This morning I attended the Creation focus group, which began with the “creation experience.” The creation story of Genesis 1 was read aloud as beautiful images of sunlight, water, sky, trees, birds, reptiles, animals, and people flashed on screens above us. As God created the earth, over and over again he declares it “good.” But what did God mean by good?

The Hebrew word is tov which in addition to ‘good’ means beautiful and working the way itʼs supposed to. In the beginning, creation was tov, and humans were declared very tov. Everything was as it should be. But somewhere along the way things began to break down. The serpent came along and caused division between Adam and Eve. This division continues today. We have arguments; we place blame on others; we have so much division around race, religion, and gender; war is rampant. Clearly, things are not always tov.

As image bearers of God we are made to be in community; we are “hardwired for connection.” When God created Eve, Adam was overjoyed because he could see the similarities between them. He cried out ‘bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh!’ Sometimes itʼs hard to see this in the people around us, to see that they are ‘bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.’ The image of God becomes blurred when we let things come between us.

But God wants to restore his image, his tov. We all have the potential to be tov, to be good, beautiful, and working the way weʼre supposed to. Gene Knudsen Hoffman said that “an enemy is a person whose story we have not heard.’ If we would set aside differences, and hear the stories of each person, finding what is familiar in the other, perhaps we can get back to tov.

The next time that I have a negative thought about someone, I will try to remember that they, too, are tov, and they, too, are created in Godʼs image.

This post was written by Carol Wild, of DeerGrove Covenant Church, in Palatine, Illinois.

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