Co-Creators With God

One of the more fascinating aspects of Christian theology is how human beings are meant to be co-creators with God.  

From my experience, when I talk about this concept in sermons, classes, or even in spaces like this, some folks are puzzled by it.  

Thinking about this notion can feel jarring if you were taught that God created the universe in six days and rested with everything completed.  

This is what I was taught to believe in Sunday school, youth group, and the Christian schools I attended in my youth.  I was taught the "Young Earth" theory, which meant that the universe, including Earth, was only 6,000 years old.  

The first humans, I was told, were created as adults and were fully capable in the areas of language, art, music, the ability to farm and have herds of already domesticated animals, etc. 

The answers were ridiculous when I asked questions about things that troubled me. 

What about dinosaurs?  
Pshaw! They coexisted with people, but God chose to wipe them out with the Great Flood.  

So, what about fossils that can be carbon and radiation dated to millions of years ago?  
Balderdash! The Great Flood applied enough pressure to create them in a little over a month.  

How do you explain the concepts and empirical evidence for Evolution? 
You mean, Evilloution?  Yeah, that's of the Devil. 

Sadly, even though all those kinds of answers were offered over forty years ago to me, the same answers are being given to emerging generations of kids in droves today. 

And what gets lost in all of these debates about Genesis accounts of Creation is the fact that it was never meant to be taken literally.  

Even St. Augustine wrote that looking for the origin of the cosmos in Genesis would eventually damage the Gospel.  He said that when Christians do that, they look foolish. 

But what we find in the stories in the first three chapters of Genesis is a way to understand the creative impulse of a loving God and how that creative impulse was instilled in human beings and created in God's image. 

God desired that humans live in harmony with Creation, tending "the Garden," "naming" the animals and finding symbiosis with Creation's creatures and one another.  

The unfolding and ongoing story of Creation includes us as co-creators with a God who loves to share the act of creating.  

Creation is evolving.  It always has been.  Humans impact their surroundings positively and negatively, often choosing the latter out of selfishness and greed, and Creation evolves accordingly. 

Humankind has always had the choice of how to use their god-given creative powers, and even though more choices give life, we often choose the very few that don't.  

The danger of reading the Creation accounts literally is that it leads to a clash with what we naturally observe, with scientific discoveries, and with common sense.  This is precisely what Augustine warned against.  

There is also a danger in reading into the stories the terrible interpretation of how humankind was given "dominion" (as it reads in the King James version of the Bible) over the Earth and all its creatures. 

A literal reading of that word implies that humans were given carte blanche to do whatever they wanted to the world without much thought to the consequences.  

But when you dig around in the ancient Hebrew, you find it means something far different.  The word translated as "dominion" is the word radah, which is rarely used in the Hebrew Scriptures.  

The meaning of radah in this context is "for the other," not "over the other."  

Visually, this is an inverted pyramid with humans at the bottom.  As humans, we are meant to care for Creation and realize that we are absolutely dependent upon everything in the inverted pyramid above us.  

Further, God invites us to co-create with God in the ongoing and unfinished business of creating.  We are called to care for Creation and continue making it new.

To think that we can do whatever we want to Creation without consequence is antithetical to what we understand about God and based entirely on awful and dangerous interpretations of the Bible. 

Creation care and embracing our role as co-creators with God are acts of faithful discipleship.  

May we embrace our role with joy and thanksgiving and constantly seek ways to fulfill God's desires for us and the Creation God loves.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with us all, now and forever. Amen.  


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