The earth teems with life. Just read the first chapter of Genesis. God filled the earth with “plants bearing seed . . . and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:12). God decreed that the water would “teem with living creatures,” and “every winged bird according to its kind” would soar in the sky (vv. 20, 21). The Creator made animals to live on the ground (v. 25), then he crowned his creative work by creating human beings, both male and female—“and it was very good” (vv. 27, 31). No test tube can duplicate all that God originated. The earth teems with life.
But it also reeks of death. Just read the third chapter of Genesis. Rebellion wrecked Paradise. Truth succumbed to lies. Cheerful work devolved into painful labor. Fruitful ground gave way to thorns and thistles. Adam came from dust and returned to it. Communion with God gave way to banishment and separation.
Yet amid the curses came a glimmer of hope. In the fullness of time, one of Eve’s offspring would crush the serpent’s head (while enduring the pain of a bruised heel)—a prophecy fulfilled when Jesus of Nazareth defeated the devil by dying for our sins and rising again. John wrote of Jesus, “In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind” (John 1:4). Peter got it right when he told Jesus, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
Do you realize how profound it is to believe in “the living God”? We shouldn’t say those words lightly.
We worship the living God. He’s not a fake, made-up deity—a figment of our imagination. God is not dead. He’s not out-of-date or out-of-touch. He’s not a weak, wimpy, powerless deity—a mere philosophical or religious concept. He’s the living God—dynamic, vibrant, active, purposeful, on the move. He always has been alive and always will be.
We value physical life as God’s gift. Every human being bears the Father’s fingerprints. The unborn baby whose heart begins to thump in her mother’s womb draws life from the living God. So do the aged who approach the sunset of their earthly days while eternity still awaits them. Physical disabilities or mental limitations don’t reduce anyone’s value. People of every ethnic background and socio-economic level bear the image of the living God. “For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
We receive spiritual life as God’s gift. The living God is the loving God. Love moves him to rescue us from the death our sin deserves. Christ laid down his life so we don’t have to “perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” (Ephesians 2:4, 5).
The Bible’s opening chapters detail the original splendor of God’s creation, while the final chapters point forward to the new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1) where the curse is reversed and life never ends. If you feel thirsty in this desert-dry world, “take the free gift of the water of life” (22:17) offered by our living, loving, everlasting God.
David Faust serves as the Associate Minister at East 91st Street Christian Church in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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