by Santosh Poonen
The above represents an interesting progression in the story of Creation.
The earth is “void” when God begins His work of making (Genesis 1:2). Let me first point out here that this is always God’s way. He cannot work on anything that is not void to begin with, because the perfection of His power can only be manifest over complete weakness (II Corinthians 12:9). Thereafter, along each step of the journey of Creation, until just before He makes mankind, God confirms that what was once “void” is now “good” (Genesis 1:4-25). At this point, however, there’s still something missing – none of it is made in God’s own image. So, He then makes male and female in His own image (Genesis 1:26-27), and breathes into their nostrils the initial breath of His life (Genesis 2:7), thus distinguishing mankind from the rest of Creation. He then validates that the “good” is now “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
The story does not end there, however, because God, being perfect, requires perfection, and Adam and Eve were not yet perfect. They were only “very good” beings created in the image of God and containing the initial breath of God’s life. In order to be made perfect, they would have to draw God’s breath continuously by choosing to eat from the Tree of Life (Genesis 2:9). So, in essence, when they ate instead from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they rejected the continuous in-breathing of God, and chose to try to “breathe” on their own, thus beginning their slow process of dying (Genesis 2:17).
God immediately demonstrated His love for mankind, however, by promising that He would still make things perfect, and restore His original plan for mankind. He did this by giving them a hint that one of their descendants (His Son, Jesus Christ) would “crush the serpent’s head” (Genesis 3:15) by being the first to choose to continuously receive God’s breath. This “continuous receiving of God’s breath” is described later as “doing the will of God”, which results in our being “perfect” (Romans 12:2) and “abiding forever” (I John 2:17).
So, just like the natural Creation around us was made “good” and Mankind was made “very good” by the power of God, Christ was “made perfect” when He made Himself void (Philippians 2:7), became a Man, and learned obedience – i.e., always choosing His Father’s will and never choosing His own. In so doing, He became to all of us who likewise learn obedience the means of partaking in God’s perfection (Hebrews 5:7-9).
Notice that the perfection described above is not optional. And this is where many lose the plot. We are either made perfect, or we die! In other words, as we see right from the Garden of Eden, the only alternative to always choosing the will of the Father and never choosing our own will is eternal death. The revelation of this in our hearts will bring a reverence for God in our lives – the kind of reverence that Jesus Himself had, which resulted in His being saved from that eternal death (Hebrews 5:7). Our problem is that we can, like the Hebrews in the context above, easily become admirers of Christ, rather than His followers (Hebrews 5:12-14).
The good news is that it is never too hopeless for anyone. I mean, it doesn’t get more hopeless than “void” does it?! If we make Jesus our forerunner (Hebrews 6:20), God’s ultimate goal in His Creation – the making perfect of that which was void – will finally be accomplished in us through Christ’s finished work! Amen.
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