The holy scripture, the written revelation of God to mankind, begins with the memorable declaration, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The mind struggles to conceive of the creative power and imagination of the Lord.
In the context of initial creation, we are told of the creation of man — first Adam, followed by his wife, Eve. Humanity is God’s greatest creation. God, of course, as Creators, is supreme in every sense of the word. The psalmist expressed his amazement at this in Psalm 8:3-5: "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor."
Yes, God is primary, superior to his creation — including man — in every way. And man is the only one of God’s creatures that violates his Creator’s will. Th history of this violation, and the Lord’s way of dealing with it, is revealed in scripture to help men know how we can find our way back home.
As Creator, God loved man so much he was willing to send his son as the sacrifice for sin. As the redeemed (lit., a “recovered possession;” to “buy back”), we have been given the blessing and obligation to so live as to glorify our Redeemer. Jesus, the holy Son of God, said, “…let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). This is our primary task — to exalt God.
There are thousands of examples of scripture of those who understood and sought to fulfill that primary task. One of those was John, the cousin of Jesus, was miraculously born to Zechariah and Elizabeth, both of whom were too old to conceive.
The apostle John said of this John, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light” (John 1:6-8).
John was “sent from God” — an obvious motivation for him to point to himself as someone special. He was special, of course (in God’s view); but that was not for John to brag about. John’s only God-given task was to testify about what he had seen and heard about and from Jesus as the Messiah – the one sent from God – which he did faithfully. He wasn’t to see himself as even a flashlight, but as a witness pointing to “the light” of Christ, who had come to give everyone an opportunity to believe and be saved. Even in the Lord’s revelation to Zechariah, John’s father, about what his son would become (see Luke 1:14-17), there was an opportunity for John to glory in himself. But he didn’t!
This point is that men tend to want, even in worshipping God as Creator, to sometime do it their way. Remember the song made famous by Frank Sinatra, “My Way,” (1969) and the words “I did it my way.” If God’s will doesn’t fit in with our desires, we may be tempted to follow what we think is best for us. When Eve listened to the serpent (Satan) and ate the forbidden fruit, the precedent as set for a self-willed path to eternal destruction.
May God help us to learn to pay attention to the lessons of scripture.