Conversation #2: Who Is God?

In the beginning…

Hard to start a story better than that. Even “once upon a time” has the element of, well, time. This past Wednesday at the the GCSC we asked the question of “Who is God?” according to the Bible’s opening chapter.

The conversation was mulit-layered and you can find a link to the Powerpoint here:

GENESIS!(1)

But, the conversation was so helpful and thoughtful I wanted to add a few thoughts:

1. God is creative.

I’m not sure there’s much better news than that. Many people have a view of God that sees Him as primarily destructive, though they more likely are thinking of Zeus rather than the Christian God. But the God we see in Genesis 1 is ultimately creative. It’s the first thing we find out about Him. He creates.

But He doesn’t just create, He creates spaces for things and gives them purpose and meaning. The sea is made for the fish, the land is made for the plants, the earth is made for the people.

Think about that. The God of the Bible is a God who makes a place for things, and then gives them purpose and meaning within that space. Think of Israel. God creates a people out of slavery. He creates a place (the promised land). Christianity in general, many would say, is about God preparing a place called heaven (though few things have been more misunderstood than the biblical view of heaven) for those who wish to be with Him. What does that say for YOU and YOUR life?

Acts 17

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

I encourage you to think about this today. Look around. Observe. You aren’t where you are by accident or chance. Ask questions. Where is God in what I’m doing RIGHT NOW? How can I join Him in creating? Our society would have us believe our identity comes from consuming. God invites us to think differently.

2. Words are hugely important.

In a world that only needs 140 characters, words have slowly become devalued in our society. We talk all the time, don’t we? The question is whether or not we have anything of value to say. In Genesis 1, despite all the pictures you see of God creating the world with His “hands,” God creates by speaking. Think about the power your words have. They literally can shape worlds. You can break someone down, or you can build them up. You can create, you can destroy.

3. If God creates from nothing, there is never a situation without hope.

Genesis 1 says God “created.” The word there is BARA. It means created from nothing. This is what God does. When it seems like there’s no way, He makes one. This goes for situations, people, relationships, etc. So…Christians are the people who never give up hope. Never. As the scholar Stanley Hauerwas says, “Despair is a sin.” Hold onto hope, God can create a way. Through anger, disease, or even death. That’s what the Resurrection is all about.

4. If God “resting” means He is taking His throne rather than, well, whatever we think of “resting” (see powerpoint for explanation), what does that mean for us?

A. Sabbath rest, or stopping once a week to do nothing, is about realizing who is really in charge. Not me. Not you. God is on the throne. We can rest in that because He hasn’t left the throne, He is ruling from it. Give up control this week somehow. Take some time to let the world spin without you. I promise you that it will.

B. Jesus, in His Ascension in the book of Acts is now actively engaged in what is happening in the world. He’s not just waiting. He’s working. He and His Father are putting it all back together.

C. God is king. He’s not just Creator. He’s king. And He’s the only one who can rule. Many other pretenders to the throne have come and gone, but any king other than God causes reality itself to unravel. This is the path of addiction, of selfishness. This is the temptation of power. We…were never meant to rule. That’s a hard one to shallow. Especially if you think you’re qualified. But the fact is, as long as humans sit on the throne of their own lives, reality will be at odds with them. It may not be obvious at first, but eventually reality will strike. As Dallas Willard says, “Reality is what you run into when you’re wrong.” Been there? Got the t-shirt? Me too. Here’s a video we watched Wednesday that wraps up the discussion in this vein:

Everything New from Jeff Cook on Vimeo.

For further reading:

Grace and Peace,

 

Adam Daniels

Campus Minister

Georgia Christian Student Center

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