God saw that it was good | Genesis 1:9-13
And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day. Genesis 1:9-13 | ESV
The other ancient stories of origin typically pitted God (or rather god or gods) against Chaos – what in the Hebrew of Genesis 1:2 is called “tohu ve-vohu.” Without form and void. I frequently with tongue firmly planted in cheek tell people to think “teenager’s room” and you have a picture of “tohu ve-vohu.” What’s remarkable in this Genesis telling is that chaos, “tohu ve-vohu,” is not confronted as a adversary, or wrestled to the ground and slain like the great beast it is so often pictured as in other ancient stories. Here the Spirit of God hovers over the face of the chaotic, dark waters. No pitched battle. No smack down. No slaying. Hovering. In fact, it’s more than just hovering. The word can literally mean caressing. The Spirit of God caresses the chaos and out of the caressing ultimate comes creation that is very good. This is a lesson that should not be lost on us, but all too often is in the ensuing blood, murder and general mayhem of the Old Testament story: God hovers, caresses, and speaks light and life into the work, he doesn’t beat it into the world, or into us. God embraces chaos and out of the embrace bursts boundless creation and universe, flora and fauna, species and organisms. And while we’re at it, this isn’t a bad lesson for us to remember when it comes to the chaos of our own present existence.
Where in your life are you currently encountering chaos that is threatening to swallow you? How can you submit that chaos to the caressing presence of God?
Spirit of God, hover over me, over my chaos, over the dark and confused waters of my own existence, and bring forth your glorious creation. Teach me to join you in your hovering and caressing movements of grace in this chaotic world.
For all of this week’s resources for this new series on Spiritual Disciplines including this week’s DG video, check out the Vineyard website.