We live in an incredible time for Biblical theology. Amazing strides have been made in the fields of Biblical archeology, languages, history, literature, and so on; however, despite the immense tools at our disposal, the world of theology is buried by denominational lines, historical baggage, and unnecessary expectations. While the fruit of the past is joyous and should be relished, it’s important to not let it define us but continue pushing forward. One such instance in which we lose our sight is the rich creation story of Genesis through only viewing it as an apologetic for God as creator. Now, to fully dissect and inspect this passage would require volumes, not just one blog post; however, within its multiple layers of significance for the remainder of scripture, one of the most blatant purposes of Genesis, set specifically in the creation narrative, is God’s definition of goodness versus the fallen man’s.
In Genesis, as God orders His creation, He concludes that each aspect is “good.” Notably, each of these highlights of creation all benefit man and provide for his health and well-being. Continuing, with the creation of man, God deems him good and the whole of His work as very good. Despite an ordered and good world designed for His creation, God sees that it is not good for man to be alone, (2:18) and He makes for man a mate. In Eden, man walks in perfect commune with God and is called to rule over His creation as His image upon the Earth; however, by embracing temptation and eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, man is cursed with the burden of defining good and evil for himself which results in selfishness, envy, and pride. Thus, with the fall, sin enters the heart of man, and he becomes naturally inclined to produce only what is beneficial to himself and the need for redemption and justification is then necessitated. Throughout scripture, this theme is constantly played upon. Even when God’s chosen people are given His teaching and instruction of how to lead holy lives, the Torah, their selfishness takes over, particularly in their pursuit of false gods. Upon Christ’s sacrifice, man’s heart is redeemed, and we are invited to become a new creation, one that is not bound by a sinful nature but defined by reembracing the goodness of God and relying on Him. One of the primary themes of the letter of 1 Corinthians is just this.
1 Corinthians 1:18 states, “for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (ESV) With what was just discussed, is such a statement not obvious? Those found outside of Christ are firmly rooted in a worldly heart and the wisdom of God, the message of the cross, is foolish; however, as Christians, the wisdom of God becomes our salvation and our way of life. While our heart is renewed through the sanctification of Christ, a process begins in us with our salvation in which we must become reallocated with God’s definition of good, fully embrace it, and humbly step away from our natural inclinations.
I am always amazed at the wide-array of moralities Christians live by; however, this is simply the result of their maturity in Him. To be a Christian, it simply requires one to reassess their dependency upon their savior, and not upon themselves, but this is only the tip of the iceberg of the Christian faith. Not only have we been called to accept Jesus as our savior, we are also to fully embrace His teachings and morality and follow Him through the surrendering of our heart and desire. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us into a deeper fellowship and relationship with God and His goodness. My prayer for you and me is that we would learn to walk under God’s definition of goodness rather than our own. James 1:5 states that if anyone lacks wisdom to ask God for it, and He will deliver. So, I challenge you to do so, but I also warn you that surrendering your heart does not come at a small price. The path is filled with much stretching and pain; however, if you truly accepted Jesus as savior, a much greater price was given for you, so take on the burden, embrace wisdom, and begin truly asking what goodness looks like to God.