Monday, February 6, 2017

Faith, Patience, and Re-creation

Beginning today and running through next week, the first reading takes us back to the opening chapters of Genesis, to the creation of the known universe. As we read the first creation story today, we keep in mind that the Bible is not intended to be a physics, chemistry, or biology textbook. It is the ultimate Book of theology and anthropology. It tells us who God is, who we are, and what our relationships to one another and to God should be.

It begins with the most fundamental truth. The universe was created. It was not coincidence or accident, but intentionally brought into existence by a preexisting God.

The world Genesis tells us started out as "a formless wasteland"as our current translation has it. But the Hebrew is much more poetic in its description. The earth is "tohu-vbohu."

The first chapter of Genesis then uses "days" as a way of telling us that the earth was not an instantaneous creation, but one that took place in an orderly fashion, over time.

On the one hand, it is comforting to think that there is order to the universe and that God is guiding the process. On the other hand, it is precisely the creation over time that we don't much care for. If God had wanted to he could have brought the entire universe and everything on earth into being in an instant, but He didn't. He chose to do it step by step, is a painstaking careful and orderly process. And we know how long each "day" actually took.

If this is how it all began, why then do we expect that when chaos overtakes our personal lives, God will step in and fix it in an instant? The introductory verses of Genesis remind us that faith must go hand in hand with patience. When we turn to God in prayer we need to be patient and understanding that it is only "day" one.