Mission? Yawn? Well, maybe not yawn as such – more guilt and “Please, not me”.
Is mission in Genesis 1?
Today I have started the “Missiology” module of my theology studies in anger. One of my favourite bits in the bible has always been Genesis ch 1 – 3. I find that even after years of “Study” there’s still more in there. Ever asked yourself why so there has been so much attack against the early books of the bible???
C’mon – Is mission in Genesis 1?
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
What would the Hebrew mind have understood by “The earth was formless and void., and darkness was over the face of the deep”?
These are pictures of chaos, of evil and of death. This is further backed up understanding that other creation stories of the ancient Near East (aNE) describe a battle often involving the sea, and a “Chaos monster”. Now we can’t take our theology from these “Secondary sources” but they can shed light on what the Hebrew’s would have thought.
Just what happened between vs1 and vs2? Could it be that Elohim created such things; things that are clearly evil? I don’t think so. But its very clear that by verse 2 of the bible things are NOT perfect and that God is already hovering over the chaos – and when God is hovering things rae afoot!
Chaos and Mission
As we were asked several times today “Is there chaos around at the moment?“. Of course there is – everywhere – but along with this comes the question “Do you ever in your life sense God hovering over the chaos”. And we were hearing testimonies of the oppressed, down-trodden and addicted saying “Yes I sense God’s presence – I don’t know what ‘IT’ is, but sometimes I sense it“.
Just as in verse 2 Elohim hovered over the “dark, formless, void” so He still does today. In fact, God’s first recorded actions are to bring the very opposite of these things into existence – light, structure and fruitfulness.
God’s first recorded acts are “Missionary acts” – not just creating a perfect world out of nothing after which Adam and Eve mess it all up. But actually acting to bring (dare I say) “Prosperity” to a pre-existing, but fruitless cosmos. Where there was darkness there is now light. Where there was formless chaos we now have a thriving, ordered, life sustaining environment. Where there void we know have life.
Surely that’s mission! To bring back the presence, the kingdom of God. So, right from the very start God shows himself to be a “Missionary” God.