I am slowly offering what I think might be the ten biggest ideas in the Bible. I encourage you to write your own list, the process is a real joy. Yesterday I wrote about God and His self-giving goodness. I need to develop one aspect from that post:
2. Even in its current corrupted state, God’s creation reflects God’s heart and nature.
Those who start with a generic God born of human speculation will tend to emphasize the power of God. Often this truth grows so loud that other truths are drowned out. Yet the God of the Bible doesn’t seem as passionate about His own power as some might suggest. He is all-powerful, of course, but that is defined and driven by the loving relationality of the unity of the three – Father, Son and Spirit.
The giving and overflowing love of the Three-in-One speaks a word, and an abundantly diverse and beautifully united creation into existence. His eternal power is seen in the stunning reflection of His divine nature – with its vibrant, abundant, giving, creative, procreating, beauty.
Yet the beauty of creation is merely a stage for the most powerful beauty of all – the wonder of loving relationship. Creation is the stage for the relationships of creatures made in the image of a relational God. So every field, every mountain, every sunset, every vista, is a delight best experienced alongside another with whom God’s creation might be enjoyed.
We live in a broken, corrupted and perverted creation. Even through the death and the brokenness, we still see overwhelming beauty – from the abiding grandeur of the milky way, to the unique features of an individual leaf. Yet it is not only the lingering beauty that captivates, it is also the smothered whisper of what could be and should be.
The greatest pain is not that felt in a dying body, or that of a marred creation, but the deepest agony of broken relationship. Sadly we may experience the worst of fallenness in our bodies, or see the most grotesque disfigurement of creation, but every human inherently feels the deepest agony of all in the context of broken relationships: with friends, with family, with God.
Creation stirs us, yet creation itself groans. It groans to be the stage of what could be and should be, and by God’s grace and power, one day will be.
The Bible repeatedly returns to the relationship of creation to God – He made it, He owns it, He stamped it with His imprimatur, and He will pour out life to overcome death. Our hope is the new creation, the stage for a greater joy than could ever have been known in Eden.
So we preach a Bible that is earthed, quite literally. Both the past stories, our present experience, and our shared future hope, is well earthed in a world that reflects more about God than we usually even begin to notice. One day we will.