God Sees and Declares our World to be Good
Genesis is essential in answering many of the big metaphysical questions that we must answer as human beings. The answers it gives are utterly distinct from other religions and philosophies, setting us up to live uniquely in the world. As people who believe the Bible to be God’s revelation of himself, his truth, and his purposes, we would not know how to think of ourselves outside of the foundation given in Genesis.
The first three chapters of Genesis answer many of life’s biggest questions, today it will help us address this question: “How does God’s declaration of creation as good, change how we see, live in and respond to our world?”
Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. “
We learn that the Cosmos had a beginning and God is before that beginning (God is the only necessary being)
God is the initiator of the Cosmos (Creation is God’s choice)
God is not the same as the Cosmos
As we continue to read, we find a unique pattern to God’s activity in Genesis 1.
Genesis 1:9-10 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
This pattern (God speaks. God sees. It is good.) is repeated six times in this chapter. Every time God says, ”Let there be” in Genesis 1, good things emerge.
But now, consider the second part of the pattern. First, God speaks, it is so. And then God sees. The Hebrew word is raw’aw, it can simply refer to the act of seeing, but it also can mean to gaze, to consider, or to contemplate. As God sees, he comes to a conclusion, “What I see is tov,” this is the third part of the pattern. The word means good, pleasant, agreeable, or beauty. God expresses satisfaction at the goodness and beauty of what has been made.
On the sixth day, God fills the world with creatures of all kinds, and then, his magnum opus, he creates humankind, male and female in his image and places them within his good world. God then comes to a different conclusion in verse 31, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” This is the phrase, tov ma’ode—good or exceedingly much. Each part has been affirmed as good; but now, when God sees all parts together, He sees the whole as very good. Creation is ready to serve the purpose God has set for it.
Here then are some basic conclusions we can draw just from an initial reading of parts of this chapter:
Out of his own goodness, God creates our good world
His intentions are good, His actions are good and the results are good
This world belongs to him. He dwells with it and he deeply value it – it is tov ma’ode
While the fall has brought warp to God’s creation, we know that creation itself longs to have the curse of sin and rebellion lifted off of it. We also know that the new creation is God’s redemptive power at work in the world; it begins with the resurrection of Christ, it continues as we enter into his life. It is culminated when all things are reconciled to God in Christ.
How then might we practice what Genesis 1 teaches?
Let creation guide your thoughts to God
Have gratitude for your body
Recover the value of all vocations
Enjoy the pure materiality of your bodily experience