(18) . . . maker of heaven and earth

If God made the world, then it must be basically good. The world didn’t happen by accident. It’s far too ingeniously contrived and organized and understandable for me to believe that. God fully intended to make this world, and he loves it. He committed himself to a purpose which required this kind of world, including flesh and blood, sex and work. These and all the rest of it fit into his plan. There is nothing that he made that he despises. Nothing that he made is too low for him or irrelevant. God has bound himself seriously and unreservedly to the world he has made. Every moment he confirms his original decision to create this world by upholding his world and preserving its existence.

He dramatically reconfirmed his interest in this world by entering it through Jesus Christ, when he became flesh and dwelt among us. Jesus was a real part of this world. He enjoyed eating. He got tired. He sneezed in dust. His hands got dirty like hands everywhere. Jesus was at least part of nature, flesh, history. the world. He concerned himself with the worldly wellbeing of individuals, families, his nation, and mankind. On the cross he participated in the pain and suffering sacrifices of all creatures. When Christ rose from the dead, his body rose with him to an entirely new level of being. The world of matter, flesh, and nature that God made has certainly not gone untouched by Christ’s work. He is supremely relevant to the vast enterprise of the material world where human life is set. Christ came to carry all lower forms of this world up with him to new heights. That’s what his ascension means. God was in Christ reconciling the world, the whole created world, to himself. It was to this world that he returned in his Holy Spirit.

In view of God’s obvious love for the world I must give the world its full value, and I must respect the whole world. There is a right and proper worldliness which I must share with God. I must take my full place in this world if ever I am to be entrusted with another place in a world to come.

God made this wonderful world, and I am part of it all. What a privilege to be alive, to look upon it with amazement and gratitude, and to feel its glory in my bones! I am only the dust of the earth, yet I can rise up at the call of God. When I rise up. the world that fed me, the race that gave me birth, also rise up. When I worship, all plants and animals which died that I might keep on living participate in my praise. In Christ something of the earth ascended into the very presence of God. This is the promise of things to come, that what Christ gathers up from this earth will be part of a new heaven and a new earth. There, everything will shine ever so clearly with the glory of the Creator God whose name is Love. I must carry my world with me into Christ and so into the eternal glory.