This is a message from pastor and teacher Bill Serjak from the Genesis series “In Beginning”
The Living Creatures
God’s creation is becoming more complicated. In the beginning, God made light, sky, water, and earth. Those things are inert and unchanging. They are so static that we can mark property boundaries or navigate by them. When surveying property, large rocks or trees can be markers, but trees are alive and can grow enough to throw markers off, or they can die and decay. All living things have growth and some movement; the creatures God created later have greater and greater movement. A property boundary could never be marked by where a rabbit is located; God’s more complicated creatures have a great deal of freedom of movement. If God is to guide the movement of those creatures, it is done by less rigid rules than those that guide the stars. A more internal guidance system is needed for complex living creatures. Complex creatures also can participate in creation through growth and reproduction.
Human beings also make things. A few years ago I built a kit car. We build mainly inert things that do not participate in their creation. I would work on the car and then months would go by and when I went back to it, it had not changed or grown. It was just as I left it. That was good in that I had total control over what it would become, but it was not alive and did not participate in what it was to become. Lately, I have not been building cars but have been doing yard work. Plants are more complex creations than machines. They are not static and if I do not keep up with the yard on a regular basis, it changes. If I let it sit for several months it will change a great deal, and not for the better. In many ways creative yard work is more complex than just building a car.
As God has gone along in creation, He is now creating the more complex creations that are harder to control. By the power of His Word, He is making living creations that can continue to participate in their creation. Light, sky, water, and earth do not grow The creatures God is now making, grow and move about and are more difficult to control. They are not things that follow strict rules of motion; their motion is more random and self-controlled. With these creatures, it is becoming increasingly possible for the creator to lose control.
There is quite a bit of work being done these days in robotics, which are computers coupled with machinery that makes them more mobile. A lab at MIT has a robot that moves about the lab; when its battery gets low, it seeks out an electrical outlet and plugs itself in. Computers are also becoming more complex to the point where some people worry that they will be harder to control. This not a new worry. A movie made over 35 years ago called, 2001: A Space Odyssey expressed this concern. A computer named HAL controlled a space ship that was on a long journey. It went out of control and started removing the life support from some of the people on board. Creators who make more complex creations always have the concern that they might not be able to control what they make. Simple instruments like a shovel or a dishwasher are not too hard to control, but more complex creations can be much harder. It works the same with God. His more complex creations can cause big problems when they go bad. In a fallen world, the moon may still revolve around the earth but it will not be safe for a lamb to lie down with a lion. The more complex creatures cause more problems when they become disobedient. Living creatures can be more affected by the fall since they are created with more freedom. When Christ’s kingdom fully arrives, God will bring that freedom under His control because the Bible says that in that day the lion will lie down with the lamb. In that day, the self-centered violence of the world will be taken away.
In these verses in Genesis, we see God creating creatures of such complexity that they can go their own way and move away from God. The more complex creatures need to be oriented to God so their lives will operate properly. Humans need to worship God so our lives will operate properly. When God created Adam and Eve, they walked with God and their close relationship to Him guided their lives. Without the guidance that came from that relationship, they could go in very destructive directions. Humans not only can move from one bad place to another, we can also think thoughts that are far away from God. It becomes especially necessary for us to maintain a close walk with God. Without it, we will take very destructive physical and mental paths.
We can become very adept at moving in our own direction and not even notice the destruction that we are causing to ourselves, to those around us, and to those who will follow in generations after us. We can cause destruction as the head of a large corporation or of a church denomination, or as a member of a family. We in the church often operate in the same way as the corporate world operates. Often those of us in the church don’t really operate as though God was there any more than the corporate heads do.
We are now studying the things of creation that can move about in their own ways and can wreak greater havoc on our world. Those of us in that part of the created order especially need to be guided by a direct relationship to God. As we worship God, we humans can be guided to help bring other parts of God’s created order under His control. God has made us to have a positive dominion over the living creatures. Whether we want it or not, we have it and we need to use it under God’s guidance. We worry that the machines we create might become sophisticated enough so that we can’t control them. We are living in the world imagined in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, only we are the created being that has tried to take over from our creator. It is interesting how much of our science fiction and other literature reflects that theme. God made us complex enough so that we can move on our own; unfortunately, we have, even to trying to destroy or at least totally ignore our creator. That is the basic thing we learn from the first few chapters in Genesis. The rest of the Bible is about how to restore our relationship to God and bring His order back to creation. Some Bible studies skip the first eleven chapters of Genesis but to do so means that the basic theme of the Bible is missed.