“God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good.” – Genesis 1: 31
This opening passage of our Bible is both majestic and serene. God speaks and it is so, there is no trace of conflict. The voice of God commands, the universe comes into being and it is good. We move from a formless void, through the majesty of the heavens to the creation of living creatures, with humanity being created last of all. A sobering reminder perhaps of our true place in the scheme of things.
The whole picture is of a Creator God in whom we can have confidence, since the whole world began with the divine word. Human beings, although last to appear, are a reflection of the divine, made in the image of God. That’s a truly awesome thought.
However, verse 28 with its phrase about subduing the earth can be problematic for Christians. For generations past, living before modern technology, life was tough and unpredictable. As Gowan put it, ‘the real earth must be subdued if people are to survive.’ (Gowan D 1988 p 30). However, in our age where technology has had a wide impact on the earth, this phrase is no longer helpful. Instead, we are more concerned with mitigating our impact on the earth.
When I lived in the city, I found it hard to have an affinity with creation. It’s hard even to experience darkness in a city. Moving to the countryside, however, I was aware of rhythm of the seasons and the effects of the weather. A torch was an essential piece of equipment when travelling to meetings at night!
I began to appreciate something of what it takes to work on the land. How the weather can never be controlled, but worked with. How unpredictability is a way of life, and yet plans need to be made months if not years in advance. For most of the farmers I have spoken to, there is a sense of being a ‘co-creator’ with God, even if they don’t use those exact words. They express a desire to leave the land better than they found it, for the next generation.
How do you connect with the natural created world? Could you take time today, to connect with God through creation?
Pray with us:
The world is full of your glory,
from city street to moor and fell creation sounds your praise. We pray for those who farm the land and bring us our food. As they work with the weather and face an unpredictable future help them to know they are not alone. May we all work together to be good stewards of your creation. In Jesus name Amen
(Gowan D E 1988 ‘Genesis 1-11’ pub Wm B Eerdmans)
Today’s reflection was written by Rev. Elizabeth Clarke the National Rural Officer for the Methodist and United Reformed Churches.