Chris and Kate were sitting in their college science class listening to the professor lecture on how the world’s oceans were supposed to have been formed. The professor went into great detail describing how billions of years ago comets carrying large amounts of ice crashed into the earth, melted, and created the vast oceans.
Chris leaned over to Kate and whispered, “Or you could say that God spoke and the oceans were created. That’s more believable!”
Some people find the story of Creation found in Genesis 1 and 2 hard to believe—at least at first glance. These chapters state that God created our universe by speaking it into existence. That would take unimaginable power! When God spoke, things happened. Night and day began. Dry land appeared, dividing the seas. The sun, moon, and stars gave light. Sea creatures and birds filled the oceans and sky. And animals began walking the earth. Yes, at first glance, all this might seem hard to believe. But it merits a closer look.
A day of doubts
My friend, Aaron, grew up in a strong Christian environment. He’d been raised by Christian parents, educated in Christian schools, and was even attending a Christian college, studying to be a pastor. So you might think that his belief in God could not be shaken.
But it was. Here’s Aaron’s story, in his own words: “I had just begun a weeklong solo backpacking trip in the mountains of eastern Oregon.
“After carrying a backpack for hours along unending switchbacks, I finally reached my campsite beside a beautiful alpine lake. There I spent several days just quietly drinking in nature’s beauty.
“But then on the fourth day, as I was hiking to a higher alpine lake, a strange question crossed my mind: Is there really a God? If there is, why hasn’t He shown Himself to me personally? Could it be that He really is not there at all? This claim that there is a God either is the most phenomenal truth of all time or is nothing but a ridiculous myth.
“My thinking continued like this: Either the Bible is the true record of origin and destiny—of the purpose and meaning of life—or it’s just a fable. And to make a long story short, after many more doubts flooded my mind, I finally came to the point that I totally cast off my belief in God. In that moment, I became an honest atheist.”
From facts to faith
Although it seemed that Aaron’s mind was made up, his story doesn’t end here.
“As I hiked back to camp, I started casually thinking about my body, of how perfectly all its systems were working in careful balance. I idly thought of my digestive system—how my body somehow transforms granola and fresh apples into energy for climbing mountains. I could feel my heartbeat in my hands, and I thought about my circulatory system—how it keeps all my organs and muscles supplied with what they need. Inhaling deeply, I thought of my respiratory system—of how it was exchanging carbon dioxide and oxygen as I breathed the fresh mountain air. My mind then considered my nervous system—how without it, I would be totally incapable of feeling, tasting, smelling, hearing, or seeing. I wouldn’t be able to function at all.
“Even more incredible to me was how I had come to exist—how my parents’ reproductive systems somehow matched up all the right genes and chromosomes to make me uniquely who I am. And finally, I thought about my brain— how when it functions, it becomes a mind with which I can analyze, create, choose, and remember. I was in absolute awe of my body’s complex and interdependent systems!
“Then my thoughts shifted to my surroundings. The trees and grass were giving off the oxygen I need in order to live. I crossed a stream, which reminded me that my body is nearly 75 percent water. And yet I am so much more than just water! I looked up at the blue sky and remembered the thousands of stars I’d seen the night before—stars whose movements are so precise that we measure time by them. And I thought about our earth orbiting the sun so faithfully year after year—of how, if it veered off course just a little, we’d all freeze or fry!
“Suddenly I stopped on the trail, awestruck. There just had to be a Mastermind behind all this system and order! There was no way around it. Every one of those things I had just considered was amazingly complex. Suddenly I had doubts about my earlier doubts! Certainly Someone brilliant and powerful had to be behind this universal order!
“This flood of evidence now demanded a different verdict. I dropped to my knees there on that trail and prayed to the Creator-God, I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief! (Mark 9:24).
“That was a pivotal moment in my life. I left the mountains a few days later inspired by the realization that God, the Creator of the universe, lives with me. And I’ve never doubted it since.”
Aaron’s experience was pretty well summed up by the apostle Paul long ago. Paul wrote, “They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God” (Romans 1:19, 20, NLT).*
Created for companionship
Aaron told me that up there on the trail, he sensed that God had some overriding purpose in creating our world. And he was right. The Bible’s Creation story reveals that.
God could have stopped the creation process after the fifth day and peacefully enjoyed all of that new beauty by Himself. But on the sixth day, He created something even more extraordinary: human beings. And whereas God simply spoke everything else into existence, He now got very intimately involved. Genesis 2:7 says, “The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
What’s more, God not only personally formed us but also created us in His own image! Genesis 1:27 says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
And still God wasn’t finished. As His final act of creation, He added a seventh day to Creation week: “And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2:3). In doing this, God gave us the Sabbath—a day in which we, too, can rest from our work and be free to focus on our relationship with Him. By creating this unique day, God showed us why He created us: so that we could enjoy companionship with Him!
Unfortunately, the face-to-face companionship that God originally planned to enjoy with us was lost after sin entered. God’s creation was no longer perfect. What He had spoken into existence and had formed with His own hands began to decay. But the Creator didn’t turn His back on His creation and leave us to our own destruction. The Creator became our Savior! He died to save us so that He could one day recreate us for never-ending companionship with Him.
The story of Creation gives us our identity. It gives life meaning. Because God chose to create us, we have great value! Aaron found this to be true. And I think that’s why we feel a vacancy when we don’t have God in our lives. Recently, a friend of mine said it well: “We were made for fellowship with God, and only in that fellowship can we find our real significance in life. We are restless until we rest in Him.