Archive for December, 2012

Day Five

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

God said, “Let the water swarm with swarms of living creatures and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” God created the great sea creatures and every living and moving thing with which the water swarmed, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds multiply on the earth.” There was evening, and there was morning, a fifth day.
Genesis 1:20-23 (NET)

It is the fifth day of creation: Now that the world was ready for living creatures, He made them.

The first thing that stands out to me in this passage is: God said, God created, God saw and God blessed. If there is any objection about the centrality of God over creation, let it be squashed here. God is the cause for creation; it all begins with God – the uncaused cause.

  • Again we see the use of cognate objects here to signify abundance (the same word play used with the vegetation in day three). “creatures” is the object and “swarm” is the verb. And again, “birds” is the object and “fly” is the verb. God didn’t make just one bird or one fish, He made a whole bunch!
  • This bunch wasn’t just all of the same kind, it tells us that sea creatures were “according to their kinds” and birds “according to its kind”. God was obviously interested in variety.
  • Now here is one strange mention of giant sea creatures. This is the first time in creation where a specific type of animal is mentioned. So what is so special about this giant sea creatures? A short search shows that this term is used on snakes (Exodus 7:9), crocodiles (Ezekiel 29:3), monster (or strong animal; Jeremiah 51:34) and a leviathan/dragon that symbolises God’s enemies (or mythological sea creature; Isaiah 27:1).
  • We need to contend with why the great sea creature had special mention. It could be that God was emphasising His creative power over both great and small, perhaps because of how people of that time thought of great sea creatures. Maybe it could have been a symbolism that God’s enemies (the serpent in Exodus and dragon in Isaiah) were created by God Himself. This squashes the notion of an eternal struggle between forces of good (represented by God) and evil (represented by the serpent/devil), and leaves us with only one ultimate sovereign in the universe – God.
  • Either way, God observed and consider it all good. Everything was created according to His plan and nothing was outside of it. Thus, there was a positive quality about what was created.
  • Here it didn’t say that God created the ability for sea creatures and birds to multiply, but we know that His speech is enough. So His Words enabled them to reproduce – like for like (just like vegetation).
  • Notice that God giving them the capacity to reproduce was considered a blessing. It was something that improved and enriched them in fruitfulness. This blessing has lasting effects and continues after the first act of creation and even after the fall. This was important to the Israelites as farmers and herders. The theme that God’s blessing is the cause of production and fruitfulness runs right through the bible.

Day five touches on God’s sovereignty over all creation, over the perceived bad (great sea creatures) and over reproduction. It tells us that reproduction and fruitfulness is God’s blessing and it is part of His lasting blessing over creation.

The run around

Friday, December 14th, 2012

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Acts 2:44-47

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.
Acts 4:33

Things have been busy in my life. I’ve just started a new job as a Training Information Management Systems Officer with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and I’ve just finished 2 weeks of induction. Its been a steep learning curve and I’m learning to live day by day on the grace of God.

A friend of mine has moved in with us. She is a single soon-to-be mother who is having trouble with finances. We’ve got an extra room, and she needs a place to stay. Perfect! Thats exactly why God has blessed us with a house – so that we can bless others in need who have nothing to offer us back. We’ve been getting mixed reactions from people. While most are proud of us for helping out a friend in need, others caution us about inconveniences to us. I’ve found wisdom and encouragement in both responses.

To those who caution us about inconveniences: We’ve found that people are generally willing to help, as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them. They would rather contribute money, food, clothing… anything as long as its not them she is staying with. There is always “someone else” who can house her, but when everyone says “someone else” will do it, who is that someone? Sara and I decided that we are that someone. We as a family want to be marked by generosity and an open heart.

To those who are proud of us: we’re only doing what we’re called to. That is the model that the early church exemplified. We’re really not doing anything more than that. We say “to God be the glory”, because none of what we have to offer is truly ours anyway.

I’m still sorting out my schedule with all this going on. Until then, I suspect my posts will be irregular.