Many are unaware of this, but the book of Genesis actually provides us with two different creation accounts. In the first story (Gen 1:1-2:3), we catch a glimpse of the all-powerful, transcendent God of creation. He's the God who speaks everything into existence. Even humanity is spoken into existence by his powerful word. God speaks, and creation is.
Then, if we read on, we discover a different perspective on creation. In the second account, we see a different side to this God. Whereas the first creation narrative stresses God's transcendence, the second story emphasizes his immanence. In Genesis 2:4 and following we see a God who is near. This God is the God who gets his hands dirty. He forms the man out of the dust and breathes into his nostrils the breath of life. The Genesis 2 creation story provides us with a much more intimate portrait of God.
We need both perspectives to truly understand the God that we serve. We need to know that he is all powerful and that he is the creator of everything, but we also need to see that he desires to be intimately involved with his creation. We especially need to see that God desires to be intimately involved with the crowning achievement of his creation - human beings. God not only created everything, he created humanity to live in relationship with him.
This God is my God and he created me, individually. Though our modern world tends to focus too much on the individual, there is a Biblical basis for highlighting the importance of each human being. God not only desires a relationship with all of his people collectively, he also desires a relationship with all of us individually. In fact, God was intimately involved in our very formation. He "knit us together in our mother's womb."
I remember, nearly 8 years ago, standing in the doctor's office and staring up at a TV screen during Juli's sonogram. I remember seeing our daughter Ashlyn's black and white form on the screen as she grew and developed within the security of her mother's womb. A line from Psalm 139 was stuck on a repeat loop in my mind, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made." The Psalmist writes this line because he's aware that God knows him far better than he even knows himself.
"For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
That I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them yet existed.
How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
I try to count them - they are more than the sand;
I come to the end - I am still with you." (Psalm 139:13-18, NRSV).
The God who created all of the amazing landscapes - from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific coast...the God who created the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains...the God who created the lush landscapes of Ireland and Scotland, as well as the deserts of the Sahara and Arabia...the God who created the rainforests in Asia and South America, is the same all powerful and amazing artist who breathed the breath of life into our nostrils. He's intimately involved in all of our lives. He has a plan for his creation and he has a plan for each one of us within his creation. God is not only the creator of the cosmos, he's also the sustainer of the world. And he's providentially involved in each one of our lives. Psalm 139 helps us to know our God. But even more so, Psalm 139 reminds us that our God intimately knows us! We can say the amen with the Psalmist - we are indeed, fearfully and wonderfully made. - Shay