“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."--Matthew 5:13

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Creation and Mandate of Man

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And unto every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Genesis 1:26-30)
Michaelangelo's "The Creation of Man"
These verses have four very important theological and social implications. First, the creation of man was a direct act of the Godhead. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were all present and active throughout the process of creation.
Secondly, God chose to make male and female in both the image and the likeness of Himself, giving humanity a special relationship to God. These are not necessarily physical attributes (although god is described as having certain body parts, such as “the hand of God”) as they are spiritual. The soul of man, being created in God’s image, has the unique capability of embodying God’s communicable attributes, such as rationality, reason, intellect, will, and emotion. Man was also originally created in the likeness of God by embodying God’s moral attributes, such as righteousness and the ability to have relationships. These moral attributes, however, have been lost as a result of the fall, but can be re-gained through faith in Christ alone. Since every human being is created in the image of the Godhead, every human being is special to God. Therefore, we should recognize that every human life is sacred. From the unborn baby, to the woman with mental retardation, to the young man with quadriplegia, to even the elderly man with dementia, every life is special and significant to our creator.
Third, God has put man in charge of the earth, its resources, and its creatures. Man has been given the right, by the Creator, to use everything in the earth for his own benefit. However, even though God has given man dominion over the earth, man should not abuse it. We should be wise regarding our earthly environment, striving to eliminate pollution and harmful waste that destroys God’s creation, while at the same time knowing that we are not sinning when we consume the plants and creatures of the earth.
Finally, man is called to multiply his kind. God has given man the “cultural mandate” to reproduce without shame.

These implications mean that all men and women, regardless of race and social class, have been directly created by God in His own image and likeness. Since man is God’s representative on earth, man has been put in charge of the earth and its resources. Man also is commanded to reproduce in order to keep charge of the earth.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

In the Beginning...

 "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters."
-Genesis 1:1-2

It is impossible for us, as finite human beings, to imagine a time when there was no earth, planets, space, or even time itself. But that is the image that Genesis 1:1-2 gives us. Here we see the only thing in existence: the Triune God.

The Bible begins with a very dogmatic sentence: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." At the beginning of time, it was God who both physically and literally created the heavens and the earth. This creation was a physical work of God because we read a few verses later that by His direct word the universe was created (v. 3). This creation was also literal in that these verses are not metaphors, analogies, or any other figure of speech. This is a narrative of a true event in history. It happened just as we read. We know this because of God's use of repetition throughout the first chapter. For example, each day's creation begins with "And God said", and ends with "And there was evening and morning".

During this time, the earth had no shape or contents. Our finite minds want to make a representation of it, but that is impossible because the earth had neither shape nor color (v. 2). John Gill, in his Exposition of the Entire Bible, writes that the creation "was a fluid matter, the watery parts were not separated from the earthy ones; it was not put into the form of a terraqueous globe it is now, the sea apart, and the earth by itself, but were mixed and blended together; it was...a waste and desert". Although we can only surmise what the earth looked like at this point, we do know that there was darkness all around, according to chapter two.

We also know that the Trinity was present in creation as well. In verse two, the Spirit of God is pictured as hovering over the newly created waters. Later on, the Trinity is active in the creation of the first human beings (1:26-28). Furthermore, in the first chapter of John, the apostle writes that the Son Himself was present and active in creation. John goes to great lengths to show that, not only was the Son present, but He is actually God and that "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being" (John 1:3). It sounds repetitive, but that is John's point. Just as Moses, the author of Genesis, used repetition to show the creation of the world by the direct act of God, so too does John use repetition to show that the Son, Jesus Christ, was present and active in creation.

It is comforting to know that no part of creation has escaped the attention of God, the Spirit, and the Son. And not only did these Beings create the universe, but they were, and are, present in the activity of the earth.