Fixing the World


2013-06-20 – I’ll let creationists and evolutionist debate Chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis. Today, I want to take on Chapter 2. Here’s the language I want to dispute:

     1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

     2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

The word I have a problem with is in the first line: “finished.” I have no problem with “ended his work.” Every Friday, I end my work, too. I can relate to that. I end my work, walk out that door, and go home for the weekend. But I gotta tell you that, when I end my work on Friday, it is not finished. It’s there again when I get back to the office on Monday.

So what does it mean that “the heavens and earth were finished”? Was this a product release? Was it a beta? What about customer service? Tech support? (Are prayers equivalent to a call to customer service?) Exactly what about the heavens and earth were finished?

Frankly, I don’t believe this question can be answered.

I work on a lot of projects, both at work and at home. We do reach milestones that you can vaguely characterize as being “finished.” At work, we release online courses that students can enroll in. You could call that finished. But we answer students’ questions and grade their work. And periodically we upgrade the courses. So it’s never truly finished.

So where does God – if that is truly his name – where does he get off saying that his work was done?

At home, I have this novel that I’ve been working on. It’s called Cain’s Mother-in-Law. If we want to be honest here, it fills in a gap in the Bible. But that’s not the point of this post. The point about my novel is that I have been finished writing it seven times now! But every time I think I’m done, the creative engine keeps cranking and I think of something in it that I want to do to improve it. So now I’m working on my eighth draft. (When that’s done, it will really be good! You’ll want to read it.)

How many drafts did God do of the heavens and earth?

There is a Jewish mystical tradition (and probably a similar tradition in other religions) that, in fact, the world is not finished at all (in spite of what Gen. 2:1 says). This tradition says that it is up to us to complete it through acts of creativity and charity.

It’s called tikkun olam. Fixing the world. Look it up.

* * *

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go 

I’m filling the cracks that ran through the door
And kept my mind from wandering
Where it will go 

And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong I’m right
Where I belong I’m right
Where I belong. 

See the people standing there who disagree and never win
And wonder why they don’t get in my door
I’m painting my room in the colourful way 

And when my mind is wandering
There I will go
And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong I’m right
Where I belong I’m right
Where I belong. 

Silly people run around they worry me
And never ask me why they don’t get past my door
I’m taking the time for a number of things
That weren’t important yesterday
And I still go 

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go

2 responses to “Fixing the World

  1. My problem with the language is two fold. First of all, why is there even a time frame here? It took God, an omnipotent being, six days to create one planet? He said, “Let there be light” and there it was, instantly. Why wasn’t the earth created in a similar manner?

    And he rested? Again, why does an omnipotent being need to rest? Does God get tired? How is that possible? How can a being that exists outside of time and space need to sleep or rest?

  2. @ryan59479 — Thanks for your comment. I am totally sympathetic with your point of view. My novel proposes an entirely different reading of the creation story of Gen. 1. But, as I said up top, I’m not taking that issue on here. I just wanted to ponder the meaning of “the heavens and the earth were finished.” I don’t subscribe to the view that the heavens and the earth were created, but if they were . . . they don’t seem too perfect to me.

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