Thursday, April 28, 2011

Creation's Goodness

In having a couple discussions on Creation and Genesis recently, one with Ron Offringa and one with Mitchell Powell, I got to thinking more about Creation's goodness. In the post by Ron he points out that the central point of the Creation narrative in Genesis is to proclaim the goodness of God's creation. And I would certainly agree that that is one of the most important aspects of the narrative.

As a counter to a Gnostic strain of thought that persists today in much of American fundamentalism, many non-fundamentalist scholars and believers will emphasize the goodness of Creation as described in Genesis. It's a point that often gets lost, or at least deemphasized, by many evangelicals. Too many Christians falsely believe -- consciously or subconsciously -- that Creation itself is evil, and this is certainly a perception worth refuting.

Though it seems that you can go too far in the other direction also, as many of those who emphasize Creation's goodness sometimes do. It's not insignificant that God reflects on the goodness of creation before the fall of man. If he waited until after the fall to evaluate his work He still would affirm that it was good, certainly, though I think he might have qualified that claim. Perhaps something along the lines of "And God looked at what he had made and saw that it was good but also saw that man had screwed things up pretty badly and He knew that it is going to take a lot of work on His part to put things right."

The story doesn't end with the goodness of God's creation, it continues on to the subject of man's creation: sin. And so begins the story of what God is doing throughout history to reconcile humanity to him as a response to our sinfulness. If we omit this aspect of the story and focus solely on the goodness of Creation then we are missing just as much as those who focus on the fall and forget the goodness.

Creation is good and Creation groans.


  1. Emphasizing creation's goodness sets us up for the devastation of the fall. In the fall, not only does man's nature change, but nature itself is altered because of sin. We join in creation in groaning for the newness of life, when God will restore things and set them right again. We need to remember that God made the world good, because it is a reminder that God is making the world and us good again.

  2. Well said. We should definitely emphasize the Goodness of Creation along with the Fall. My post only meant to comment on the phenomena of those who either de-emphasize, or drop entirely, the Goodness of Creation, and those who respond to this error by affirming Creation's goodness only to downplay the significance of the fall.