At the time the creation stories in Genesis 1 & 2 were written, the most popular account of how the world came to be was one out of Babylon. Knowing the context of our texts is paramount to explaining their existence.
The Enuma Elish is how the most dominant civilization in the ancient world believed creation occurred. We would liken it to a best seller.
Warring gods led by Marduk defeated Tiamat, an evil goddess (the worst ones always are female), and used her dismembered body parts to create the stars, sun, and moon.
The Genesis writers wanted to counter the Babylonian story with one that highlighted the supreme power of Israel’s God. They wrote that God did not need leftover body parts. Instead, God merely spoke - and creation occurred.
Obviously, the ancient writers knew nothing of the sciences that have since taught us so much about HOW creation occurred. They were intent on telling WHO was behind it.
God created all that is. Now we know that “all that is” consists of trillions of galaxies each composed of billions of stars, around which orbit tens (or hundreds) of trillions of planets. The vastness of it all is incomprehensible.
The sheer enormity of the universe speaks of the power of God to create. Sometimes we get caught up in trying to second guess how God did it, but the biblical writers could use only the ideas of their day. It is left to later sciences to fill in the details.
What the Genesis writers contributed was a remarkable account of God’s creative love. God created all that we need to flourish on the earth. The plants and waters are evidence of that plan.
However, we have placed the plants and waters in peril by our inability to see how fragile creation is. God put us here as caretakers, not owners. With careful oversight this world can supply all our physical needs for generations to come.
If we greedily use the resources of the world without concern for future generations, we thwart God’s good plan. Too, we rob our own grandchildren of a livable planet.
Climate scientists have been warning us for decades that what we see happening now would happen. We’ve been too lazy or craven to listen. Now we find ourselves in a climate crisis of our own making.
Will this part of God’s great creation end by our hand? Your actions will contribute either to its demise - or its rejuvenation.
– Mike Mitchell, Pastor at Gault Avenue Baptist Church