous other people, would this be an issue.
Again, I ask these questions, not to poke holes in the Bible’s creation account, but to acknowledge that we are lacking details. In my next post, I will pose my final question and offer my conclusion.
[Genesis 4:17, Genesis 4:13-15]
By faith, I believe that God created us and the universe in which we live. But that resolute statement does not preclude questions about the biblical account of our origin. Here are two of them:
1) On the fourth day of creation God made the sun to separate day from night and to mark the passage of time. If it wasn’t until day four until we knew what a day was, how then could the first three days have been measured and counted? Consider that if someone was in pitch-black, solitary confinement for a period of time and then later given a watch, he would still not know how much time had already passed.
2) What about Eve? In Genesis 1, it says that on the sixth day God created man and woman — at the same time. In Genesis 2, the timeline is different. The world is made; Adam is created and placed in the garden of Eden to care for it and all the animals. Then God realizes that his creation is incomplete. Adam is alone. So then God makes Eve. This occurs after he made everything else and not at the same time he created Adam. Which is it?
More Genesis questions will be asked in the next post about Cain.
[Genesis 1:14-19, Genesis 1:27-31, Genesis 2:4-22]
In my prior posts, In the Beginning, Creation or Evolution, and the Time-Space Continuum I pondered about the reality behind our origins.
The Bible’s book of Genesis provides us with an explanation of how things began. This is an account that would have been comprehensible to ancient man, one that would have sufficiently answered the timeless question of “Where did we come from?” in a way that a primitive people would have understood.
But the debate for a modern man is if the Genesis saga is mere mythology, scientifically sound, or theological truth. I hold firmly to this third view and am simultaneously open to the second, while firmly rejecting the first.
As I read the creation account in Genesis, many questions come to mind. These are not faith-confronting issues, but rather ponderings that lead me to conclude that there is more to the story than what the Bible provides.
I will share my creation queries in future posts, not to poke holes in the creation narrative, but to stand in awe of a creator who has all the answers, but didn’t feel it germane to share the details.
So, despite unanswered questions, I am unfazed. Isn’t that what faith is?
Many people criticize the Bible — and those who follow it — for making women subservient to men. This is not a conclusion I reach when I read the Bible. I see the Bible — and those who truly follow it — as elevating the plight of women to the place they were created to be: equal to men.
Consider Genesis 3:16 where God says to Eve that Adam will rule over her.
This is not God’s created order or a command; this is an outcome.
Adam and Eve disregard God’s way and decide to do things their way. As a result, they can no longer stay in the idyllic paradise he made for them; they have to leave. Because of their actions, life would be different. One of the changes is that men would attempt to elevate themselves over women.
This was not God’s intent, but rather the result of human action.
In the beginning — in the first two chapters of the Bible — man and women are implicitly equal. That is how God creates them to be. Then man and women get greedy and want more; they mess up the order God intended.
Their actions change God’s balance and one of the outcomes is gender inequality and strife. It isn’t what God wanted, but it is what human beings got when they did things their way.
In Jesus’ parable of the tenants, there is a man who plants a vineyard and rents it out. When it is harvest time, he sends his representative to collect some of the harvest (which is likely the terms of lease). Instead of remitting to the owner what is due him, the tenants refuse, mistreating everyone the owner sends, even to the point of killing his son. The owner then kills the evil tenants and leases the vineyard to others.
Perhaps the first part of this parable is a picture of what God wants from us. As tenants in his creation, he desires us to give part of our “crop” to him as a form of “rent” for the privilege of living here. This seems simple enough, but often we are greedy, wanting to keep everything for ourselves. The implication is that God will then find someone else who is willing give to him what is due him.
This is perhaps what Jesus had in mind when on another occasion says “…and give to God what belongs to God.”
[Luke 20:6-19 and Matthew 22:21]
The Bible says that our being — our entity — is comprised of spirit, soul, and body. That is something to contemplate.
At first glance, I’d be inclined to reverse the order, from the most tangible (body) to the least (spirit).
However, considering that God — who is spirit — made us in his image, it is appropriate to list spirit first, thereby making it foremost. Seemingly, it is our spirit — not our body — where our primary essence exists.
My friend Nate explains it this way: We are a spirit, we have a soul (comprising of mind, will, and emotion), and we live in a body.
Our body, where our spirit and soul currently resides, is both temporal and temporary; it is finite and will one day end.
Our spirit, however, is not likewise restricted. That is another thing to contemplate.
Could there be a spiritual realm that is more real than the physical realm in which we live? I hope so; I think so.
[1 Thessalonians 5:23]
If we were created, as the Bible says, how did it really happen?
I have heard different views on the subject:
- Creation occurred in seven literal 24-hour days.
- Creation occurred in seven increments of time, paralleling the evolutionary time-line.
- Creation occurred when God made all of the requisite ingredients, setting the stage for evolution to transpire. He then sat back and joyfully watched things happen.
One of these is probably true — or perhaps there is a completely different understanding. It is easy to fixate on the details and lose site of the critical unifying element: that God was instrumental in creation; the rest doesn’t matter — not really.
[See my prior posts on this subject: In the Beginning… and The Time-Space Continuum.]
My prior post, “In the Beginning…“, may lead some to quip, “Well, where did God come from?”
If there is the assumption that God’s existence is like that of our own, then a creation view has the same limitation as an evolution view: something had to come from nothing.
However, in considering the creation account in the book of Genesis, we see that God made the heavens (space), lights — the sun, moon, and stars (space), and the sky (space). Clearly, God made space.
Physicists tell us that space and time exist on a continuum. That is, space and time are co-existent. Ergo, if God created space, then he also created time.
If God created time and space, then he has to exist outside of the space-time continuum; he is timeless and therefore eternal, with no origin and no beginning.
To accept creation, one must have faith that God always existed, whereas to accept evolution, one must accept that something came from nothing.
For me, the former perspective is less of a stretch.
[Genesis 1:1, 3, 9, and 16]