“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth—God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”
Genesis 1:1, 31 (NIVUK)
The Bible begins with the book of Genesis affirming that God created the world and that it was very good. Continually throughout the Bible God reaffirms his positive attitude towards his creation. For example, one of the most famous verses of the New Testament, John 3:16, tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This reiterates God’s love for the world.
Yet throughout the history of Christianity some Christians have expressed negative opinions toward life and the creation. Some consider attitudes such as asceticism to be virtuous and constitute some higher form of spirituality. This raises the question, is Christianity synonymous with the negative, the drab and the joyless? Too many secular people in the West have come to view Christianity in general in the same vein as the American journalist and satirist H L Mencken viewed puritanism; “The haunting fear that someone somewhere may be happy.”
A lack of understanding the Biblical uses of the word world (Greek Kosmos), may well be responsible for some unwarranted negative views. That’s because this Greek word can be used to convey different meanings. The apostle John who wrote, “For God so loved the world (Kosmos)”, also wrote “Do not love the world (Kosmos) or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.” John then goes on to define what, in the latter case, he means by the ‘world,’ “For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world” (1 John 2:15-17). In this sense, the term ‘world’ does not mean God’s good creation that he intended humanity, including Christians, to enjoy, but rather the present condition of human affairs that is alienated from God and opposed to him.
Just as the sun bathes the earth in sunlight, so the Son of Righteousness bathes his creation in love and grace. The gospel is a positive message about God’s love for his creation. All human beings need to know that God loves them despite their imperfections, faults and foibles. It is this message that has been entrusted to the church, and not a gospel of negativism with rules and regulations. It is to the degree that human beings know, accept, and respond in gratitude to God’s freely given love and grace, that they will come to reject the lust and pride of the world that comes not from the Father.
Father, we thank you for the love you have for your creation, and for the gospel message of hope that offers an eternal relationship of love with you through your son.
Study by Eddie Marsh
Grace Communion, Sheffield
Please email for Meeting Place
Local Congregational Contact: