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A Piece of Work

I’m not very handy around the house, by which I mean if I can screw in a light bulb without getting electrocuted, I call it a good day. Once, I went to Home Depot to buy a few things, and asked an employee if I needed a license to buy a caulking gun. Another time when my toilet got clogged, I called a plumber. He looked at it and said, “I’ll have to run a snake down there.” I said, “Won’t that make him mad?”

So it was with great pride when I recently took apart my inoperable leaf blower to clean the carburetor, replace some fuel lines, and screw in a new spark plug (gapped correctly, of course). I’m so thankful for YouTube, which had a couple of tutorial videos to guide me through the entire process. When I put everything back together and pulled the cord, VROOOOM! the blower started like a champ. I used it for a couple of minutes before it died. I pulled the cord and it started again…and died again.

via GIPHY

I did some troubleshooting, but still kept having problems. Finally, with my aforementioned pride tucking its tail between its legs, I took the blower to my local small engine shop. I told the mechanic all the things I had done to it and he said, “Well, I’ll give you an ‘A’ for effort.”

Well, that’s something, I suppose.

Looky Here!

When we read Genesis 1, God pronounces each stage of His creation as “good.” The sky was good. The sun and moon were good. The earth with all its flora and fauna was good. God didn’t have to watch an instructional video or consult an engineer before He began painting the canvas of pre-creation nothingness with His wild creativity. He simply spoke…it happened…and it was good.

After the making and blessing of man and woman in Genesis 1:27-30, the biblical text inserts the little word “hinneh.” It means “behold” or “lo.” It is used here as a “heads-up” – suggesting the gesture of pointing or calling attention to something very important. Here in Texas we say, “Looky here,” which is our version of “hinneh.” Pay attention! Looky here! Something momentous is about to happen.

On the sixth day, God stepped back, surveyed all of creation with the man and woman as the pinnacle of His creative work, and  saw that it wasn’t merely good – but “very good.” 

The Hebrew word for “very” (me’od) means exceedingly, much, mightily, abundantly or intensely. The word for “good” is “tov” (as in the Hebrew  expression of mazel tov, which means “good luck”). It is used seven times in the first chapter of Genesis (seven is the number of perfection or completion in the Bible). “Tov” has been variously translated as “good,” “beautiful,” “well-formed” and “working according to its purpose.”

Put all this together, and you can clearly see that the Bible does not endorse a dualistic universe. Some religions teach that spiritual reality consists of equal and opposing forces. In these systems, there is an eternal tension between light and dark, good and evil, order and chaos. Indeed, these forces, even as they compete with each other, are mutually dependent. Not so in the biblical worldview. God created the universe from nothing with no assistance or counsel, and contrary to any dualistic notion that heaven is good while the material world is bad, Genesis declares on each day of creation that “God saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25). On the sixth day, with the creation of humanity, God saw that it was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). People — the agents through whom sin is soon to enter God’s creation — are nonetheless “very good.” There is simply no support in Genesis for the idea, which somehow wormed its way into Christian theology, that the material world is hopelessly evil and the only salvation is an escape into an immaterial spiritual existence.

YOU, A MASTERPIECE

What does this all mean? It means, in the words of the popular T-shirt slogan from many years ago, that “God don’t make no junk.” (Yes, fellow grammar nerds, that was a double negative, but you get the gist). We humans are experts at estimating each other’s worth based on appearance, speech, skin color, educational background, earning power, and a hundred other things. On the other hand, God is the expert at appraising each person’s worth as priceless – no exceptions. You and I have been made as “me’od tov” — very good — or in the words of Ephesians 2:10, “God’s workmanship.” In the original wording of the Bible, we are God’s “masterpiece,” His magnum opus.

So, yeah, I’m not that good at fix-it work around the house. Maybe you’re great at replacing drywall and repairing leaky faucets, but not so good at something else. That’s okay. We are all God’s very good work, apart from what we do — and that is what really matters.

By the way, I’ve learned that you don’t need a license to buy a caulking gun. But you will need caulk.

 

 

 

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