Perhaps the greatest mystery for Christians is the incarnation of God, described in the words of the apostle John, an eyewitness to the life of Jesus: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
One reason is that Jesus is identified in the Bible as the Creator of all things, “for in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible” (Colossians 1:16). Jesus is the source and sustainer of all that exists, and so the entire created universe exists through and for Jesus Christ (Romans 11:36). Yet at some point, the Creator chose to identify Himself with His creatures. What was it like for Him to limit Himself to the level of a created being? How did He feel the ground upon which He walked? How did He feel the caress of a human touch or the flow of a tear?
The Apostle Paul tells us that it is not only humans who are waiting for the coming and liberation of a Saviour, but also the material world, Creation—”For the creation was subjected to frustration…the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:19-22). If nature could have sent a message to the incarnate Creator, what would it have been? What would it have told Him? Surely, many believers are curious to know the answer to such questions—and I am one of them.
The Bible and Jesus on Creation
The society contemporary with Jesus generally believed in Creation and attributed it to divinity. Greek philosophical currents that sowed the seeds of materialism and atheism, such as Epicureanism, tended to question the role traditionally ascribed to the gods, but not the existence of divinity. In the Roman Empire, atheism was a matter dealt with at state level. Early Christians were accused of atheism because they refused to acknowledge and honour the gods of the empire and were therefore considered traitors or usurpers of the state.
The Bible of the time of Jesus (the Old Testament) affirms Creation without feeling the need to prove or argue it. Jesus believed that the Scripture is eternal (Matthew 5:18) and that its teachings are vital for practical human life (John 5:39).
Accordingly, Jesus refers to the biblical figures and the miraculous events in which they were involved as real people and events with practical lessons for people of all times. Abel, who was killed by his brother Cain, is regarded by Jesus as a real person (Matthew 23:35), just as Adam and Eve, who were “in the beginning” (Matthew 19:4-5), are real to Him. Likewise, Jesus considers Noah and the flood (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27) to be real, as well as the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:28-32), or the prophet Jonah, including the miracle of his survival for three days inside a large sea mammal (Matthew 12:39-41).
In Matthew 19:4-6 and Mark 10:6-9, we are told of the episode in which Jesus is asked about the legality of divorce as established by the laws of Moses. Christ’s answer acknowledges the legislative system of Moses’ day, but explains that it is a consequence of human failure in the marriage relationship. In contrast, Jesus points to the original purpose of marriage: “But at the beginning of creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh.’ Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:6-9). Jesus’ response confirms the creation hypothesis—”in the beginning” God created man and woman (Genesis 1:27), with the purpose of having the most beautiful and fulfilling relationship, in which the two would become one (Genesis 2:24). For human beings, the model of unity that creates harmony is given by Divinity itself, through the image of the Holy Trinity, where Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one.
The second context in which Jesus refers directly to the first two chapters of the Bible, the Creation chapters, is where the relationship between humanity and God is discussed. In Mark 2:27-28 Jesus says: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Jesus uses the word man, not Jew, to designate the recipient of the Sabbath, referring to the language of Creation, where the root of the word “Adam” refers both to the name of the first man and to humankind in general. The contemporaries of Jesus debated with Him about what was allowed and what was not allowed to be done on the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, which is considered sacred in the Bible. The debate is about a literal 24-hour day, derived from the week of Creation (Genesis 2:2-3).
The same Moses who writes Genesis under God’s inspiration reinforces the literalism of creation days when he reproduces the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, written by the finger of God on stone. God tells His believers: “Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God” (Exodus 20:9-10). On this day, all believers are called to cease their productive activities and devote themselves to communion with one another and above all with God, for “in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy” (Exodus 20:11).
In order to fulfil the Creator’s ultimate goal of unity between human beings, husband and wife, and between humanity and the Divinity, God offers the Sabbath as a day of rest, reflection, and divine-human communion.
“God did not create man because He had a Sabbath and needed someone to keep it. Rather, the all-wise Creator knew that man, the creature of His hands, needed opportunity for moral, spiritual growth, and for character development. Man needed time in which his own interest and pursuits should be subordinated to a study of the character and will of God as revealed in nature, and later in revelation.” Humanity needs such a time in order to aspire to the ideal proposed by Jesus, the Lord of Creation.
The Creator is not presented only in the past tense, as the author of historical Creation and the creation of matter and the living world, but the New Testament writers speak of the creative power of Jesus Christ in the realm of the spiritual life of humanity. Jesus broke down the barrier between Israel and the Gentiles, achieving harmony between different ethnic groups, with all believers being one in Him (Galatians 3:28). “Christians are called to ‘put on the new self’, which ‘has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth’ (Ephesians 4:24; cf. Colossians 3:10).”
Therefore, what Jesus intended for His creation, both material and spiritual, is expressed by Paul as follows: “For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:36). The desire of Jesus is to achieve absolute unity between humans and all other creatures in the universe, animate and inanimate, in order to achieve the infinite harmony that will guarantee eternal well-being and prosperity.
What did Jesus believe about Creation? Jesus’ contemporaries were convinced that God is the Creator, that all that exists in the entire universe is the work of Christ, and that our planet has life as a gift from Christ, as He established it from the literal week of days of Creation. The New Testament writers describe Jesus as the creator of a new creation, this time spiritual, of a new man and a united and harmonious humanity. To achieve the latter, the Sabbath is one of the essential tools God has given humanity since Creation.
Christians who are faithful to God cannot have any other vision of Creation than that of Jesus and cannot wish to fulfil any other purpose than the supreme one proposed by Jesus, making use of all the tools and indications He left and benefiting from the blessing of the Sabbath.
Gabriel Ișvan believes that the Bible holds all the accounts it contains to be true, including miracles such as Creation. For this reason, the sacrifice of Jesus described in the New Testament is the solution to the fall into sin described in the Old Testament.