Reflections on Faith and Community
In this blog, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.
Andrew S. Odom
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:1-2)
If there is any scripture reading in the Bible that we know most of all, it is this one. We love the story of creation. It is fun and playful and filled with life. We know it so well, in fact, that we ask all kinds of questions about it. Without even realizing it, we put on our scholarly thinking caps and begin to dissect this text with academic tweezers. Where did the darkness come from? Was the formless void already there? How did the waters appear? We get very detailed in our questions, and it gets us into more trouble than it should.
Years ago when I opened restaurant locations, one of the roles I played was to train support staff. We called them the ATD team (attention to detail). Their job was to constantly look for and attend to the details. We did detail well. Too often, though, we bring this ATD thinking into our spiritual life, and it is not always helpful. Believe it or not, scrutinizing Genesis the way we do actually does the reading harm. A detailed account of creation, it is not. Rather than bog us down in the details of some scientific method, these words are there to proclaim the greatness of God. It is a wide sweeping proclamation of a wide sweeping God with a wide sweeping grace in a creation of wide sweeping beauty, a God who, as Michael Jinkins puts it, “makes things continuously because God loves the things God makes.”
Perhaps the best way to read the first words of Genesis is not with a lot of detailed questions at the ready, but with our jaw stuck to the floor in complete awestruck wonder.
Published on 04/11/2016 @ 9:57 PM CDT