19.4.18

Daily Bible Study: Proverbs 8:22-31

“The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was brought forth;
While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primal dust of the world.
When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
When He established the clouds above,
When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,
When He assigned to the sea its limit,
So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,
Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
Rejoicing in His inhabited world,
And my delight was with the sons of men.

Proverbs 8:22-31 (NKJV).

It is easy to believe that Genesis is the only place in the Bible which talks about creation. While certainly the most obvious place, there are passages throughout scripture that speak to one aspect of the creation process or another. These passages, all together, paint a picture that can sometimes be overshadowed by the well-known narrative involving Adam and Eve.

What I mean by this is how intentional God was, and how little an impact sin really had on the design of this reality. So often people will speak of a "fallen world", and not quite specify what they mean. We hear about "suffering and death" or "thorns and thistles", all sorts of "bad" things which were "caused" by sin, yet this is about as "true" as humanity currently being responsible for the entirety of climate change.

It's not humility, but arrogance, to presume that because of the sin of humanity, God struck the remainder of reality from its place of supposed perfection. It makes too much of our influence on anything, and yet when you don't put the collected verses regarding creation together, this message can be entirely missed.

Some Christians assert, for example, that "death and decay" were a result of the fall of Adam and Eve, yet without death and decay, a stable ecologic system cannot ever form. Scripture is clear that the physical and spiritual death among humanity is a result of Adam, but the Bible does not claim that everything we deem "wrong" with the world to be the result of our actions.

This is highlighted in how all the passages extol God's designs, God's intent, God's ordering of everything into independent systems that could, at least materially, persist for very long periods of time, and were almost entirely self-regulating. God set boundaries, defined relationships, and did all of this to glorify God.

Why would that glory be marred by our sin, especially if it was ever genuinely perfect, without flaw?

Why would our disobedience change the rules that our reality operates by?

Why would God scuttle all the work of his hands as a means of exacting punishment on sin?

Read the passage, and contemplate the planning that went into all of creation. If you've ever been involved in setting up anything, be it a party, a doctor's appointment, or an entire manufacturing system, there are a lot of details that need to be coordinated for everything to go smoothly.

Imagining how drinkable water would need to be made available to all the creatures other than humans. Think about the water cycle, and how our ecosystems balance themselves based on the availability of water. Think about how creatures are adapted physically to the resources available in their climate. Think about how the "cycle of life" operates, where plants grow from soil, animals eat the plants, other animals eat the animals that ate the plants, and eventually even those animals die and return to the soil.

Do we really want to assert that the sin of humanity is responsible for that instead of God?

Because that's what end up being the logical conclusion if our sin "broke" the world. No longer do the heavens declare the glory of God, but instead they bear our graffiti, our corruption. No longer is the world as designed but now it has been remade by our sin into something else. No longer are God's invisible attributes capable of being understood from what God has made, because the destruction of our sin has overshadowed God's work.

Do you see how disrespectful it is to God when we make so much of our sin instead of making much of God? Do you grasp how arrogant it is to presume that God's designs can be foiled by our efforts? Do you understand how God's sovereignty is challenged when we explain the dynamics we see in front of us as the result of our own hands instead of God's?

Wisdom is being described as having been there "since the beginning", before God started work on shaping this world we currently inhabit. Much is said about the intent of God, about the establishment of the dynamics we now see, and this is a very common theme in passages about creation.

There's a reason why those who act in accordance with wisdom find material benefit, because this world was designed through wisdom. Wisdom still works among us, and still looks favorably on those who respect her lessons, and rewards them for their work. The role of wisdom in existence has never changed, never been successfully challenged, let alone replaced, even as a consequence for sin.

All that's changed, all that's ever changed, is the connection between us and God, and even there only from our side of the relationship. God has always been reaching out, whether to correct or to reward, but we turn away, we ignore, we reject, thinking that we can do better.

The truth is that we can't, not on our own.

Woe to those who will resist wisdom, resist God, unto death.