Changing Focus

faces or vaseHave you been fascinated by what I call “what do you see” pictures and puzzles? I speak of visual exercises in which a picture is immediately obvious, and a totally different picture is evident when you look for it. I find such pictures/puzzles fascinating because what you see depends on what you look for.

In scripture, people often see what they look for. For example, when today we talk of the creation in Genesis 1 or the flood which begins in Genesis 6, our conversation may immediately turn to evolution. Our following discussion likely focuses on some conflict or perceived conflict between science and religion.

While that focus is relevant to faith in God now and His work today, is evolution the writer’s point in Genesis? Since science and religion as we know it today did not exist when the writer wrote Genesis, is it possible that we miss his point if we focus only on evolution considerations? Since evolution was an unknown to the writer of Genesis 1 and 6, is it possible the writer’s point had nothing to do with evolution? If so, what was his point? Would it benefit today’s Christian to know his point?

Consider this perspective. Once there was only good, good defined by God (Genesis 1:31). Humanity knew only good, and had a unique relationship with God. Once there was only evil (Genesis 6:5, 6). Humanity knew only evil and had no relationship with God. When humanity knew only good, there was blessing and joy. When humanity knew only evil, there was destruction and death.

Though the patient God was grieved, experiencing the full agony of that grief, He did not give up on reconciliation with humanity. God persisted. He found and revealed Himself to Abraham. He formed a nation through Abraham and gave them opportunity to be His people (Exodus 19:3-6). Through that nation He sent His son, Jesus, to be our guide to Him (John 14:6). In His son’s sacrificial death and resurrection, He gave us a Lord and the Christ (Acts 2:36). In him we can be righteous before God (Romans 3:21-26). Jesus Christ can teach humanity the worthwhile life to live [again] (Ephesians 4:1-5:14). Through Jesus Christ we have a hope of more than just the physical (1 Corinthians 15:12-19); we live for eternal values.

God does not give up on people! He never was an angry God who impatiently sought to punish people. He sought human redemption when nothing in human behavior indicated people were worthy of His concern! Impatience is a human trait, not a divine trait.

Could it be that the author of Genesis wanted people to see that there is joy and blessing in God’s goodness while there is consequences and death in evil? Could it be that the writer affirmed that God’s ways are filled with life and blessing, and godless life is selfish and destructive?

In scripture, do you see what you are looking for, or what God wants you to see?

David Chadwell
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 02 August, 2007

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