In our Bible study a couple of weeks before Easter, we started looking at the first chapter of Genesis. While this was not the focus of the study, my mind started to consider how the story of the Creation itself — the first six days outlined in Genesis 1 — relates to the redemption of man through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and his resurrection. So what does the Creation story really have to do with Easter? There are clear pictures of Christ’s victory over Satan later in Genesis (God’s proclamation to the serpent in Genesis 3:15 that Eve’s offspring will crush its head), but in Genesis 1, the pictures of God’s redemptive plan are less well-defined. Still, they’re there. Here are some of the observations from our group’s discussion.
1. Abundant Majesty. First, think about existing forever, from this moment on until eternity. (That’s your destiny, you know — existing forever, either in heaven with God, or in hell, eternally separated from God.) Now, try to imagine something or someone that has always existed, in the forever that preceded today. That’s even harder to grasp. But it illustrates the majesty of God, majesty that existed for the eternity before anything else, and dominion without limits. And the New Testament, where Jesus is also referred to as the Word, tells us that Jesus was there, too. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
2. Awesome Power. Once you’ve tried to wrap your mind around God’s this aspect of his majesty (there are countless others), then think about an eternally preexisting God using materials that were “formless” and “void” and turning them into the heavens and the earth just by saying so. Does this sound like a God who has the power to cause a virgin to give birth to his only son, give that son as a sacrifice for the world’s sins, and raise that son from the dead on the third day after his death? To quote famous Alaska politician Sarah Palin, you betcha.
3. Absolute Holiness. God Is a God of order. God’s creation of the Earth and the heavens happened exactly in the order it needed to happen for the next day’s creation to survive. First, God separated the waters from the heavens (day two). He then separated the waters from dry land and made plants for food (day three). He filled the waters with fish (day 4), made land animals (day five), and finally, man (day 6). And on day 7, he rested.
God’s precision in ordering Creation reminds me of his absolute holiness. Like his Creation, God’s redemption plan also has an “order” that must be followed — the shedding of blood — for the remission of sins. Ever since the Passover in Egypt, the Israelites understood that this “order” for the forgiveness of sin involved shedding the blood of a spotless, blemishless, perfect lamb. His ultimate plan, the one sacrifice for all and for all time, was for the shedding of the blood of the perfect lamb. As John the Baptist testified, this perfect lamb was Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Just as God’s creation of the world and man was in perfect order, so was man’s redemption in perfect order, and in God’s perfect time.
4. Amazing Love. In Genesis 1:26-28, God said that man was to fill the earth, subdue his creation, and rule over it. In other words, God entrusted His creation to man! I don’t know about you, but I won’t turn over the keys to a creation of mine unless I’m really fond of the person to whom I’ve giving that control. Turns out, that’s exactly how God feels about man, except that his “fondness” — his amazing love — was so great that he sent his Son to die on a cross. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
The final question that we ask in our Bible study each week is this: “What are you going to do about what we learned this week, and who are you going to tell?” My mind drifted, thinking of the actions I could take, the people I could witness to, the things I would say. (I settled on writing this blog article.) But one dear woman in our group had an even better idea: “I’m going to plant a flower.” A simple act that communicates the beauty and creativity of God to the world. Wish I’d thought of that.