God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. . . .
— Genesis 1:31
The good, perfect, and loving Creator made an amazingly good world. The great song of creation in Genesis 1 closes with this resounding affirmation: “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” The star-studded heavens, the warming sun and glistening moon, the lush forests and the underlying biosphere, the sea teeming with marine life, and the air humming with birds—all of it was good. And humankind, bearing God’s image, empowered to care for God’s good earth, was also good. It was all very good.
An important word that we will consider often this month is shalom. This Hebrew word, often translated as “peace,” means much more than that. While “peace” often refers mainly to an absence of conflict, shalom suggests the presence of goodness, flourishing, right relationships, and all things being as God created them to be. Shalom points to all things living in line with their character so that they can fully achieve God’s intentions for them.
Living in right relationship is essential for human flourishing—right relationship with God, with others, with self, and with God’s creation. That’s what God intended. Yet because of human sin and rebellion, those relations are twisted and spoiled. Poverty and all its limitations are the result of relationships gone wrong. Even so, God’s great work of love is to free us and his creation from the bondage of sin and to restore shalom.
God, thank you for loving us enough to restore us and make all things new. In Jesus, Amen.