|My beautiful Auckland grandchildren in beautiful nature.|
"We plough the fields and scatter
the good seed on the land,
but it is fed and watered,
by God's almighty hand. etc. etc."
With the chorus;
"All good gifts around us,
are sent from Heav'n above,
then thank the Lord,
Oh, thank the Lord,
for all his love."
This Sunday I planted broadbeans in my garden. They are a week late. Traditionally they are meant to be planted on ANZAC day, 25th April. Today too I harvested potatoes. While I was digging potatoes I got to thinking three roughly linked things about God and creation....
An old joke...
A non-church goer was a very good gardener, his flowers were beautiful, his vegetables prolific. He lived next to a devoutly religious man. The religious man was coming home from Church and saw his non-churched neighbour in the garden. With righteous religious fervour the religious man commented, "My, you and God sure do a great job of that garden!" The gardener glared back, "Well you should have seen the mess it was in when God had it by himself!" Maybe the weeds in my garden prompted this memory.
Spuds and creator..
I was digging my potatoes and enjoying pulling a good quantity of big spuds out of the ground. I was thankful I really was. If God made my potatoes, I thank Him for them.... but I have harvested potatoes with heaps of worm holes in them. On Thursday evening I prepared the veges for dinner and was frustrated because a few of the potatoes were full of holes, and today I pulled a bug out of a potato backwards. I got to thinking .... "If God made the potatoes for me, he also made the bugs that ruin my potatoes! That was a flawed plan! - not very efficient!" I went on in my thoughts... "God also made the possums that ate my plums, pears and apples." .... I have troubles with God as creator.
In Nepal authorities so far have counted over seven thousand people dead because of earthquakes, with predictions that the final toll may go higher than 10,000! Did God make that creation that caused that! ... How do we sing, "then thank the Lord, Oh thank the Lord..." and pray for Nepal at the same time?
And.... what about the lady whose funeral I took last week... 49 years of age with two children still needing a mum... my heart broke for the lovely young twelve year old girl sobbing her heart out. And what about the lovely man who has spent his life serving people, who phoned me wanting me to take his funeral. Cancer has taken away half his face and will soon kill him. Where is God the creator?
I believe God is a movement amongst us, a layer of reality, bringing love, hope, freedom and justice in our world. I sense the call of God on my life... God is a reality in my life. But I am wondering if it is necessary to believe simplistically in a creator God?
Since I was a teenager I have seen the Genesis story of creation as myth or metaphor. I see in it truths about relationships rather than literal truths about what happened at creation. I have though still believed in a creator God who works through evolution etc etc. ... but in recent years...
.... It would not worry me if the world just "is" .... and the creation stories in scripture tell us about important relationships in what "is". We have a responsibility toward creation... a stewardship relationship... we have a unity with creation - we are made out of clay ... we have an essential link together... etc. etc. I value some incredible truths about the essence of life that are communicated through the creation stories. But often I feel a creator God raises too many problems. ....I love the natural world. The other day I saw a Tui in a tree in the University grounds when I was on my way to a meeting. I stood under that tree a few minutes listening to this beautiful NZ bird and talking to it - with young students going by I must have looked like a nut case!.....
But....... I find myself more and more worshiping and serving a God in and beyond creation who does not have to be "the creator!" "He" is for me the eternal essence within what "is" but not necessarily the creator. Have I gone too far? .... maybe .... here I stand, I can do no other.