For the week of October 9, 1999 / 29 Tishri 5760
Torah: Bereshit / Genesis 1:1-6:8
Haftarah: Isaiah 42:5-43:11
Replaced by: Pre-Rosh Hodesh - I Samuel 20:18-42

The Lord God Made Them All

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth
(Bereshit / Genesis 1:1).

This first chapter of the Torah reveals to us that there really is purpose in life.

This is the account of creation. Much has been discussed as to the mechanics and technicalities of what is described here. Just how technical this chapter is intended to be is difficult to say, but it seems to me that this chapter is more concerned about the fact that God created the universe than about the mechanics involved.

One of the things that stands out in the creation account is that God was involved with the design of his creation at each step along the way. Some people, of course, don't believe that God created the universe at all. Whether they say so or not, this belief reduces humankind into being the product of some sort of cosmic accident. Others think that God only created the initial stuff of creation and then let it work itself out. But the Torah teaches something quite different from either of these viewpoints. Over and over again here we read, "And God said…and it was so."

This is especially true regarding the creation of people:

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." (Genesis 1:26).

We can say that humans are special creation. While the other creatures were made after their own kind, people were made in God’s own image. God spoke us into being, creating us with a purpose. Clearly we are not cosmic accidents as some may have us think.

If we believe that we are cosmic accidents, then we are left to ourselves to somehow derive meaning from the universe, hopelessly and aimlessly groping for purpose in life.

But if we accept that we are God’s special design, then we have the opportunity to discover what the purpose of that design really is.

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