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Genesis 1: Above the Chaos

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

We all love chaos. Our world thrives off of chaos. Think about the movie Frozen. We meet two princesses who are extremely young playing around this enormous castle. Every kid’s dream. You think, “oh this is a cute movie,” and then the little girl with white hair has ice powers! “Oh, this is going to be great,” you say to yourself. Then skip ahead. The two girls are up late one night playing with Elsa’s ice powers and Anna gets frozen solid when she falls off a snow platform and Elsa tries to break her fall. And the movie goes from cute to real deal in like 2.5 seconds. Then, after Anna is saved and her memory wiped of the incident, for the rest of these girls’ lives, they are separated from being the best pals ever. Pretty chaotic story right, well as you probably know, that is just the beginning of the chaos. Not only are these two sisters’ relationship broken by their parents out of fear, but then their parents die on a shipwreck.

Now, these two sisters that have been separated for years are left to pick up the pieces of their broken family and the older sister Elsa is about to be crowned queen. Then we get to the moment where Elsa is about to be crowned queen and then… Boom! Her ice powers are revealed torches come out of nowhere, a riot happens and then an ever-present snow storm settles on the kingdom. And that is just the beginning of a kids’ movie. If you think you dislike chaos, you are lying to yourself.

The problem is the same chaos that we crave in our books, movies, and t.v. shows have invaded our lives. We live in constant stress and uncertainty. In consequence, we believe God is a chaotic God who has no order. Because how could He be a God of order in such a chaotic world? Over the next couple of blog posts, we are going to discuss how God commissioned humans to rule alongside Him over the earth and gave us a choice: to trust God’s judgment or to judge and rule the world on our own terms.

Before we get there, we must establish that this creator God is a good God, and the world that He created is a good world. If we believe the world was born into chaos, we will never expect a life of peace, when in fact God promises us peace when we trust in His way to rule and reign over the world.

In the Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek, and other creation accounts, the world is born from gods at war. Then one god or a group of gods takes control of the chaos that was in consequence of their war and rules with an iron fist. The Hebrew creation narrative is the exact opposite.

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was a formless and desolate emptiness, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness He called “night.” And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”

Genesis 1:1-5 NASB2020

While chaos is a part of the picture in Genesis 1, God is not born from the chaos but, God appears hovering over the chaos. By hovering over the chaos, God shows that He is separate and even superior to the chaos. Then when God speaks, the chaos disappears and God creates order from this chaotic wasteland of the universe. Many people have used the chaos as biblical proof that there was matter before the creation of the earth, but rather than matter this chaos is not matter, but Genesis is establishing an image to associate to nothingness and it is the image that the biblical authors use throughout the rest of the Bible to depict de-creation. Throughout the rest of the biblical story, sin is shown as trying to de-create God’s good world and take us back into nothingness. While sin promises us a new, better world, in reality, sin, when in control, will drag us back into the nothingness of the pre-created world.

God establishes a good world and then creates His own image bearers to rule and reign the earth on His behalf. Unlike the other creation narratives of the ancient Middle East, this God enters a partnership with humanity to rule the entire universe together. God did not create the world to lord over it and have a never ending worship service, but God created the entire universe out of the overflow of love from God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit.

Next blog post, we are going to talk about how this partnership between God and humanity works and why that pesky tree that screws up everything is placed in the Garden.

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