Blooming, I Mean Cultivating, Where Planted

Some things we talked about Sunday morning and this blog post got me thinking about Genesis 2. God placed Adam in the garden (a pre-fall garden) and gave him a task: till (or cultivate as it is sometimes translated) and keep. After the fall, God placed him outside the garden and told him to till.

At the end of the OT, in Malachi, we read that the people don’t really care about the things that God cares about. The prophet says that the people no longer serve (the same word in Genesis 2 for till) God or keep (same word as in Genesis 2) his charge.

It seems that regardless of where we are, we have been tasked with taking care of things that God has entrusted to us. And God has placed each of us in a particular culture so that we might cultivate it, add order to it—redeem it as Jake talks about in his blog post. And if we buy into the fact that everything does matter, then we must look at our surroundings, both physical and spiritual, material and immaterial, living and inanimate as part of what God would have us till to God’s glory. We really must not separate the sacred from the secular and try to order our lives that way.

But surely the neighbor’s marriage is more important than my yard needing mowing, right? Well, if we think it is an either/or, that is a false dichotomy. Both should be attended to with the same purpose: bringing order from chaos. Sure, when faced with a yard that needs mowing and an urgent phone call from the neighbor, I will choose the neighbor, but that doesn’t mean the yard is less important in its need for order and redemption.

And we must not forget that those mundane tasks require the power of the Spirit to order just as much as the neighbor’s marriage.

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The purpose of people

I was reading John Shore today, and he was talking about God using people (imagine that) to share God’s message. I was reminded of the first time I read the story of Peter and Cornelius. I thought, “The angel was already there. Why didn’t he just fill him in instead of sending him to Peter, giving Peter this vision to help him understand, and then having the whole group travel back to Cornelius’s house?”

Well, it’s because God uses people to spread the gospel. Crazy huh? Wouldn’t it be easier to hire one of those sky writers and paint it across the heavens. Heck, why not just rearrange the stars. Surely even Richard Dawkins would be convinced by that! (oh wait, he doesn’t like our God, so even if he was convinced God was real, he wouldn’t worship him.)

John goes further though. It’s not just Christians who broadcast God. According to John, everyone does. At first, I was taken aback by that sentiment, but then I thought about all I write about here. I find God and His hand prints in so many things that I read. We are, after all, created in His image. So while the image may be damaged, blurred, crusted over with grime and sweat and goo, we still bear the image and still broadcast Him, often without knowing.

I am not advocating universalism in regard to salvation, just in image. His ubiquitous finger prints leave no doubt of His hand in creation. Yes, even Richard Dawkins and the rest of the new atheists bear that image, and so, as John adequately expressed, they too cry out to be loved.

What we can perceive and what we can’t.

I read two interesting posts today. One dealt with our perception of reality based on our five senses. If evolutionary processes were the reality, then one would have to question how we can conclude that natural selection gives us a clear grasp of reality seeing how we only have five senses. Why should we not assume that there are more senses, and we are just as short of grasping reality as someone who only had four senses would be? Yet if we are created by a good God, should we not assume that we have been given the ability to sufficiently grasp our reality with our five senses?

The other deals with our inability to even begin to grasp the nature of Almighty God. Sure we know much about God from His word, but we must not think that we have Him figured out. However, I don’t think we need to revert back to the method negative theology by only describing God by what He is not. 

So here we are—human—at once perfectly fitted with our five senses to relate to and understand our world and at the same time utterly inadequate to fathom the greatness of the One who made us this way.