30 October 2012Genesis 1:1-19
"And God saw that it was good." (vv. 10, 12, 18)
Today's passage comes from the very beginning of the Bible, the first of two accounts of the origins of everything. However closely (or not) we think this story resembles the account offered to us by science we must remember that 'science', as we understand it today, simply did not exist when these words were written. It is not appropriate, therefore, to argue for or against it on 'scientific' grounds. This story had other purposes.
One of these other purposes can be detected in the refrain "and God saw that it was good". Over the centuries some have sought to uproot us from our physical earthly origins and plant us in an ethereal domain of 'spirit'. 'Earth and earthly things are hazardous,' they warn, 'and should be avoided as much as possible.' This refrain proclaims a different insight, loud and clear: God made everything, and he found it good.
But we too are made in God's image. Does that mean we are, every one of us, good - as good as God made us to be? Are we all equally able to see God's image in each other and in ourselves? Are we all equally capable of seeing God's creation as good, or we blinded by the meagreness or the lavishness of our own circumstances.
There has long been a cherished strand of Christian thought which commends detachment from our immediate circumstances as a way of being more open to God. This is hard if our particular circumstances completely dominate our field of vision. It might help if we were to become more aware of the different circumstances in which others find themselves.
- Would you agree with God's judgement that "it was good"?
- Have you known extremes of wealth or poverty yourself or in other people? What might we mean by 'detachment' in such situations? To what extent is it possible to be detached and yet fully involved in the life of the community?