In the middle of a world that seems to be made all of blacks and greys right now, with so much heaviness and grief, so much anger and frustration, the Creation account reminds us that we serve a God who loves color and life, who delights in unique and beautiful things. When he made swarms of sea creatures, and filled the skies with birds, think of what that must have looked like! He didn’t just make two fish, slimy and grey, and wipe his hands on his pants, saying, “that’ll do.” Haven’t you ever seen a coral reef?!
Why did God make so much color, so many beautiful patterns? So much of the creation account seems like life for the sake of God’s joy overflowing in creativity. I heard someone this week actually say, a duck is like God saying, “I’m going to make a water chicken with a kazoo for a mouth.” That doesn’t seem too far from the mark when you think about it. The beauty and creativity of this world came straight from the heart of God.
It’s sad to see how so many of God’s children take no joy in the diversity of life, and find no delight in the riot of colors in God’s world. You know, he didn’t have to make autumn a beautiful symphony of reds, yellows, oranges, and greens. The leaves could have just turned black. Or white. All the same. He didn’t have to make oceans that were dark blue, almost black, and others that are bright blue, or clear as a summer sky. He could have made them all flat gray. Functional. And that’s how many people live. Is it functional? That’s all that matters.
But aren’t you closing off a part of your heart to a key part of God’s own character in that case? Many of us close our eyes to the beauty of the world, but God seems to delight in this beauty and variety when he creates it. He made it full of life and vibrancy. In fact, everything he does in the first six days of the world has the goal of bringing vibrant, diverse, and beautiful life into existence and allowing it to thrive. His designs allow life to begin and to continue on for millenia. His commands are so that his creation will live the way it is meant to.
His creation praises him! The trees clap, the rivers sing, the mountains bow down, the brooks chuckle as they think of their creator. To open our eyes and actually look at beauty around us is to hear God’s praises. We should never worship nature, but we should allow nature to remind us to worship God. In these days, we need that reminder often.
I want you to think about the word unique for a moment. Because it’s an important concept here. Do you know what unique means? It means unlike anything else. It’s distinct from other things.
God made unique things in the creation week. He didn’t just make one thing, he made many things, and they were different from each other.
We see what the ESV calls the “great sea creatures” here, which are obviously creatures that are different from the other “less great” sea creatures (great meaning size here, and not a judgment on how they’re better than the other sea creatures. We don’t want the “great sea creatures” getting a big head. Uh, a “bigger” head?). There’s diversity! And some of God’s creatures, like these great sea creatures, are incredibly powerful all by themselves. The giants of the sea were terrifying to many of the cultures in Israel’s day, whether they were whales or something else. We read in Job how God challenged Job to consider the leviathan, the great sea creature whose strength was so great that he left men in terror.
Lay your hands on him;
remember the battle—you will not do it again!
Behold, the hope of a man is false;
he is laid low even at the sight of him.
But what does God say? Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine. These are all his creatures, he claims them. From great to small, the lord has made each one for his joy, his delight, and his design. They were meant to be bright, and beautiful.
And so, Christian, perhaps you are only seeing the blacks and greys right now. And there’s a time for that. But just because everything feels like it is marked by shadow, don’t let that lead you to forget that our God’s heart is to bring life- beautiful, bold, and bright. Let the beauty of the world, still majestic even in the fall, give us hope for the coming tomorrow, the one that the God of creation has planned for us.