College Chaplain Reflection – November 19, 2015

November 18, 2015

In the last newsletter I took the opportunity to promote the Vocations Retreat which the College Mission Team will run on Saturday 28th November. Thanks to the parents who have made inquiries. We have now sent out invitations, but if any parents are still interested in finding out more about the event please feel free to contact Geoff Brodie or myself.

The newsletter before that was almost a month ago. If you have a good memory you may remember that we were considering what the Scriptures teach us about creation and God’s plan for it. To recap; God freely made the world out of love and it is good. As human persons, we are at the heart of his plan. By nature we are relational and embodied. We therefore find our fulfilment in love which is communicated through our bodily nature. There still remain two more points I would like to touch on.

Male and female

The second account of creation completes a truth hinted at in the first; that the complementarity of male and female is a key part of God’s plan. After forming Adam, God recognises his creation as still incomplete. –It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner (Gen 2:18).- Only when Adam can face an equal partner in Eve is God’s work complete. In their difference, Adam and Eve are able to freely offer themselves as a gift in order to complete one another. In their mutual complementarity, they are able to receive that gift in love. This act of giving and receiving in love is so complete and the two complement each other so perfectly, that they are no longer two, but one flesh.

Their mutual self-gift also has another consequence; it cannot fail to bear fruit. The love that is shared by the two does not end with them. In their difference, male and female gift each other with the blessing of fertility and so there exists in their union a radical openness to new life. They are entrusted by God with the vocation to carry on his work of creation by bringing new life into the world. Even if not blessed with children, every couple in their mutual love are a light and encouragement for those around them, their home a place of comfort. We encounter here a manifestation of God’s nature; the intimate communion of the family reflects the God who is Three in One.

Six days of Creation?

Finally, what can we make of the six days? What we have said so far might sound reasonable, but how are we to reconcile the biblical account with what we learn in science? The answer is again in the principle we discussed earlier; in order to understand the intended meaning in a part of Scripture we must read it in regards to whole. Everything I have said so far, about creation and the human person and about male and female, can be verified in other parts of Scripture. Nothing has been read in isolation. We must treat the six days in the same way. When we do so we will realise that actually there is no conflict.

Now the key to understanding the story of creation in six days is not so much to be found in the six days themselves. It is found in the seventh day, the Sabbath, the day of rest when God looked back over all that he had done and found it very good. If you are familiar with the Scriptures you would know that the Sabbath is at the heart of the ritual observance of God’s chosen people of Israel. On the Sabbath, they too rest and give thanks for God’s act of creation, they too affirm that his work is very good. By structuring the first account around the Sabbath rest, the inspired authors teach us that creation itself is geared towards the Sabbath. Chronology and timelines aren’t really the point here; the real point is that creation has a liturgical character. It is made in order to give thanks and praise to the God who created it. All the elements of creation remain in harmony insofar as they are directed towards this purpose.