Introductions are important. Upon first meeting a person most of us make evaluations about who they are, and what they are like. We weigh those evaluations against who we are, what we believe to be important and what we like. In other words when we meet someone for the first time, we usually decide whether we like them and whether they are worth our time in the first few minutes. It in is in these first moments, when we make evaluations about a person, and we decide whether or not to pursue continued encounters based on the things we learn at our first meeting.
First impressions are usually important, and most of us intuitively know this. We have before us this morning the first verses, the first chapter (and some change) in the book of Genesis which is the first book in the Bible. And it is here where we have our first encounter with God. This is our first glimpse of “who this God person is anyway.” It is in these words when we are first introduced to God and we have our first glimpses of who God is.
So then who is this God, whom we meet here “in the beginning”? Who is this God? The one who the ancient Hebrews worshiped? Who is this God? Who sends the Son, the Word into the world? Who is this God? Who we as Christians praise? And the answer is This God is the One who speaks into the chaos of pre-creation and the whole world comes to order; the lights come on, the turbulent waters are stilled, the land rises, the lights separate one from another, the day and the night become, plants grow, fish begin to swim, birds take flight, and creatures begin to creep along the ground. And then in one final act of creation, reaches down in the newly made dust of creation and forms humans, male and female God creates them.
The first thing this God does, though, is speak, and creation becomes. The Word of God makes things be- make them become. The waters calm, the lights shine, the seas part and everything that swims in sea, flies through the air, and all that moves along the ground fills the world. There was nothing but chaos and turmoil, God speaks and all becomes order and life. The Word of God is unleashed and the world, along with all that lives on it and in it, is. The God we meet in this first encounter is a God who speaks creation into existence. God speaks, and makes it so; God’s Word goes out and it is so. God speaks . . . creation happens. All that God says, is, and becomes. This speaking God we encounter in this passage is a creating God, a God who moves through God’s Word. God creates in God's speaking.
The creating God, is a God who speaks. But creation is not the only language God speaks. Not only does God speak creation, but God also speaks and names creation; the basic building blocks of our world. God names the day and the night. God names the sky, the land and the sea. God speaks and creates. God speaks and meaning is given. The Word of God brings light and brings order to that light by separating it from the darkness. God names the darkness night and the light is named day. There was nothing but the chaotic nothingness of pre-creation and then there was something and it was ordered, but not only was it ordered, but it had meaning. It had identity, it was day, it was night, it was something, and that something meant something, it had a name. They were not meaningless, nameless somethings that simply existed; they were something; day, night; land, sea. There was chaos and darkness and into the the chaos and darkness the Word of God brings order, and meaning, and identity. The basic building blocks of the natural world not only become, but immediately God gives that something value. God names.
So here we are, we have wandered into the party that is pre-creation and we meet “this guy.” And it does not take long for us to figure out this is not just “some guy, you know,” this is God and who God is matters and what God says is important, God’s Word does not merely make things happen, the Word, makes things be, and become. But this God person does not just speak meaningless things, like so many we might have met at any number of parties we have been to, this One's every utterance has meaning and value. With the very things this One says, not only are things brought into existence, but they become, and they become not just meaningless things, but they become somethings. The very Word of God gives order, meaning and identity to the world, into which God speaks.
But once God’s start speaking God does not stop and everything God has to say is worth listening to, worth paying attention to, because God declares to things that they good. Creation, order; meaning and identity are not the only words God knows. God speaks to creation. God sees the light; the land, the sky, the sea; the plants that grow; the Sun, Moon and stars, the creatures of the sea, the air and the land; God sees everything and then declares tells them one by one they are “good” and then in the end, sees it all together and stands back like an artist just finishing a painting and says, “This is good, all of it, is good.” You are all good! It's all good. Each time God creates, God looks at it, and all God sees is goodness. God sees it all and it is all good. Every last thing created, every last one. All of it is good, because God says so.
This seems like such a small thing to us, of course it is good. Why would God create something that was not good? God created it, of course it is good. But this was something important for the ancient Hebrews to hear. They were surrounded by the voices of the cultures around them, whose gods did not declare creation good. For them the world, and everything upon it, were a were a byproduct of divine conflict. On one side of them were a people who said the world was nothing but the mud and yuck that was flung about when two of their gods fought with one another. On the other they were told that all creation was just the aftermath of a battle between the god of war and the evil god of chaos, which the god of war won and then split open the carcass of his enemy and laid her out forming the earth and everything up on it from her broken body. Needless to say when the most popular beliefs all around are that creation is a rotting corpse or the muddy battlefield that remains after an epic battle, they did not believe that their gods thought much of the earth and the creatures who walked upon it. Into these bleak views enters the God of the Hebrews who says, the world, all of creation, is not a byproduct, or a corpse. It was carefully created by God, on purpose. God did not look upon creation with disdain or dissatisfaction. God declares each part of creation good, and then declares creation as a whole, good. Our God is a good God, a creating God, who created good things, purposefully, and with love.
Our God starts speaking and keeps on speaking. When God comes down to God’s final creation, humans, God does not merely speak and we become so. God says to God’s-self, “let us.” Let’s do this. Let’s create something different. Something that stands out against all the rest of what I have created. Let’s make a creature in our own image, let it in some way be like us, let it reflect who we are. God did not speak us into existence as the light and the land was created. God did not call for the land or the sea to bring us forth, God stops and says to God’s-self, let’s do this. Our creation is different. We are a product of careful consideration about what God wanted to be the climax and the pinnacle of creation. We are carefully and lovingly created. We are the beings that hold God’s image and likeness; we are a reflection of this speaking, creating God. And we like all the rest of creation are declared good. At creation, in the heart of our being, we, like everything else God created are good. All of us are good, every last one of us, male and female, all whom God created, we are all good, we are all carefully and lovingly created, and we all, every last one of us bear the image of the eternal, creating, speaking God. Who makes sure the first thing we hear when we awake to the newly created world, is that we are good. God declares us good! This is how God begins communicating with us.
The Word of God speaks creation into existence, gives it meaning and identity and declares it good. The God we meet in creation is a loquacious God, because God is not done speaking. God begins creation by speaking. God's Word is what brings forth creation and gives it meaning. Once God creates, God stops merely just speaking. As soon as there is something with whom to communicate, God begins speaking to. God does not just talk at, God communicates with creation. God is a God of relationship, as soon as there is something with which to have a relationship, God is reaching out in the foundational building block of all relationships, communication. God speaks to the land and the sea and the sky. God speaks to the light and the dark. God speaks to the fish of sea, the birds of the air and the creatures of the land. And ultimately God speaks to us, as the beings, who bear God’s image; God reaches to us in relationship from the very beginning. Our God speaks, but God does not just talk to hear God's-self speak. God talks to, and in doing so, is seeking to be in relationship with.
The God we are meeting here in passages is not only a speaking God, but is a God of communication, a God of relationship, a God who is continually reaching out beyond God's-self, ultimately reaching out to us. God wakes us into creation with communication. From the beginning God has always wanted relationship, relationship with creation, relationship with the creatures of the land, the air and the sea, and ultimately relationship with us.
Our communicating God has so much to communicate. There is so much God has to say to us. God tells creation and climatically us, that we are good. God also gives permission, invites creation to be a part of the creating process. God tells the waters to bring forth creatures, calls for the land to bring forth first vegetation and then to bring forth animals. God's creation is invited to join God in the very act of creating, “bring forth” God says to the land and to the sea, and together they bring forth fish and birds, all the plants of the earth and all the animals that walk upon it. God tells the land to bring forth animals, to bring forth many different kinds and for them the different kinds to become more numerous, and to multiply and to fill the earth. They are to grow and change and continually become.
Then, when the animals have been created, God speaks directly to the animals and God blesses them and tells them to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the sea, and the air and the land. God first says this to all the animals, of the land, of the air, and of the sea, and then blesses humans and says the same thing to humanity. God invites all of creation to continue in the act of creation; to bring forth, to make all the creatures of land and air and sea, and for those creature to become more and different kinds and for the kinds to multiply, to become and keep on becoming, to fill the land, the sea and the sky.
I think God found joy in creating and joy in the creation, standing back and looking at it all made God happy. “God saw everything God had made, and indeed, it was very good.” Creating brought joy to God, it made God smile, and being a god of relationship, God wanted others to join in this joy. So God invites the world itself to participate in creation, to join in the joy, to participate in the happiness, to smile. God wants Us to share in what is bringing God joy, God wants us to know what it is to bring something forth, to make something.
God invites us to be creating beings. Be fruitful and multiply, create. Make things; make more of your selves. Whenever we do something and stand back and find joy in what we have done, every time we make something and see that it is beautiful that it is good, we are participating in the joy God is inviting us to participate in here. Every time we hold a newborn baby and find joy in her hands, her feet, her eyes, we are joining in the joy of creation, we are catching a glimpse of God in ourselves in what we have done, in what we have created. “I made this!” Are the words of a proud creator. When we find joy, happiness, pride in the good things we make, we are answering the call of God in creation, when God calls for us to “bring forth,” “to be fruitful,” to multiply.” All of it is heeding the words God first spoke to us in creation.
God wants us to be a part of it all, to find joy in what God finds joy, to be made happy by all that makes God happy, to be made to smile in the same way God was made to smile. So our very communicative relational God invites the land, the sea, the animals and US to bring forth to participate in creation. To be a apart of the continuing becoming that is the ongoing, growing and changing, multiplying world all around us, to participate in the ongoing-ness, to grow, to nurture growth, to change and produce change to multiply and fill the world with the joy of every growing, changing producing creation.
So here we have our introduction to God and what we find is a speaking God. The very Word of God is what brings all creation into being. Our God speaks and things happen, they are, they become. The Word of God is powerful, but not only is it powerful but it is meaningful. It brings meaning to all of which and to whom it speaks. The Word of God names creation, names the land, the sea and the sky, gives order, meaning and identity to our world. And our God invites us, and the world around us to join God in the creative process, to bring forth, to be fruitful, to fill, to multiply, and to add to this growing, changing, and productive world. God invites us to join in the joy of creation. Our God is relational, continually reaching out to us, communicating with us desiring to be in relationship with us. The God we meet here at the beginning is a talkative God, who begins speaking and does not seem to stop, but unlike that guy at the party who we just can’t seem to get away from, because he just keeps talking and talking, everything God has to say is worth hearing, it has meaning and brings meaning to the world around. The words God says invites us to join God in what brings God joy and are words which affirm our goodness and shows us, we all, every last one of us has value and meaning in this world. God’s Word tells us who we are, tells to whom we belong and they tell us who we look like. Every word that comes out of the mouth of God is worth listening to and should be heard.