Fullness of Joy

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Psalm 16:11

Day by day God added to His creation. First He caused plants to spring up all over the barren ground. In my mind’s eye I saw a rich jungle of every kind of flower, and tree, grasses, bushes, vines, the soft rustling of leaves in the wind, the pungent smell of wet earth, the silent uncurling of tiny tendrils everywhere, and buds opening…. How God must have loved that day, when everything was coming alive in all the colors you could imagine!

Looking down on the earth, all covered in “vegetation,” you could forget there ever was a firmament! But God had not forgotten at all. Next He put filaments in the firmament (I said that to myself as I read about the lights, and the seasons. One huge filament for the sun, then a glowy blue filament for the moon, and little sparkly dot filaments for all the stars)

But God was not satisfied, not yet. He wanted swarming!! Think of all the swarming flying things, and all the swarming swimming things, and all the swarming crawling things!! Everywhere the grasses swished and trembled with swarming, and all the seaweed swelled and swayed with swimming, and the sky pulsated with all the winged creatures. Like a constantly moving kaleidoscope, the earth was a swirl of movement and hue.

How full the earth must have been. But God wanted even more. Out of the very earth itself God pulled forth creatures, every kind of creature. In the library I had seen National Geographic magazines, and I thought of all the places I had seen within those pages. Africa, and Australia, the steppes of Mongolia, the vast white glaciers of Antarctica.

Everywhere animals were coming right up through ground, polar bears and penguins, giraffes and lions, mongooses and cobras. I watched, in my imagination, whole herds of gazelle forming, then running across massive plains as the lions and cheetahs chased them. This was the vibrant, incredible world that God was making.

Then, my Bible said, God wanted to make men. He wanted these men to subdue this riotous world. “Subdue” meant to tame it all, control it all. I felt sad inside. It was so beautiful!! So wild! I wanted to run like that, be free like that, all warm in the hot sun, climbing trees, swarming through the grasses, swimming in the water. But I had already known, hadn’t I, that men had subdued it all.

So God made the men. Actually, my Bible said God made “males” and “females.”  Huh. Females are called men in this book, I thought. That’s strange.

And God liked them. He gave them the whole world, all the animals, and the plants, all the swarming creatures, all the fruit and vegetables and grains to eat. I wondered how it was that my dad and I ate meat? These first people – and I carefully searched – only ate seeds and fruits.

God loved all of it. It was really good, and He kept saying it, “This is good, very good.”  It was like a song with a chorus. God would make something, then He’d sit back and admire the whole thing and say how good it was. I liked that. I liked it when people knew they’d done something good. My dad knew when he sang something really beautifully. He would have a smile all around his head when people would say, “That was so beautiful, John, you made me cry.”

And I would smile too, because it was true.

(Next post we start back at Genesis 1, this time from a more grownup perspective–but don’t forget how glorious this story is, even as we shift from the riotous extravagance of our right-brain experience, to the cooler, more linear approach of the left-brain experience.)

Published by Joanne Guarnieri Hagemeyer

Bible Teacher and partner with Ancient Voices, Sacred Stories

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