God Wants Us: A Reflection on Genesis 1

Genesis 1 opens with a simple yet profound statement that God created the heavens and the earth. It’s then followed by a mysterious, brief description of the way things were before he ordered things into their proper places. It’s in the third verse where the six days we are most familiar with begin. We see God give form to the formless and pour light and life into the dark and empty void. Throughout this passage, God brings order to chaos and beauty to darkness.

The way the creation account is structured is fascinating to me. In the first three days, God makes the world habitable for his creatures that he has imagined. After creating their homes, he then fills the earth with all of his creatures on the last three days. When I was younger, I thought he was simply creating random things on each day, but that isn’t the case.*

On the first day, God creates light and dark, and then he places the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day. On the second day, he separates the sky and the waters, preparing a home for the birds and the fish he will create on the fifth day. On the third day, he creates the dry land and fills it with vegetation and food in preparation for the land animals and humanity.

A common question is the question of why God created anything in the first place. I would say that he did it simply because he wanted to. He did it because he would find pleasure in his creation. We see how much he enjoys each aspect of his creation when he looks at what he has made and says that it is good.

However, he doesn’t describe his creation as very good until the sixth day when he creates humanity. God finds pleasure in all of his creation and loves all of it, but it seems that we are his favorite part. It’s almost as if all of creation was leading up to our existence. This is what I wanted to mainly focus on in this post.

A lot of Christians argue over how literal or figurative the six-day timeframe is in this passage. But I think that totally misses the point, and they are asking the wrong question. There are more important truths found in this passage that we can all agree on regardless of our varying views on the timeline of events. While there are many truths in here, these are the two I focused on when studying it on my own:

  1. We exist because God wants us to exist.

God imagined a world with you and me in it and decided it would be a good idea to put us here. We are wanted and created for a purpose. We were known and loved even before we ever existed or knew what love was. We are here because God wants us here.

  1. We hold a special place and calling in all of creation.

No other part of creation is said to be made in the image of God. This entire passage is mostly about who God is. We see a God who creates beauty and order from chaos. He’s a God who speaks life into a cold, empty world. He is a God who causes flourishing in a lifeless place. He is a good, kind, and loving God who can imagine a future different than the present and then act with power to bring it into being. This is the kind of God we see in Genesis 1. Then, the passage ends with the amazing claim that you and I are created in the image of that God.

How incredible it is that an infinite, powerful God is overflowing with so much beauty, goodness, and love.

* I saw a table like this in seminary for the first time and thought it was really interesting.

Day 1, Light and DarkDay 4, Sun, Moon, and Stars
Day 2, Sea and SkyDay 5, Fish and Birds
Day 3, Dry Land and PlantsDay 6, Land Animals and People