There is a saying that you “leave the best till last”. Sometimes it can be misused to cover up an oversight like when you’re thanking a group of people and realise you’ve missed someone and add them in later telling them “I was leaving the best till last”. Often when eating dinner I might use this approach eating the things I don’t like that much first and saving the best till last. In the story of creation this is what God did also – he saved the best for last.
The process of creation was planned and methodical as God created order out of chaos. And in that process of creation he left the best till last – us. Human beings. With all the wars, crime, drugs and other things happening in the world some might disagree that human beings represent God’s best. But the fact of the matter is that God’s intention was that human beings would be his masterpiece. When he created us he created us in his own image. He created us to be his presence in the world to care for everything that he had created.
God said to Adam and Eve – have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. So what happened? What happened to this creation that was once “very good” but became dominated by violence, crime, terrorism, pollution, poverty, war. Maybe it’s because human beings have misunderstood the word dominion to mean to dominate. That’s not what God intended.
When God created human beings he created them in a very special way – vastly different to the rest of creation. God created human beings “in his own image”. And “in his own image” was not a visible image but a presence in God’s place. God is the creator of all things and the sustainer of all things. And God placed human beings to create ongoing life – be fruitful and multiply and to sustain life by caring and providing for it.
Part of the image of God created in us was also our free will. And it is our free will that caused the disruption to God’s “very good” creation. By our free will we chose to disobey God by eating the forbidden fruit of the knowledge of Good and Evil. And so now our fruitfulness will damage God’s very good creation by the knowledge of Evil as well as Good. But God as our creator would not abandon us and continued to love and care for us. And even though God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden after their disobedience he did not banish them from his love, care and protection. He would not abandon them to their own care but took the pitiful clothes they made for themselves from fig leaves and created proper garments from animal skin.
Let me read that closing text from Genesis 3: The Lord God made clothes from animal skins for the man and his wife. And so the Lord dressed them. Then the Lord God said, “Look, the man has become like one of us. He knows good and evil. And now we must keep him from eating some of the fruit from the tree of life. If he does, he will live forever.” The banishment from the Garden of Eden was not punishment but protection. If they stayed in the Garden of Eden they would live forever under the effects of evil. So God was now limiting the harm of evil by removing the tree of life.
As we celebrate Trinity Sunday today we acknowledge that God is an intimate God who exists in relationship. God exists in relationship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But even more exciting is that God also exists in relationship with us. Confessing God as Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, might sound unimportant but it acknowledges so much about who God truly is and who we truly are to God. He is our Father and not an oppressive tyrant; Jesus is our brother who serves us rather than lording it over us; the Holy Spirit is our comforter, reassuring us that despite our sin we are accepted by God. God exists in relationship within the Trinity as we see in our first bible reading where God says: “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness;
So God is not some inanimate impersonal entity out there but rather he is our intimate creator and sustainer of all life. And even though we disobeyed God, God did not stop loving and caring for us. And what God has done to ensure our continued relationship is that he has created a new heaven and new earth and nothing evil can exist there (Revelation 21:27). So this new creation, this new heaven and new earth will not be “very good” – it will be perfect. The tree of life will be restored to bring us healing having the tree on which Jesus was crucified bringing eternal life.
Until then, our close and intimate Triune God promises that he will be with us until the end of the age. And that’s because not only does a relationship exist between the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but as the image of God we too exist in that relationship. Human beings, with all our faults and shortcomings are still God’s masterpiece as St Paul says in Ephesians chapter 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. (New Living Translation).
We worship God as Trinity because that is how God has revealed himself but also because it is so intimate and personal. Maybe it seems exclusive to proclaim that the Trinity is the one true God but that’s because God has OUR interests at heart. And God loves us so much that when he commanded to have no other God’s it was because of his love for us and concern at what other gods would do to us if we followed them. So God says – I am a jealous God lavishing unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me. When God reveals himself in the Old Testament he reveals himself over and over again as – merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding with steadfast love.
The sending of Jesus was to bring us into that relationship of the Trinity as Jesus explains to his disciples: Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. I and the Father are one.” And Jesus concludes by saying: When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. (John 14:20) The Trinity is a beautiful image of God who longs to be in a relationship with us – who longs to invite us into his relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
God created us in his own image and he longs to be in a relationship with us. What a beautiful image of a God who will not let us go but promises to be with us always till the very end of the age. So may you experience every day the loving presence of God who will not let you go. And the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit will be with all of you.