Yesterday, I had one of my favorite "God-at-work" experiences. I follow several blogs and two of my favorites are Lynn Mosher's Heading Home and Nicole O'Dell's blog. They were to play key roles in my experience.
In my daily Bible study, I've been considering the middle chapters of Isaiah. Yesterday I read this section: Isaiah 48:6b&7, "From this time forth I announce to you new things, hidden things that you have not known. They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, 'Behold, I knew them.' " (ESV)
Verse 7 gave me a shock. "They are created now, not long ago." I thought that God did all of His creating on six days in the beginning. Genesis 2:1&2 states: "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done." (ESV)
I wanted to write about this idea that God had created something after the six days of creation, but I wanted confirmation first. With the help of Nicole and Lynn, I got it. Nicole used Ecclesiastes 1:9, "What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun." (ESV) and Lynn used Isaiah 43:19 "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" (ESV). (I'll let you link to these ladies' excellent articles to see their contexts for the scripture verses they quoted.) The scriptures used in their blogs set brackets around my topic; I had my confirmation.
Now came the interesting part. How could I reconcile the verses in Genesis and Ecclesiastes with the verses in Isaiah? What did God create? Does He continue to create today?
Right here, I want to stop and confess a terrible habit. I sometimes read a passage in the Bible and assume a meaning without thinking about what it's really trying to say. Take Genesis 2:1&2, for instance. When I re-read that, I recognized that God wasn't necessarily saying what I thought He was. I thought He was saying, "Well, that looks good. I'm through creating forever." He was probably saying, "There, that job's done. It looks good, so I'll take a break."
What about the verse that says "there is nothing new under the sun?" Ecclesiastes was written in the time of King Solomon's reign; in fact, King Solomon may have written it. He may have come to this conclusion from his study of history and his personal experience. Without God's intervention, this passage is always true, humanity repeats the same sinful lives.
Isaiah wrote his prophecies about 300 years after the words in Ecclesiastes. In that time, God created a process to free the Israelites from captivity in Babylon and farther in the future, to free them from slavery to sin through Jesus. Isaiah proclaimed both these newsworthy items about God's creation of new things sometimes around 700 B.C.
This leads to my final question: in the 2700 years since Isaiah spoke of God creating new things has God continue to create new things? According to the New Testament, the answer is a resounding "Yes!" Next time, we'll look at some of the things He is creating now.