Bible Focus: Genesis 1-2
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed…So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed.Genesis 1:31-2:1 CSB
Sometimes our family enjoys solving a puzzle over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. I recently bought a 759-piece escape room puzzle, which has coded messages inside the picture to help us solve an escape room scenario. Of course, these coded messages are not on the picture on the front of the puzzle box. (To further add to the difficulty, our cats tend to play with puzzle pieces; this requires us to chase the cats away while we’re working on the the puzzle, and cover the puzzle when we’re not around.)
So we first opened up the escape-room puzzle a few days ago, and I spread out the 759 pieces on a table downstairs. Then we began to sort: edge pieces over there, sky pieces over there, dim pieces over there, red and blue pieces over there, and so on. Slowly we pieced the edges and some other major sections together, and the puzzle began to take shape. We’re making progress, but we may not finish the puzzle and escape the room before the holidays are over!
However, one thing is sure: this puzzle wasn’t always fractured into 759 pieces. At some point, before going through some puzzle-making assembly line somewhere, this picture was whole and complete. Now it’s broken and it has to be put back together again.
That’s sort of what it’s like to be born into our current reality. Early in life, we sense the brokenness of our world, and we have to somehow make sense of that picture. Most of us have difficulty believing that our world is supposed to be fractured by anger, anxiety, disaster, strife, selfishness, deception, illness, suffering, and death. We keep longing for a world that isn’t broken, even though we’ve never actually seen such a world. We keep looking for a solution that will fix things, or at least help us make sense of why things are broken as they are.
The first two chapters of the Bible give us a picture of that perfect world that we still crave. God created it, every bit of it, and he created it “very good.” The first man and woman lived in harmony with their Creator, in harmony with each other, and in harmony with everything else in creation. God gave them life, abundant food, purposeful work, and beautiful surroundings. There was no death, illness, or wrongdoing. They had no worries about the future, and no regret about the past. They enjoyed living with God and his creation to the fullest extent possible.
Imagine the kind of wonderful world we might have today, if human beings had continued on the path that God had set for them. Imagine our world filled with incredible examples of human creativity in architecture, farming, music, visual arts, business, transportation, technology, and more, all working seamlessly with each other and with nature. Imagine our work filled with purpose, discovery, and progress, without fear of rivalry or devastating loss. Imagine every human interaction as joyful and encouraging, and never having to grieve the death of anyone we love. Imagine regularly spending time with God face-to-face, without fear, talking with him about whatever we wished.
The first part of the good news is this: our broken, fractured world didn’t start out that way. It started out as a perfect world created by a perfect God. God has always wanted us to live with him in this kind of harmony. In fact, as God the Son, Jesus was intimately involved with the creation of this perfect world:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through him and for him…For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.Colossians 1:15-16,19-20 CSB
Jesus not only made the original world; he was the one who came to reconcile the world back to the intentions that God originally had for it. Our current experience in our broken world is an aberration from God’s perfect design. Jesus offers to reconcile us to God, heal our brokenness, and ultimately bring us to a new world where the creation is fully whole.
So if we are weary of the current broken world, and long for a world that isn’t broken, then we must turn to Jesus. We can’t go back to Eden, but we can move forward with Jesus towards a new world. If we trust him, Jesus can reconcile us to God, heal our soul, walk with us, teach us his ways, and prepare us for that new world.
Featured image by Ijaz Rafi on Unsplash