As just one of the creations of The Creator I recognize the kinship and awe that we humans experience when we look at the bigger world we share an origin with. Why else would we all stand out in the dark like idiots looking at shadows on a moon or feel an overwhelming compulsions to watch so many cat videos?
The church I minister at has started to read The Story. It takes the form of a book and a sermon series, but The Story is essentially a summary of the entire Bible–broad brush strokes and themes of large pieces of scripture. So as long as we are moving through it as one body I thought I might share my experience reading along with you.
The Beginning of Life as We Know It is simple at a distance, but it’s the details that start to complicate things. Atheists will scream “evolution” and “big bang” but both of those reactions require an initial source of energy for which they have no answer. Christians believe that God created the whole universe in six periods of twenty-four hours. But mention the world “Dinosaurs” and we panic. And of course there is the question so basic that as we were reading The Story together my six year old thought to ask, “If God made everything, who made God?”
We could talk all day about all the theories of what really happened… but we are not going to because this is a blog not a doctoral dissertation. Instead, why don’t we ask, “Why do we care so much?” Because like every great character we all want a great origin story. If Batman’s parents aren’t killed in front of him at an impressionable age, then he is not a tortured soul seeking justice… he is just a crazy rich guy who likes beating up people.
Origin stories tell us why we are the way we are.
One of the major decisions my wife and I are facing in foster care right now is how much contact will we allow the girls to have with their birth parents when we adopt them. Don’t get me wrong, the things that were done to these girls… well… let’s just say I wouldn’t mind putting on a cape and beating the (insert your own word) out of their dad and forbidding them from seeing their mom ever again. What worries me is that they won’t know where they came from, and that can be a terrifying thing.
My wife and I hover over our biological baby daughter and we debate whether she has my eyes or my wife’s curly hair. Personally, I can tell you I have my father’s work ethic and my mother’s manic, well-intentioned, ginger-headed craziness. But where did my seven year old get her smile and her ability to draw well? Where did my six year old get those beautiful eyes and natural rhythm? What will it do to them to not know anything about where they came from? This is why adopted kids have identity crises and go on ill-advised road trips to find their birthparents. Does that ever end in anything but disappointment?
So we need to know. In the beginning, you were raised by two people who didn’t love you enough to feed you, bathe you, or keep you safe. They didn’t love you more than themselves… but you do have their features. Once upon a time there were two bright, beautiful princesses who were born into a kingdom full of evil, but that’s not how their story ended.
At the beginning of time God intended that everything be good. No matter what order he made it in or how long it took him… goodness was his plan. That is why we are the way we are. That’s why even though the world is so broken we keep trying to put it back together. We weren’t just made in the image of our biological parents. We are more than the sum of our parts. The reason life is precious is found in our origin story.
I didn’t get how important that was until I had my own child who looks like me and already at four months old has facial expressions that remind me that she is a part of me. When I look at her and can’t imagine losing her, things like forgiveness, love and mercy… they start to make a whole lot more sense.
Our origins are with our maker, and the goodness in us… we get it from our dad.