Creation Story: Part 1, The Naked Truth – Genesis 1-3

Adam&EveInGardenOfEden“Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Genesis 2:25, NIV).

Lately, I’ve been considering and re-considering the Creation Story in the first chapters of Genesis.

When I read the Creation Story, I think I typically read it from a scientific point of view, looking for explanations of human origins. But, the more I read it the more I’m convinced that neither the writer of the Creation Story nor the Spirit of God who inspired the writing of the story was trying to provide a scientific explanation of the beginnings of the universe and origin of human beings.

So, what I believe the story is about is relationship and restoration. Human beings were created in the image of God to live in eternal relationship with Him. They defied God and turned to their own devices and because they were created in the image of God, their defiance was a spiritual defiance of cosmic proportions, which impacted the whole created order. Thus, only God could bring restoration to His created order and to His eternal relationship with people.

When read without the baggage of scientific interpretation, the Creation Story provides considerable spiritual insight into the human psyche and the character of God. It may not exactly explain in scientific terms how the universe began, but it does give a good explanation of why we are the way we are.

In fact, the Creation Story exposes the naked truth about human defiance of God’s order and God’s response to this defiance.  In the Creation Story Adam and Eve roamed completely naked in the Garden of Eden where God placed them to live. I guess you could say that the Garden of Eden was the world’s first nudist colony!

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Fragile: Handle With Care – Job 3:20

“Why is light given to one burdened with grief, and life to those whose existence is bitter?” (Job 3:20, HCSB)

In the well-known story of Job, adversity came upon him to the extent that he lost everything including his wealth, family, and health. When his three friends came to sympathize and comfort him, Job posed the question in this verse.

In Job’s bout with depression he was unable to see any good or meaning to his past or future life.

And the grief counseling provided by his friends quickly degraded to faultfinding that seemed to drive Job to self-indulgent self-righteousness.

Like Job, for most of my life I had enjoyed the benefits of a “successful” lifestyle and had never really encountered significant personal tragedy. Until I experienced personal tragedy for myself, I never realized how fragile a person’s psyche can be in confronting adversity.

I always supposed myself to have a high level of mental and emotional toughness that made me invulnerable to the despondency caused by the misfortunes of life.

So I never dreamed I would be able to relate to Job!

When adversity came upon me, I often found myself falling into despair over some insignificant event of the day or by recalling some previously forgotten memory. Sometimes, I even imagined how things might have been had the tragedy not occurred or had God intervened according to my specifications.

So maybe I’m more psychologically fragile and not as well-adjusted as I had supposed I was! I had to throw myself on God’s mercy!

But, in searching for my own mental and emotional stability in adversity, I discovered an answer to Job’s question:

Faith grows and develops somewhere in the tension between vulnerability and invulnerability. When we are most vulnerable is when we can best receive God’s light and life.

But there is a dark side to vulnerability, because it also makes us susceptible to other voices that may include our own despair or the well-intentioned but maladroit advice of others like Job received from his friends.

That’s why it’s not a place we can stay for long.

Yet, neither should we be impervious to the overwhelming emotions that the tragic realities of life can stir up.

Faith is the spiritual interplay between these opposing psychological forces and faith is how we find resolution to our distress.

Through your vulnerability you receive God’s grace, and then God can develop your faith into an invulnerable faithfulness that helps you endure life’s difficulties.

Furthermore, God grows your faith so it can be shared with others.

Experiencing the pathos of personal tragedy elicits God’s overwhelming lovingkindness to sustain you past your anguish. And in so doing, you will then be empowered to share God’s grace with other suffering ones.

The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:3-4, HCSB).