Monthly Archives: August 2009

More on The Beginning…

Fourth in the series of Chris Smith’s Days of Creation

The Fourth Day

Here is the world, with the pine green trees mixed with the cobalt waters and white sands and chocolate earth. The trees have slept through the night. The flowers still wait to bloom, wait for the light of morning to stretch, open, and flex their petals. Without the light breaking every morning, they would shrivel, wither, and fade—much the same as we would. Without the light, we could not survive. Without the distinct shift from darkness to light and back again, we could not mark the days as they pass, count each one down as we move closer to His return.

So God studied His handiwork, how the darkness and light He’d created three days before flitted through the universe, still marking evening from morning, but otherwise free to bounce and float, free as the soon-to-be-created birds.

“And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth; And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars” (Genesis 1:14-16).

He has already separated the light from the darkness, but He has not set them into forms. He speaks, and there is an implosion of light, the rays and warmth balling up by unseen hands, the beams weaving tighter and tighter, like a spool of yarn. I imagine God taking the bulb of a sun between His fingers, then pulling out a pebble for the moon, carving out tiny shards of light with His thumbnail to act as stars. Then He grabs the darkness—a swath of black silk—by the edges and spreads it over the expanse of sky. He stretches and pulls and folds the darkness in place, prepares it to cradle His sources of light.

Next, God positions the sun at a perfect distance from His creation, to keep the world from burning, to keep it from freezing. He screws the moon into place, then gives it a flick to set it into motion. And the stars… The stars He flings out like handfuls of birdseed at a wedding, letting them stick where they fall—to shine and blink and twinkle, gifts of diamonds for His son’s future bride.

“God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:17, 18).

Whatever the time, whatever the place, we would have light. God ensured that there would always be a beacon for us to latch onto, a reminder of hope, that dark as the world may seem, there is always a tiny flicker—even from the most distant of stars—of light.

“And there was evening”—this time with moon and stars—“and there was morning”—this time with sun—“the fourth day” (Genesis 1:19).

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“The Beginning”….continued

Continuation of Chris Smith’s guest blog. Just couldn’t stop with the first day! Here are days 2 and 3, for your enjoyment.

The Second Day
The first day had passed. Time clicked and ticked forward. And God came back to His latest creation and spoke, His voice so calm and gentle, but loud enough for the entire world to hear—and obey.

“And God said, ‘Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.’ So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse ‘sky…’” (Genesis 1: 6-8).

Here again, God spoke, and the water—like the light and darkness—obeyed, splitting off from itself, perhaps perfectly divided in two, even right down to the last molecule of Hydrogen. Half of the waters lifted above the other, higher and higher, until the space between them was exactly as God had imagined it: Room for the future land to occupy, sky for the future birds to fly, leftover waters for the fish to swim, and space for His people to grow and expand and fill.

I’ve always wondered about this day, why He would encapsulate the world in a layer of water. It seems odd, yet scientifically, it makes sense. The clear waters allowed the light to pass through, to find every nook and cranny that needed light. And, like a costal city, the water probably made the entire earth temperate, not too hot, not too cold, the perfect place for paradise, a place that would be self sustaining—had we not sinned. Science aside though, the layer of water made sense for His plan, too. He knew the world would soon spiral out of control, and He knew something must be done to renew His creation, scrub it fresh and clean and let everything start again. He prepared for the time when Noah, his family, and the thousands of creatures would be cooped up in an oversized ship, waiting for God’s word to come true. After seven days, it would.

“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11, 12).

God put the waters in place for the future of this planet, these people, His people. He held the waters up, held them above the sky to give the world its chance for living and communing with Him. But even after we fell, He waited. He did not let these waters converge once again, He held them apart, waited, waited, waited, until the world had so spoiled that He cracked open the seals that held the water below and punctured the floodgates that held the water above the sky, so that the two might meet once again, to rinse away the sin that had spread, faster than any disease, across His creation.

But He did not dwell on these things, these heartbreaks and disappointments, because He already knew the outcome, how it ends. Instead of scraping the whole project, He simply separated the waters, carved out a hole called sky for us to breathe and dream in.

“And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day” (Genesis 1:8).

The Third Day

The waters are still, crystal clear and reflecting the azure sky, the whole world a blue pearl, a sapphire, a ball of polished turquoise. God returns with a smile on His face: Today will be fun.

“And God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.’ And it was so” (Genesis 1:9).

A great grumbling sounds from the water’s core, as the waves begin to churn, to build and break and build again. The whole world becomes one giant whirlpool of rushing waters and chopping waves that move, not with the lulling back and forth motion one finds on a boat, but the waves move with a purpose. They need to get out of the way. They need to make room. For, here, now, pokes up the first sparkling grain of sand.

The dry ground waits for the waves to relocate then presses up through the empty space. Higher and higher the ground raises, smelling of fresh rain, clean and bare, soil and sand spread out for as far as the eye can see. And God’s eye can see the entire earth, every inch of the new creation. “God called the dry ground ‘land,’ and the gathered waters he called ‘seas.’ And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:10).

Unlike the previous days, where God separated one thing from another—the light from the dark, the dividing of the waters—then stopped. Today, He was not content with simply separating the water from the land. Not on this day. He had other things on His mind. Green things. Leafy things. Flowering things.

“Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:11, 12).

I’m sure He could summon every tree, bush, fungi, flower, and cacti by simply saying, “Plants, grow.” But where was the fun in that? We have already seen that God loved to name His creations, to set one apart from the other, so why would He use generic terms now? I picture Him surveying the land, calling up the grasses to carpet the ground. I hear Him sounding out the roll call for every pine, every aspen, every willow, palm, and oak. I smell the fruits as they blossom and grow, name by name: apple, orange, avocado, and lemon. I see the bushes pop up to fill in the gaps between the trees. Then the flowers—lilacs and roses and lilies—yawn open, woken by the sound of His voice. Each and every unique plant is called by name, hears, and obeys.

Of course, God probably has His own names for each of these things, but He later allowed Adam to name them for the rest of us. He let us make our mark—however insignificant—on His creations. Because that is why He called them from the earth in the first place: as gifts for us.

“And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day” (Genesis 1:13).

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“The Beginning” – Guest Blog by Chris Smith

This morning, in worship, Outlook‘s editorial assistant Chris Smith announced he was trying his hand at devotional writing, and read his take on The Beginning, in Genesis. I liked it, so I thought I would share it. Who knows, there may be many more to come.

“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Imagine a space of emptiness, a place so utterly void of everything that not even light exists. This is the absolute nothing, the space of non-existence. Yet here is God, hovering over “the face of the waters,” hanging over our formless, empty place, where liquid exists—not the oceans and rivers we know, but a shapeless mass that shifts—without form—like a giant glob of Mercury that beads and flexes. And here is God, watching over this mass, knowing what He is about to do, what He is about to say, knowing that this world will fail, knowing each and every life that will spark, flicker, and fade before His eyes, yet He speaks nevertheless. He says, “Let there be light.” And there was light.

“And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.”

I picture Him peeling a ball of darkness like an orange, tearing the rind away in a single, coiled strip that reveals the life-giving light that explodes to every corner of the universe. I picture Him pulling the strands of light from the darkness, as if He were fishing for glow worms. But it was probably closer to Him saying, “Good morning,” and the light beaming back at Him, bright and full, and whispering “Good Morning” in reply—before He ever took His next breath.

Like all things that are loved, God named His latest creations. “He called the light Day, and the Darkness he called Night.” He already began to show His love for unique creations, for equal and opposite forces, and He started with the biggest contradictions of them all—as the saying goes, “They were different as night and day.”

As any good father would, God took the time to watch His creations, to soak them up, to appreciate them with His full and undivided attention. His mere words brought them into existence. How much easier would it be for Him to complete His work with a few more simple sentences? The world might have been created in moments—with one long and complex sentence, full of commas and dashes and even a semicolon or two—instead of days; but God was in no hurry; He knew the outcome, and He had a plan. So instead of rushing on to the next portion of His creation, I picture Him holding back, waiting, playing with the rays of light, bending and flexing the individual beams to make rainbows between His fingers. I picture Him pulling every colored beam from the darkness, making the darkness darker and the light lighter.

I realize that I’m merely playing with my own ideas and images here. He may not have done any of these things, and maybe He did all of these things. In heaven, we will be able to ask such questions, and find out what He did as He waited through the evening and the morning, and spoke into existence the first day.

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