The Goodness of Creation
What does it mean to say creation is "good"?
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Editor's Note: This article is being released with a partnership with the Center for Pastor Theologians Conference. The theme for their 2017 conference is: Creation + Doxology: The Beginning & End of God's Good World. This conference will explore the cluster of topics related to the doctrine of creation, with a view to illuminating and applying the church's historic teaching on the beginning, purpose, and eschatological end of the world that God has made. Register now to reserve your spot at this year's conference!
Perhaps the clearest thing in Genesis 1 is the affirmation of the goodness of creation. We find the key refrain that runs through this passage of Scripture: "God saw that it was good." Six times, after day one (v. 4), day three (v. 10, 12), day four (v. 18), day five (v. 21), day six (v. 25) and a second time after the creation of humanity, with the addition of "very" (v. 31).
Clearly, one of the main themes of Genesis 1 is the goodness of creation.
And yet this seems like one of the most difficult things to affirm about creation. Why do I say that? Not because of natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes and earthquakes that can be so devastating. No, it seems hard to affirm the goodness of creation when you take a close look at the normal workings of nature. When you take a close look at the creation, what do you actually see? So much that is either ambiguous (and not obviously good) or that seems less than good: even harsh, cruel, indifferent.
Perhaps you'll take a walk this afternoon through a park. It'll be lovely. But if you stop and look more carefully at what's going on, you'll notice there's a world at war. Everything is eating ...