The first scene in the true story of the Bible is really important in setting up all that follows.
In that first scene in Genesis 1-2 we meet our Creator God and learn something of his design for our lives. If we skip this first scene then we might think that we are just here by chance or at random, that we are at the centre of the world, that we are left to create our own meaning and purpose rather than finding those things in God. To think any of those things would be a mistake.
We learn in Genesis 1:1 that God alone is eternal, the world is not. While everything else that exists started to be or came into existence at some point in time God has always been there and will always be there. He has eternally existed as a trinity of divine persons who delight in their mutually glorifying relationships with one another. This means that God did not create us from any sense of deficiency within himself or because he was lonely. Rather he created us out of the overflow of his full and satisfying Trinitarian life. Since God alone is eternal and the world is not, it is a grave mistake to worship any created thing – like sex, money or power - rather than the one, true God. We also learn that God alone is the Creator, we are not here by accident. We are not the products of blind, cold, purposeless evolution but the work of a loving Creator. This means that our lives matter. They have meaning and purpose found in knowing, loving and serving God. This is ultimately what defines us as truly human. We also learn that God alone is sovereign, we are not in charge. Creation shows us God’s sovereign power and rule over the world he has made. This grounds his ability to instruct us how to live and behave. To be truly human is to submit to the sovereign rule of our loving and good Creator God.
The first scene of the Bible shows us that we are created for two main purposes. We bear God’s image so that we might work in God’s world. We are made to work because our God is a worker. We work in order to fulfil our God-given commission to rule and subdue this creation so that we aid and enable human flourishing, bring order to the chaos of our world and reflect the rule of our Creator God. We work to serve God and others – it is an expression of our worship of God and our loving commitment to do good to others. We bear God’s image so that we might relate in God’s world. We are created to enjoy a rich and full relationship with the God who made us, with one another as male and female and with the creation around us as we see its beauty as evidence of the beauty of its Creator.
However, in the next scene of the Bible in Genesis 3, everything goes wrong. Adam and Eve rebel against God and plunge the world into sin, misery and death. Yet, as the true story of the Bible unfolds the hope comes again and again that God, the Creator, will step into his world and fix what Adam and Eve have broken. We need to understand the mission of Jesus against this backdrop. Jesus, the Creator, has come to recreate. Through faith in Christ we are recreated for good works (Ephesians 2:10) which we are to delight to express in response to God’s stunning and lavish grace. We are recreated in Christ for peace in the church (Ephesians 2:15) so must make every effort to guard and delight in our unity in difference in the local church. We are recreated in Christ to be like God in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:22-24) so should live out our new life and identity in Christ by getting our attitude to our speech, sex and relationships sorted out in light of Christ’s call on our lives. These things are the right response to being recreated in Christ and having God’s image restored in us.