Monday, 6 February 2017

Week 5 Monday (Year 1)

Readings: Genesis 1:1-19; Psalm 104; Mark 6:53-56

For many philosophers and religious thinkers the beginning of the world is imagined as either a re-arrangement of some raw material already there, or an out-flowing from God's own substance. The Bible offers a third view: creation began simply and solely in the wise love of God.

Today, the view of modern scientists about the beginning of the world seems to be edging closer to religious ideas. Physicists speak about the 'big bang', about infinity, and about a 'singularity' of which nothing can be said scientifically. Christianity speaks about the 'mystery’ of creation, about a moment in which all things began (including our space/time, so it is not really a 'moment') and about a unique change (which is not strictly speaking a change at all) from nothing to something, to something very beautiful.

We read in the Bible that creation came about through the word of God. God simply said 'Let there be light' and so it was. The word of God, on which creation depends, originated in the heart and mind of God. God is an artist whose wisdom and intelligence are reflected in whatever God creates.

The people of Israel believed that from the very beginning, the word or wisdom of God was involved in creation. They went further: they believed that the Law given to Moses brought the wisdom of God into the hearts of those who hear it and fulfil its demands with generosity and love. It is in your mouth, in your heart, for your observance (Deuteronomy 30).

Christian faith goes further again. The word of God became flesh in Jesus Christ. This man, our brother, is the Word and Wisdom of God present within creation and history. Jesus is the firstborn of all creation, all things were created in him, through him and for him, and he holds all things in unity (Colossians 1). This is a remarkable belief, that Jesus, sent by the Father, makes present within creation the wise love which is the source and sustaining power of creation itself.

For Christians, the word of God is not simply some cold and rational intelligence. The word of God is a Word breathing love. So creation should be seen not only as an act of power but also as an act of mercy. God, taking pity on what is not anything at all, calls everything into being.

This is a restoration more wonderful than that of the man who had fallen into the hands of robbers, and it is more wonderful than the calling forth of Lazarus from the dead. The act of creation, by which God makes things to be and maintains them in being, is a work of compassion, a free and generous act of love. The compassion of Jesus towards the sick is the compassion of the Creator made flesh.

The word of God is in God. The word of God is within creation holding it in being. The word of God is in the scriptures which contain God's law and the promise of God's Spirit. The word of God became flesh and we have come to know him, Jesus Christ. The word of God is in human understanding, particularly when we understand something of God as creator and redeemer.

This places the human being in a unique position in regard to creation. Not only do we receive it from God but we are asked to care for it, to understand its nature and to guide it towards fulfilment. Since we are the image and likeness of God our creator, the word of God in us makes us creative creatures who experience but who also share the wise love of God.

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