For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime. Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5

Monday, May 7, 2012

"And it was very good"

The Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

That night, after the first day at the canyon, I lay awake, unable to fall asleep. Moments of drifting off always seemed to bring me to a dreamscape where once again I walked along those precipitous canyon cliffs - ancient walls billions and billions of years old, famed not only for the depth and breadth of the canyon which they hold up, but admired by paleontologists for their sheer age, a precious and rare window into the secrets of geological time.

Standing on the rim of the canyon earlier that day, gazing a mile down the ten-mile wide expanse, I found myself in the middle of an astounding geology lesson, with the aid of the park ranger, the park brochure, and information panels. I couldn't help but wonder at those layers upon layers - first that deep, dark, inner gorge, then those layers of different shades of brown, now greenish, or reddish, now rocky and escarpment-like, then sandy and sloping. I learnt of how they were billions and billions of years old, of how they bear the evidence of continents drifting and oceans receding, and of how each and every layer was laid - long before human beings began to leave our first footprints upon the earth. 

These rock layers have been there long before human beings have. In the Bible's creation account, there is a sequence in the creation order, which places the creation of man as the final act, after the sun and stars, land and sea, vegetation and wildlife. The creation of the world is completed in six days*, with the shaping of man from the earth and breathing of life into his nostrils taking place on the sixth day. A refrain rings in the creation account every so often: And God saw that it was good. Watching the sunset on the rim of the canyon, bathed in vermillion hues, driving to the canyon again the next morning in the pre-dawn hours, watching navy become indigo, then cobalt, mauve, and a myriad shades of blues and oranges till finally that glorious sun emerged, how could it be anything but good? Yet, at the end of the six days, after man was created and given custodianship over the earth, 'good' was replaced in the refrain with 'very good'.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning - the sixth day.                                                                            Genesis 1:31 (NIV)
Imagine an earth perfect in beauty, unspoiled by the impact of man in any way: industrialization, urbanization, pollution. Creation was just how God meant it to be. Yet, God did not regard that as being complete till He had made man in His image, to be with. This reflects His heart, His ways, and it was simply part of His plan. Being at the canyon, one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World, I was awed that the God whose word created all things would be so intent on drawing me close to Him, and longing to show His heart and ways to me, and to you. So that's what the Grand Canyon means to me now - a window into a time before mankind was created, and reminder of my God who chose to make man, to have unspoiled friendship with Him. I am in awe - but not at the canyon itself, but at the God who made the canyon, and chose to make me.

* "Days" in the creation account are now thought to refer to periods of time, instead of the 24-hour span of time we think of as constituting a day

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