Last week one of my professors (name and credentials provided upon request) told our class that people in the Middle East have no concept of this statement: “Earth is just a waiting room before getting into Heaven.” After studying Genesis 1:1-2:3 I have come to realize that in a way, believing that statement is a sad thing indeed. Here is why:
The first three days of creation could be considered as the baking of the pie crust, if you will. Days four, five, and six would then be considered the filling. The “baking of the pie crust” is God planning out and making a world for people to inhabit. He said, “let there be light!” and there was light. He spoke of the water and the sky, and it appeared. He told the dry land and sea to separate, and it did. On the third day He also told the earth to grow vegetation, and it did. And God saw that all of that was good. Then the next three days God made the sun, moon, stars, animals, and then humans. All of that He saw was very good.
Now, looking at Isaiah 45:18, these are God’s words about creation:
“For this is what the Lord says- he who created the heavens,
he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth,
he founded it; he did not create it to be empty,
but formed it to be inhabited–
he says: ‘I am the Lord, and there is no other.'”
Then if we look at Proverbs 3: 19-20 there is another account of creation:
“By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
by his knowledge the deeps were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.”
And then further to Proverbs 24:3-4:
“By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established;
through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”
What is built? A house is built. We can see a direct link between God creating the earth and making it a home through wisdom being the corner stone-especially reading Proverbs 8 (a long amount to put in this post, but definitely incredible- please read it!).
So God made Earth to be a house for us, a home for us, but is that it? Fortunately, no! The Psalms (and a lot of the Old Testament) are filled with evidence of a certain kinship that we have with the earth- that we were made to praise God the Creator! I don’t wish to create this post into a long blecture [blog+lecture] so instead of posting the entire Psalm 48 I will just say it is a wonderful example of this kinship.
So, when God told the earth to produce vegetation and it did, I would just like to say that it still is. Isn’t that so mind blowing?! (It was for me, I must have looked like a fool after class smiling all the way back to my dorm as I took in all of the nature around me.) I mean seriously, how amazing it is that years and years and years ago God told the earth to do something and it still is doing it to this day! It’s fulfilling its purpose given to it at the time it was created. God is so cool! He really is, and it’s so cool to reread parts of the New Testament like when Jesus calms the storm (one account is Mark 4:35-41). The same voice that created the sea calmed it and made it still. It just shows what kind of God we have- not only one that is powerful enough to control the sea, but one where its creation reflects its obedience and love to it every single day. We, as humans, are called to rule over and take care of this earth, and we should do so with the knowledge that we were both made to love God. Obviously we shouldn’t worship the earth, but rather we should go through each day knowing that God made this earth as a home for us and that our home is His temple because it glorifies Him every day (I have more verse references and if you would like them then all you need is to ask!).
There is so much more I would like to say about this and I am sure I am forgetting a bunch of it, but for now I pray this changes your view of the world like it did for me. With this post I am including a picture of J.R.R. Tolkien with a tree because it is my belief, just from reading Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia, that he and his fellow author C.S. Lewis understood this concept of the world (and for those of you who know me well enough, you will know that makes me extra happy).