Putting the Good Into Creation
June 15, 2014
Trinity Sunday A
“In the beginning… it was good.” How many times have we heard that phrase. In the beginning, it was good six times in six days. The light, the dry land and seas, vegetation, the sun and moon and stars, animals, and mankind. In the beginning… God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” But now…
Much has evidently changed. In five short chapters in Genesis, we have moved from the repeated refrain “it is good,” a refrain culminating in the Creator who steps back and declares it is “very good,” to regret. In Genesis 6:5-6, “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him in His heart.” Regret over creating man and being grieved to the point of destroying not just man but creation itself suffered greatly because of the Flood. The problem may have begun with one man, but its effects have spread to the point where God decides to blot out not only man but “animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens” as well.
Brokenness begins in the actions of Adam and spreads through all creation. It seems as though goodness doesn’t always last long since the Fall into sin. In the beginning it was a good idea, it worked well, but not now. In the beginning the food was good, but once it sat out, it spoiled. In the beginning, the job was good, but now it’s just work. In the beginning, our friendship was good, but now it’s just gossip and backbiting. In the beginning the marriage was good, but now the romance and love has fizzled. We live in a world, in a creation by a good God, that while once declared good by its Creator, now has evil running ramped. In Psalm 14:2-3, King David observes the same thing as from before the Flood, “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.” Sin has infested you and I and all of creation, turning what was good into evil, corrupting the way things were supposed to be, making you and I into poor, miserable sinners deserving only present and eternal punishment.
This impulse to undo His creation is not limited to the Flood. While God promises not to destroy the world in flood again, He does bring destruction upon man and creation due to His anger over their sin. Consider Sodom and Gomorrah where God razes not only the city but “what grew on the ground as well,” or his repeated threats to destroy his own people (Exodus 32, Numbers 16), to say nothing of the repeated depictions of the “Day of the Lord” throughout the writings of the prophets. These are strong words to us here today as well, that God does not tolerate evil, He does not condone sin, He does not put up with something, or someone, that is not “good.”
And so repent. Repent of the good you should have done but did not do. Repent of the evil thoughts and desires in your heart. Repent for taking what is good in God’s creation and twisting it into something different. Repent for thinking that if you just try hard enough, if you are just “good” enough, then you will be “good” – a good husband, a good wife, a good father or mother, a good employee, a good Christian. I hate to break it to you, but your goodness does not come from you, from what you do, but it comes only from God. Your goodness is alien to you, not inherent to you. Repent and believe that Jesus Christ is the only One who is truly good, and that in Christ alone, God is able to look at something He made and say again, “It is good”
Ponder again of when Jesus was baptized. As the Father’s Son—He who was there at the beginning and through whom all things were made—stands in a river being baptized, the heavens are torn open, the Holy Spirit appears in the form of a dove, and the Father declares, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” (Mt 3:17). It is through this man, the new Adam, that God steps back and declares of his creation “it is very good.”
Take away Christ, and there is no more good. Hebrews 11:6 states, “And without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.” Only justified people, who are led by the Spirit of Christ, can do good works. Without faith and Christ as Mediator, good works do not please (Ap V 251).
Ponder your own baptism. While there was nothing good in you, in the name of the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – God put the good of the crucified and risen Jesus into you. Redemption begins in the second Adam and spreads through all of creation, and to you, in those blessed waters, in the body and blood of Christ, in the only News that is truly Good, right, and salutary. The good of creation comes in God making it good and declaring it to be good. Made by God’s Word, hovered over and breathed life spoken, the evil of your sin, the good that you lack because of the Fall, is given to you by God’s grace, received by faith.