Mankind has much to rejoice in. We are crafted by the hand of the Almighty. We have worth given to us by the God who spun the stars into space. We, unlike all other creatures, bear the very image of God. We display to creation his attributes. We declare to creation that he rules.
But being created should also remind us of our position before the Lord. He is Creator. We are creation. And that difference is a massive difference indeed.
Some of our greatest failings occur when we forget the difference between being created and being Creator. When we assume the rights of the Creator, we assume for ourselves a rank that we could never earn. We pretend that we have rights we do not have. We act as owners of the universe when we really should understand ourselves as recipients of the blessings of God.
This concept of creation or Creator came to my mind when I was reading through Job. I think most Christians know the story. The Lord allows the devil to bring hardships into Job’s life. Job reacts, at first, with righteous acceptance of the sovereignty of God. But, as time goes by and his friends come to visit, Job becomes more and more frustrated by the seeming unfairness of his circumstance. Job works himself up to a point where he wants to demand that God answer to him as to why all this is going on.
But then we meet Elihu. This younger man brings rebuke to Job and to Job’s 3 friends. And Elihu brings to mind a little bit of what it means to be creation.
4 The Spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
5 Answer me, if you can;
set your words in order before me; take your stand.
6 Behold, I am toward God as you are;
I too was pinched off from a piece of clay.
In verse 4 above, Elihu reminds us that it is special to be made in the image of the Lord. God’s breath is in our lungs. This is, of course, special. IT makes us superior to all other parts of and types of creation. God values humans above all animals, all nature, all the stars in the sky.
But Elihu is also reminding Job that Job’s very breath is not his. That should make us stop and think. What do we actually own? We own nothing. WE do not own the land. God made that. We do not own the heavens. God made them. And we do not even own our own breath. That belongs to the Lord as well. We borrow our breath.
Elihu also describes himself in verse 6 as having been pinched off from a piece of clay. We know, from Genesis 2, that the Lord fashioned human beings from the dust of the ground. God created the earth and then shaped us in his image. But how humbling is it to say this in the way that Elihu does?
We have value for sure. God has given it to us. But we are fully subordinate to the Lord who made us. We are animated clay. We are breathing borrowed breath. We are owned by the Lord just like the way he owns the land, sky, sea, and air. God made us. We are his. Like it or not, all creation is the Lord’s. This does not devalue us, as we are the highest of his creation. But it most certainly keeps us in our place, humbly serving the God who made us.