God at play
The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.
- from Genesis 2:9
God didn’t have to make the Garden of Eden so beautiful. But that fits with his character.
He’s constantly bringing beauty into the world. He’s generous, extravagant, creative. From Eden onward God’s superabundant goodness has marked his interaction with his creation.
The writer of Genesis knows he is writing a story that is in sharp contrast to other creation stories that were floating around the ancient world. Those gods created people because they wanted slaves or toys or lost bets. They kept their distance from their creations.
But the God who created the Garden and the cosmos and each of us – the only true God – delights to create and to give joy so we can enjoy his creation with him.
Does your picture of God include him being generous and effusive and extravagant?
Look at what the Lord did in Genesis 2. He doesn’t set humanity in an austere wilderness and order them to make it beautiful. Instead, God does the hard work to plant Adam in the Garden surrounded by beauty (“pleasing to the eye”) and comfort (“good for food”).
Adam isn’t just set in the Garden to work. He gets to enjoy it too. This has tremendous implications for our work and our play.
Many kinds of work involve putting in hours for someone else’s benefit: design software for someone else to use, bake a cake for someone else to eat, wash clothes for someone else to wear. That’s the reality of work and it’s okay.
But God designed us to enjoy the fruit of our labor. Every once in a while, we need to wear the clothes or use the software or eat the cake.
We all need to play.
Take your “play temperature.” How healthy is your relationship with play?