Whole Life Whole Bible Day 05
Genesis 1:31 (NASB)
31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
4: It was good
There can be no mistaking how God evaluates his creation. The affirmation comes six times in Genesis 1, to make sure we don’t miss it. The repetition makes it clear that each part is good, climaxing at the seventh time with the statement that the sum of the parts is ‘very good’. God doesn’t just create the world; he creates the world good — very good.
The fact that the word is applied to stars and seas and trees and turtles suggests that something more than moral goodness is in mind. Think ‘good’ in the sense that Genesis 1 itself implies: a well-ordered, beneficial, fitting, beautiful, teeming-with-life, everything-in-its-place goodness. From the intricate parts to the immense parts, all of it is good.
Nor is the goodness of creation to be limited to ‘nature’. Human society and culture are also embraced, with the goodness of work and marriage affirmed as spheres in which we may serve God — the architect at her desk, the baker in his kitchen, the mother in her home, the teacher in his class, the husband and wife in their bed. All of it good.
For Christians, it is a reminder on the first page of the Bible that our faith is world-affirming, that we may delight in the goodness of God’s created order. It should come as no surprise when God wants to show up in areas of our lives from which he has sometimes been excluded — our careers, our friendships, our studies — since the world has been designed with our well-being in mind, as a place of blessing for us.
Alas, things don’t stay good. But the evil that comes later is not an inevitable or necessary part of the fabric of the world or of human beings, and the Bible anticipates a time when evil will be removed. Meanwhile, God’s good creation provides a strong clue that ‘being saved’ by God is not about being released from an evil body for a non-material existence. We may expect that the salvation Christ brings is not a rescue from the world but a salvation for which the world was made in the first place — a new creation, no less (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Much more than a claim about the process by which life came into being, a biblical perspective on creation involves a response of praise to the God on whom the whole of life depends, and who is the source of everything that is good.
For further reflection and action
What do today’s different ‘voices’ say about the physical and cultural and social world in which we live? (Think politicians, media pundits, lobby groups, and so on.) How far do these voices square with Genesis 1?
Reflect on the actual difference the ‘goodness’ of creation will make to specific areas of your life today and this week — your work, rest, family, money or time. How do we live distinctly as servants of God in his good creation?
It has been regularly noted that on days 1–3 God forms the world (Genesis 1:3–13), and on days 4–6 he fills the world (Genesis 1:14–27). What he separates on days 1–3, he stocks on days 4–6, first making the ‘realms’ and then assigning their ‘rulers’. What might this suggest about the literary qualities of the creation account? And what might this careful structuring of the account teach us about the nature of God’s work in creation, and creation itself?
Visit LICC to find out more or get an overview of the Biblical narrative and the ways it can shape us by reading the Introduction to Whole Life, Whole Bible from the Whole Life, Whole Bible book.