There’s a misconception that creation is a done deal, some grand project that God polished off in six figurative days. And then, with nothing left to do, God called it a day and got some rest.
Nothing is further from the truth.
The seventh day was followed by the eighth day of creation. And the second week. And month. And year.
Creation is an ongoing act, and God isn’t going it alone. That divine creativity is woven into our DNA. We’re active participants, chosen to be co-creators for our little chunk of the universe.
It’s good to remind ourselves of that responsibility this weekend and to spend some time thinking about what we’re doing to the world that God entrusted into our care.
Are we taking seriously the job that is ours individually and collectively? Are we treating all of creation as something sacred, or are we acting as though God’s handiwork doesn’t matter?
Many people don’t give it much thought. Some think that we should do whatever we wish to our world because we have “dominion” over it, which is a total misreading of our role.
The divine directive
Giving us dominion gives us direct responsibility to care and protect. That’s the point driven home from the beginning – we’re expected to conserve our world and nurture it.
Some of the most poetic and beautiful writing about creation is found in the Hebrew scriptures. The creation stories aren’t meant to be science or history or journalism; none of those things was around when Genesis was written. Rather, the stories are more parables meant to remind us of our connections to everything, including the creator.
The first story reminds us that our creator loves diversity – it’s a reflection of the divine spirit. God doesn’t just make one type of anything, but many variations of everything, including us.
We need to be attentive to respecting, fostering, celebrating and encouraging our great diversity.
The second creation story presents us with the wonderful image of humans beings being made from a scoop of earth. We’re not separate from the earth but derive from it, which makes us one with it. To desecrate the earth is to desecrate ourselves as well.
The second creation story also reminds us that we’re joined intimately not only to the earth, but to each other. We’re joined at the ribs, so to speak, and we are animated by the same divine breath.
The stories remind us that all of creation is interwoven, and we’re given responsibility to nurture it. We are caretakers for creation, and caregivers for one another. To trash either the earth or another person is the ultimate profanity.
Never about us alone
This point gets driven home even more directly in another familiar tale later in Genesis. Noah is instructed to care not only for his human family, but all the animals on the ark. The lives of the animals matter as much as his own.
And when the floods recede, God makes a covenant not only with humans – again, it’s never about us alone — but with the animals as well. We’re all in a covenantal relationship, everyone and everything all together.
That covenant remains intact today.
We’re still on the ark called Earth, entrusted with caring for all of creation as extensions of God’s creative hands and loving heart.
So this weekend, let’s remember our responsibility and renew our commitment to one another and to all of creation. Let’s never think of God’s beautiful world – something very good that was entrusted to all of us together – as something we have a right to abuse or desecrate.
Caring for all of creation isn’t optional. It’s a divine directive.
And let’s remember, too, that the earth’s bounty is for all. Nobody has a monopoly or a claim on any part of it. It’s a gift given freely for all to share. We need to treat it as such.
It’s the eighth day. What kind of world are we creating?