Saturday, January 30, 2010


Genesis 2:1-3

The second time I watched The Passion of the Christ, I knew what was coming, and I was ready. I was going to get through it without being totally destabilized, without gasping for air like a goldfish flopping on a theater seat. I wasn't going to get sucker punched again.

Emotionally I braced myself into my seat that evening, promising myself I would maintain my equilibrium and not get swept away by the gore, the horror, the violence of it. And I did pretty well until the moment when Jesus is carrying his cross down the Via Dolorosa and he stumbles. His mother runs to him and he looks her full in the face, one eye swollen shut and blood oozing from each thorn in his crown and says, "Look, mother, I make all things new!"

I lost it.

You might think it strange that this moment threw me so hard. I think there are a couple reasons. First, in the middle of my strapped-in, hunkered-down spiritual attitude, God caught me (once again) by surprise. And second, this is what the crucifixion is all about. It ties in directly, do-not-pass-Go-or-collect-$200, to this part of the creation story.

God says, "It is finished" here on the seventh day. He surveys all he has made and it's good. He's done a good job of creating, and now like any parent he's eager to see what this creation will become. Trouble is, creation gets broken and a deadly infection seeps in. What was good and whole now writhes in pain. So God enacts his plan to re-create creation, to make it whole again. To make it new. The plan hinges not on a flood that will erase everything and allow a clean slate, but on God himself entering creation, submitting himself to the infection, to fight it from the inside out. His end goal, though, is still the same -- to make all things new. The crucifixion of Jesus is not just about erasing the hash marks on some cosmic demerit board so that you can escape hell. It is about all creation being healed and made whole again. You and I are a part of this, but it's bigger than we are. If you doubt this, read Romans 8 a few times. That will expand your thinking.

On the seventh day God finished his creation. On the cross Jesus says, "It is finished." In Revelation 21 God says, "Behold! I am making all things new." This thread runs from start to finish through the Bible. God so loved his creation that he gave his Son -- so that the creation itself might be renewed, restored, healed, made whole. Right now it is happening here and there, now and then -- but someday God will complete the work and make a new heavens and a new earth. That new creation, and our place in it, hinges on the cross, where God defined the bedrock foundation on which the universe is built: self-sacrificing love. Where God reigns supreme, this self-sacrificing love flows through every molecule of creation, every relationship, every conversation. When Jesus described the kingdom of God to his followers, it was this foundation of love he was describing.

It was this love that prompted God to create in the first place. This love moved Jesus to the cross. This love will someday make all creation new.

1 comment:

  1. This comment comes on the heals of watch the session on sociology from the "Truth Project". In Genesis God has created the heavens, earth, water, soil, air, plants, animals, and then finally man. After each individual creation component, God says, "It is good". That is until just after He creates man, at which time he says, "It is not good that man is alone." Although Dr. Tackett notes this, and even calls it the "Divine Pause", it is never explained. Why does God appear to pause, make the comment about man being alone, and only then go on to create women from man? What is the lesson here?