Gen.1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
“The heavens and the earth” is a biblical phrase for the whole universe, and just as the work of any artist, it is a reflection of himself. The whole is infused and animated by the very character and nature of God, an offspring of his mind and heart, an expression of All Good. The darkness spoken of next (verse 2) is the darkness of the womb, a darkness that is creative space and hopeful anticipation. The God of all grace is the one who created every atom of this vast universe, and though now broken by our misuse, it still hides His goodness underneath for the hungry and searching to discover.
“The heavens declare the glory of God.” Their beauty and vastness show his nature—his creativity and power, brilliance and infinity. But they also show us his moral character. We often forget that this awesome, delightful, inexpressible universe is God’s gift to us. He did not create the universe for himself and then, as an afterthought, invite us to enjoy it with him. It was specially designed for the great pleasure of all our senses—the sounds and sights, tastes and feels. The universe is a feast for our hearts and minds spread out before us to proclaim God’s immense love and goodness towards us, for “gift” is just a synonym for “grace.” We do not deserve such a gift. We did not earn it. It was given to us before we were even born, before we had any way of earning it. In fact, it was given to us by the One who knew we would betray him, but who loved us immeasurably still. He delights in our joy, even when we fail him.
And it is not just a one-time act in ancient history, for creation is the ongoing activity of God who “sustains all things by his power.” That sweet dog curled up under my arm last night, pressing himself against my chest for the comfort of belonging and closeness, he is a creation of God for my pleasure. The beautiful read-headed woodpecker hopping up the maple trunk outside my window this morning—that was a moment designed just for me—I alone caught that glimmer of God’s glory. Each day God sends a whole basket of magic, his new creations tucked away like Easter eggs for us to find and relish. If my own pain is too distracting to notice or to feel any joy, he understands. He weeps with those who weep, but he also keeps the basket well-stocked to warm our hearts with special moments when we have space to enjoy them.