The favorite image that I have of God is as Creator. Everywhere I look I see signs of God’s creation: in nature, in the human design and in people as they use the gifts they have been given, even me! I enjoy reading and rereading Genesis chapters 1 and 2, which describe the creation story in more than one way. I don’t want to argue about how Genesis and modern science relate to each other. That is a worthy topic, for sure. However, instead of asking that “how” question, I want to share a “why God created” story, written by Robert Farrar Capon, who was an Episcopal priest.
One afternoon, before anything was made, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit sat around in the unity of their Godhead discussing things about being. He would keep thinking up all kinds of unnecessary things – new ways of being and new kinds of beings to be. And as they talked, God the Son suddenly said, “Really, this is absolutely great stuff. Why don’t I go out and mix us up a batch.” And God the Holy Spirit said, “Terrific, I’ll help you.” So they all pitched in, and after supper that night, the Son and the Holy Spirit put on this tremendous ‘show of being’ for the Father. It was full of water and light and frogs; pinecones kept dropping all over the place and crazy fish swam around in the wine glasses. There were mushrooms and grapes, horseradishes and tigers — and men and women everywhere to taste them, to juggle them, to join them and love them.
And God the Father looked at this whole wild party and said, “Wonderful, just what I had in mind! Good, Good, Good!” And all God the Son and God the Holy Spirit could think of to say was “Good, Good, Good!” So they shouted together “Very Good!” and they laughed for ages and ages, saying things like how great it was for beings to be, and how clever of the Father to think of the idea, and how kind of the Son to go to all that trouble putting it together, and how considerate of the Spirit to spend so much time directing and choreographing. And forever and ever they told old jokes, and the Father and the Son drank their wine in unity with the Holy Spirit, and they all threw ripe olives and pickled mushrooms at each other…forever and ever. Amen.
Now as delightful as his retelling is, Capon admitted that it was but a ‘crass analogy.” Yet it is a useful one. Hopefully no one will take seriously his image of the trinity of God as three old geezers having a food fight. Even so, it could open our minds to catch the real point of the story: that creation is an expression of triune love and joy. Intertwined in our world is extravagance and playfulness. Our God went about the serious business of world-making with a light touch. God didn’t have to do that. Our triune God could not contain himself, and the love the Father, Son and Holy Spirit shared through all eternity overflowed in the creation of things and creatures, made to embrace and reflect that same love throughout the beginning of the world as we know it.
Every time that we read “and God saw that it was good” in Genesis 1, we need to remember that it is the evaluation of the designer who sees his creation’s perfect proportion and structure, but also the artist who revels as well in its sheer beauty and elegance. We are invited to live into who God has created and graced us to be, sharing the “good, good, very good,” that we were designed to share.