Happy Hallothanksmas!

It’s that time of year again. Confusion is in the air! The stores are packed with jolly little pumpkin and candy cane costumes. Wicker cornucopia centerpieces dripping with blood are lined up on the shelves, waiting to adorn your festive table. I have no idea what all this is about. So, I did some research.

autumn-19672_640Regarding this “Halloween” thing (I read that on a poster somewhere. I think it was between some glittery corn husks and the purple and black-striped tree skirts.), legend has it there was a very old woman who liked to wear black, had an uncommonly warty nose, and carried a broom around—to sweep her neighbors’ front porches. She swept and she swept. Nobody noticed what a nice thing she was doing, so she became disgruntled and decided she wanted payment for her act of kindness. So, she knocked on their doors.

“Hello, I need you to come out and look at your porch,” she told them.

They looked, thanked her, and promptly denied her any donations for her good deed.

Well! she huffed to herself; and the more she thought about it, the more it rankled. She decided she would get even.

On every front porch she set a rotting pumpkin, and on one she placed a dead cat. (Her cat had died, and it seemed right to her, since that one neighbor had refused her quite meanly.) The neighbors, in return, decided to reward her for her presents. They baked pies for her. Made of pumpkin. (The rotting ones on the front porches went missing about that time.) The especially mean neighbor made odd-looking jelly candies for her. (Cat bones are wonderful for giving a jelly-like consistency to things, you know.)

For some reason the old woman became ill and died. The neighbors felt bad. They began to sweep their own front porches until it occurred to them to have their kids do it. The kids, knowing the origins of this chore, played terrible tricks on the neighbors, pretending to be the ghost of the old woman and leaving rotting pumpkins or carcasses and bones of animals. Some of the neighbors, still feeling guilty about the old woman, relented and gave the kids sweets as payment. Soon the children became bold enough to knock on doors dressed in their ghostly garb and announce, “Hello, we need you to come out and look at your porch. And if you don’t give us a treat, the ghost of the old lady will give you a terrible trick!”

The “Hello, we need” later merged to form, “Halloween,” the rest became the brief, “Trick or treat,” and that’s how it all began. At least, that’s the gist I came away with. I’m still looking for the thanksmas part.

Less than 5 days for Earth Trolley!

Earth Trolley is a fun read about a woman who slips into her future and has to change things to keep the love of her life, whom she hasn’t even met yet, all during a trip to the grocery store. Try it. You won’t be able to put it down. Three readers in a row just told me they couldn’t put it down, so I can totally say that.

As of today, the story is on the second page of the Beyond Time contest list for number of votes on Inkitt.com. It has to receive enough votes to make the top 10% by July 27th. That’s less than 5 days away. The Inkitt judges will choose the best stories from the top 10%.

Please, read it. Vote! And share it: http://www.inkitt.com/stories/16918.

Camp and Boys


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I was fifteen years old the last time I was at summer camp… and a teensy-weensy bit suspended from going back the next year. When I was told I couldn’t go back to sleeping on a thin mattress in a cabin with no A/C and lots of creeping surprises—like ticks, spiders, roaches, and snakes—in the middle of the sweltering Florida summer, I was okay with that. Now I have my own kids, and they wanted to go to camp. I wanted to know about the camp I was sending them to. So, I asked to be a counselor, and I got my wish: one week of sleep-deprived, wilderness survival. Oh boy.

It wasn’t that bad—and I say that because it’s been two weeks since I got back from camp, and I’ve tried to block most of it out. Plus, my kids loved it. They didn’t seem to notice the filthy bathrooms and the chigger bites up their legs. There was a 75% off sale on candy bars on the last day, and what is there to complain about after that?

My daughter, Dawn, did have one complaint, though: her date for the bonfire.

Every camp session has an end-of-the-week couple event that sends the younger campers into a frenzy worrying about having to go with a boy or girl. The crisis is real; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Those kids are sweating it, and the fear smells really, really bad.

Dawn had no idea there was any such thing as going to a bonfire with a boy. Dawn is aware of boys; that’s about it. Dawn did not want to go with a boy anywhere. Dawn wanted nothing to do with a boy, and if a boy even brought up the bonfire subject she was going to scream and run.

“I am not going to the bonfire with a boy, Mom!” she averred on the first day.

“You don’t have to,” I told her.

“Are you sure? They made it sound like I have to!”

“They’re just doing that for fun.”

She calmed down. “Okay, because I don’t want to go with a boy.”

Then one of her cabin mates decided a little matchmaking was in order. It consisted of asking the boy sitting across from Dawn at lunch in the mess hall, “Do you have a date for the bonfire?” And telling him, “Then you and Dawn should go together.”

Dawn is not a violent child. Normally. In that instance she turned on her matchmaking friend, gave her the evil eye, and said between clinched teeth, “Stop it.”

Her cabin mate, a new friend, was unaware that this was Dawn’s violent side and all manner of plans were going through Dawn’s head for disposing of this new friend pronto.

The friend pressed the subject.

Dawn drew close, and in quiet, blood-curdling tones, repeated through her teeth, “Stop it!”

The friend didn’t get the hint, and Dawn left the table mid-meal.

Heated words were spoken in the cabin during rest hour. Dawn was incensed. Her ex-friend was offended. I felt very sorry for Dawn, but, well… C’est la camp! I won’t say I never tried to match my friends up. I won’t say they never hated me for it.

Then something really tragic happened. Dawn was asked to the bonfire by a boy! She said, “No.” And she felt bad.

“Mom, I feel awful for telling him I wouldn’t go with him. I didn’t even tell him why. I just said, ‘no,’ and walked away.”

“Then go back and tell him it’s because you just don’t want to go to the bonfire with a boy.”

“I just feel so bad,” she said. “He’s very unattractive, Mom.”

So, Dawn in all her gentleness went back to the ugly boy and told him she was sorry for having to tell him no. It wasn’t him; it was her.

He responded, “That’s okay. I was just asking random girls.”

When Dawn relayed this to me, I laughed. “See? You don’t need to feel bad!”

“But, Mom! Now I feel worse! All those girls have told him ‘no.’” She shook her head. “He’s so unattractive, but… he seems nice.”

I should’ve seen where this was going and warned the tender-hearted child, but I didn’t. The next conversation we had, she looked at me intently and told me, “I’m going with that boy to the bonfire.”

“You are?”

“Yes. I told him, ‘If you still want me to go with you, I will.’”

I didn’t try to persuade her out of it. I could see she was determined it was the right thing to do. After all, I knew she didn’t really like him, unlike her twin sister, Pearl, who had found a way to threaten the boy she liked into going with her to the bonfire. I had my hands full keeping my eye on Pearl.

So, the day of the bonfire arrived. The young campers’ moods were tense up to the hour of the bonfire. The momentous occasion came… and went. On the way back from the bonfire, Dawn found me. She was fuming.

“Mom! That boy was soooo dumb!”

I grinned. “What did he do?”

“Oh! He—everything! First of all, he made me sit on the end of the bench, and I only had half a seat. And second of all, he started to fall asleep on me.”

I laughed.

“Mom, he kept trying to shine his flashlight in my eyes. He wanted me to see how long I could stare at the light. Mom, he was so dumb he blinded himself with the flashlight.”

I died laughing.

She stopped walking and said, “It’s not funny.”

“I’m not laughing at you,” I said, trying to contain my laughter. “It may not be funny to you now, but it will be.”

She wasn’t convinced. “He was so dumb! I shouldn’t have gone with him.”

“I think you’ve learned a lesson here,” I told her. “A boy who is unattractive may not have any redeeming qualities. Don’t sacrifice yourself just because you feel sorry for someone.”

“He blinded himself with his own flashlight, Mom! Who does that?”

“Dumb boys?”

She groaned.

That night, the girls in the cabin recounted what happened around the bonfire, and Dawn told her story with all of the indignation and none of the disappointment. It was followed up with stories on stupid things boys do.

“Is it funny now?” I asked her amidst the laughter.

“Yeah.” She studied the underside of the top bunk and mused, “I just can’t believe anybody can be that dumb!”

Yes, there are dumb boys out there, Dawn. I hate to tell you, but there are lots of dumb boys. Some of them are unattractive. You can feel sorry for them, but don’t let pity or misplaced guilt influence you. Some of them are attractive. Don’t let their looks fool you; they are still dumb. It’s perfectly fine to say ‘no’ and walk away.

Paving Paradise

“I’m going for a walk,” I told my three kids as I stepped out the backdoor. They were already outside in the sunshine.

“Can I go with you?” my son asked, bouncing a tennis ball off a racket.


His sisters soon followed on their bikes, but we had to turn back because they forgot their helmets. We went back again for sneakers, back again for their water bottles. Like Bilbo, I’d name this tale “There and Back Again,” only I didn’t think we’d make it past the driveway.

Fifteen minutes later we set out on our adventure. Of course, I still thought I was taking a simple walk. The kids had other plans.

“Mom, let’s take you to the woods!” I guess my daughter thought this was an opportunity not to be missed.

“Nyah, I’m good,” I said. “The road works for me.”

“Aw, come on.”

“Yeah, come on, Mom,” my son cajoled. “Remember when I took us through the woods last time? You liked that.”

“Oh, I remember. We ended up in Timbuktu. It’s a wonder we made it back to the house before dark.”

He laughed. “Yeah, good memories…”

Good memories. He couldn’t have said a better phrase. “Let’s do it,” I said. “Lead the way.”

We cut through a new subdivision and found a pebbly path.

“They’ve already set up the sewage system through here,” he informed me. Our tour included sighting the concrete pipes stationed along the way.

“Can we get back on the road now?” I asked, seeing asphalt ahead.

“Oh, no, Mom! We have to cut through here next.”

‘Here’ was a grassy trial. Did I spell it, ‘trial’? Yes, and that’s what I meant. We walked until the grass turned into ruts, the ruts into muck pits, and, finally, into mounds of soft, slippery sludge. I thanked my children profusely for this fine expedition.

“It’s really not that bad, Mom,” persuaded the younger twin. “Look, the ground is almost dry in some places.” She slipped. “Uh. Not there.”

My son wasn’t listening. “This is awful!” he cried. “Where are the trees? They’ve actually cut down all the woods!”

They had indeed. The view ahead was upturned dirt and roots. Wisps of smoke curled away from a black mountain of ash in the center of the wiped out acreage.

“How could they tear down all those trees?” whispered my second daughter.

“They are probably preparing to build more houses. Remember the sewage pipes?” I reminded her.

My son exhaled sadly. “There won’t be any woods left pretty soon. Last time I was here all I could see was trees and more trees.”

We made our way across a thin stream to a little area off the trail piled with broken computer monitors, a smashed wooden chair, a couple of beaten down plastic crates, and some other unrecognizables. I scanned the area for syringes—yes, I was freaked out.

“Be careful; there are pieces of glass,” my older daughter warned me, looking around.

I was happy to discover that the “glass” was actually pieces of dark plastic. And no syringes.

After giving them the talk entitled, “If You Ever See a Syringe/Needle on the Ground, Get Far, Far Away” that quickly morphed into “Drugs and Drug Addicts Revisited,” we headed home.

“That wasn’t too bad, was it Mom?” my son asked after chasing his sister down to get his tennis ball back.

“Not at all.” I grinned at him and something caught my eye.

“Excuse me,” I called to a man walking toward a dumpster. I ran up to him and asked for the nice box he was preparing to throw away.

“I’ve got more,” he said. “How many you want?”

We followed him back to a new house, where he was installing fixtures. My son helped him unload packing trash into the dumpster, and we trotted home with six new boxes.

“We lost the trees, but we have boxes, at least,” I told my son.

“I guess I can make more woods…on Minecraft.” He grinned at me slyly.

A Happy Little Thing

It’s the middle of the morning, and I’m sitting at my desk with a cozy cup of tea writing. Do you know how often that happens—writing in the mid-morning? It is a rare thing in this house. But it’s summer break! I look forward to the summer more than the kids do. Well…maybe it’s a tie.

I’ll return to scribbling now. I hope you’re having one of those rare-and-lovely-happening-type days, too.

A Day of R & R: Rest and Remembrance (Genesis 2:1-3)


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20130701aIs there anything as satisfying as completing a big project? When I begin writing a new story, there is this glowing sense of discovery and challenge, like a bright light on everything. But when it’s done—when the last line is penned and the story sits before me, whole—there’s a dreadful lull that undoes me. Something that smacks of dissatisfaction haunts me as I look at my finished tale. It may be complete, but it needs work. I edit and polish it, and others edit and polish it. I’m still not satisfied. That’s when I have to let it go. I could spend the rest of my life trying to improve my child of script.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.

When God completed Project Heavens and Earth, He wasn’t worried about having left out a crucial element. He had no dread of being dissatisfied. Everything He made was perfect.

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made: and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

The picture of an all-powerful Being resting after His work is odd, isn’t it? It’s not like He’s exhausted. The point is: He finished the project. It was done, and it was done right the first time. No need to touch-up or amend anything. He sits back and enjoys His completed masterpiece.

And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

This is the third time in seven days that God blesses something. Bless is a tough word to my Americanized eyes. Its first meaning is to kneel for a gift, and my society rarely kneels for anything. The second is to grant the gift. In later passages, the patriarchs bless their sons by placing their hands on them, signifying that it is a bestowal and not something the sons can just take. (For more, read about Israel blessing Joseph’s sons.) First, God blesses the animals of the sea and sky. Second, God blesses mankind. Now, God is blessing something I can’t see or set in an alcove of the study to match the curtains. He is blessing a day of the week! The pattern of blessing takes a definite shape: Each time God blesses something, He gives a task or purpose associated with that created thing.

When He blesses the sea creatures and air creatures, He says, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters and seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.” He tells mankind the same thing in verse 28: to be fruitful and multiply. He adds another task or purpose for mankind, to “replenish (fill it full) the earth, and subdue it and have dominion over [all the animals on the earth].”

He gives the seventh day a task, too. Its purpose is to remind me that God finished His Creation in six days, and He stopped working on the seventh because it was done, complete, perfect. God later establishes the ceremonial observance of the seventh day, known as Sabbath, for the Israelite nation under the law of Moses. The word Sabbath is derived from the word for rest, shabath.

He also sanctifies the seventh day. This is the first time sanctify is used, and I’m curious about its meaning because this word gets tossed around in religious terminology all the time. God is teaching this concept to a nation of people in their own primitive language, so it can’t be too complex. Sanctify means “separated for a purpose.” That’s it. So, basically, I can sanctify my hairbrush—meaning, I can announce it is my hairbrush and only my hairbrush, and any man, woman, child, or dog who attempts to use my hairbrush for anything other than to comb my hair will be swiftly rapped on the knuckles with that hairbrush. Sanctified isn’t a mystical concept. Anybody can sanctify something. It’s the one doing the sanctifying that makes all the difference. When God sanctifies something, it will stay separated for the purpose He gives to it.

God established the purpose for the seventh day, and He has the power to uphold it, just like God has the power to uphold all the laws He established. I didn’t exist when He created all the laws that make the world go ’round. I can’t even look back and observe, “Oh, here it is: the beginning of the phenomenon called the Law of Gravity.” Or, “I’ve pinpointed where the Law of Biogenesis came into existence!” Not possible. But God was there, and He talks about how crucial it is for me to believe that He was there at the beginning and that He is the Cause that effected this habitable, beautiful world.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. – Hebrews 11:3


Moses and the Red Sea, Public Domain Image from Keir Collection

The Greek word aion is translated ‘worlds’ in this passage, and it looks a lot like our word ‘eon.’ It can mean the material universe, and it can mean the eras, the on-going passage of time. It tells me that every period of history that God has had recorded and preserved is a faithful account. It is a true and unfabricated testimony presented by an Eternal, All-Knowing Witness. My faith will not be strong enough to comprehend the nonmaterial components of this world that God has made if I can’t believe He’s telling me the truth. The understanding of concepts like salvation, love, penitence, the heinousness of sin, or the hope of a heavenly reward is not going to resonate with me wholly. Genesis 1 is a simple, this-is-how-it-happened narrative. The rest of the Bible builds on this foundation, so that, when I’m faced with the why’s and how’s of Jesus Christ being both the Son of God and Son of Man centuries later, I will have a solid grip of the material to establish the nonmaterial. If I find the first chapter in the Book questionable, what prevents me from continuing to reword and revise everything God is trying to teach me in the rest of His book? I’m going to miss what He’s trying to tell me.

Here is the message He wants His creation to know about the world and the humans He created: He made it right the first time. He didn’t make any mistakes. So, all the problems and the scars and the wars and the destruction that I see today were not because He messed up. The wise King Solomon knew this and counseled, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, ESV).

He made mankind beautiful in his time, in the fitting moment. I am the one who must choose to be or not to be what God meant me to be. I am born into a world of men and women who were given the opportunity and chose not to be the way God meant. I, too, chose the ugly route, putting the beautiful things God created to their worst use. That choice affected me; it continues to affect me and others. But God offered me—and everyone—that pristine beauty again through the perfect, sinless life of His Son. I can choose God’s good beauty, but I have to believe He’s telling me the truth and nothing but the truth. Because, one day, He’ll accept me as fully and completely as I accept Him and His truth, and I will enter into His rest, an everlasting shabath.

This is the final update of the “Touching Creation” series. You will find a complete list of posts in the series here.

Just Like Me (Genesis 1:27-31)

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

‘Man’ meant the human race, and the human race was made in God’s image. This is stated twice in the same verse. I think that’s a hint it’s important. So, what does it mean to be created in God’s image?

100_1273The word for image is translated ‘image’ in all but one passage in the King James version of the Bible, where it is translated ‘vain shew’—meaning something that looks like the real thing, but it isn’t. The Hebrew word for image is derived from the concept of a shadow or change of shade. The same word is used later in Genesis, when Adam has his son Seth.

When Adam had lived one hundred and thirty years, he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth (Genesis 5:3, NASB).

This verse is prefaced in Genesis 5 with the explanation, “When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them Man when they were created” (Genesis 5:1b-2, NASB). Doesn’t that sound like Genesis 1:27 above? But ‘image’ isn’t used here. Instead, it’s likeness, and it’s not the same word. It means in the fashion or similitude of. God uses it in when He says, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Why does God choose to use these two similar words, ‘image’ and ‘likeness,’ to compare mankind to God, and then repeat them to describe the relationship between Adam and Seth? I think God is telling me that He has a relationship with me that can be compared to the relationship I have with my children. The way I love and view my children is the way God loves and views me. I talked about the innate bond a mother shares with her newborn. My baby belongs to me in a way that doesn’t mean I possess or control her. I say to my father about my son, “He has your eyes.” Or I say my son acts so much like his father. I find delight in these similarities. He belongs, like I belong. It is in that same familial sense that I belong to God. He made me with similarities that endear me to Him and delight Him.

Seth was the father of a line of descendants of Adam who began to call on the name of the LORD. Adam had other sons before and after Seth, but God shows Seth to be the son Adam fathered “in his own likeness, according to his image.” Seth, who was like Adam, had sons who followed God. Cattle and beasts can’t call on the name of the LORD, and neither can fish or birds. No other creature but humankind has the capability of petitioning God for His instructions, approval, and love. When my children seek my instructions, approval, and love, I give to them willingly. God loves and gives so much more than I could ever love or give.THREE GENERATIONS OF COAL MINE WIVES AND A BABY, ALL RESIDENTS OF CUMBERLAND, KENTUCKY. FROM THE LEFT, THEY ARE MRS... - NARA - 556593

Other than my ability to create a being like myself, what other ways am I like God? Looking back through Genesis 1, I find…

God created; I can create. “In the beginning God created…”
I can create through many avenues. As a writer, this is an awesome thought for me. I have proof of reaches, materially and theoretically, that are humanly infinite. God provides the intellectually infinite for me, His offspring, to expand my knowledge and help me grow, while to Him it is finite.

God has a spirit; I have a spirit. “And the Spirit of God moved…”
God’s spirit as an active, doing entity (I touched on this in Light and Goodness). While my body works to thrive instinctively, there is a part of me that can go against my instincts. I can do, sometimes, the very opposite of what my natural needs and wants would have me do. That is spirit. Without it, I would be unable to think outside the here and now of my automated body.

I can see the light. “And God saw the light, that it was good.”
The idiom “see the light,” means to understand something clearly at last. My Creator shows me in this verse that He knows what is good. If I let Him teach me what is good, then I will see the light, too. He created me with this potential, to know and understand good versus what is bad. This is the very aspect that causes me to seek for a belief system; I yearn to understand things clearly and rightly.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

He tells man to replenish the earth. The word means to fill it full. It implies satisfying emptiness. I’m going to go out on a limb and suppose that God didn’t think humans were a nuisance to the ecosystem on day six. In fact, when He commands them to subdue the earth, it sounds like He’s all for taming the wilds and making the earth mankind’s dwelling.

And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

God is now handing over the food supply, saying, “These plants I made are for you.” Shouldn’t that give me a complex? I was taught in school that humans are using up the planet’s resources. I’m a problem to this planet, and I need to stop eating so much, living so much, breathing so much. My great big carbon footprint is all wrong! But God says He made the food, the earth, and the very atmosphere for me to…eat, live, and breathe! I’m here on purpose. He made me in His image. My life is not a nuisance to the planet; this planet was specially made for my human life to thrive.

And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

God created enough food for mankind and animals to share. Based on this verse and the one before it, it’s been theorized that the first animals and people were vegetarians. It may have been true before Noah’s time, but God told Noah in Genesis 9:3-4 that every moving thing was food, but not to eat the blood. So, something happened between the beginning of the world and when Noah stepped out of the ark. It looks like the abundance at the beginning was drastically diminished, numerically and/or nutritionally.

God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…

The human race gets the ultimate seal of approval from God: He calls His creation not just good, but very good.


God created man to be male and female, creating them in His image.
He established the laws of procreation and commanded man to fill the earth.
He commanded mankind to rule the creatures He made.
He gave man and animals green herbs for food.
He surveyed His creation and called it very good.

…And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

I have a beginning, and here it is. But where is God’s beginning? My brain can’t wrap around the concept of a Being Who has always existed. I wonder if God smiles on me like I smiled when my daughter remarked to her older brother, “When I grow up, I’m gonna be older than you!” She didn’t understand the laws of time, but I knew she would one day. As I move through time, I don’t fully grasp the concept of timelessness. The Creator knows I don’t get it yet. But I will. One day.

Cattle, Beast, and Creeping Thing – Genesis 1:24-26


Image is used by permission courtesy of Keriography.

Five days have passed. The Earth has been set in motion, primed with the perfect, life-giving conditions. The seas and skies are teeming with large and small creatures, so God focuses on land.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.


Image is used by permission courtesy of Keriography.

Three words cover every land animal. Cattle describes livestock and wild animals both. It is used for large animals and is translated in other passages as ‘beast.’ Creeping thing is a different word than the word for moving thing from the fifth day. It can mean sea creatures in other passages, but, here, it is modified by the description “of the earth.” It expresses the idea of animals low to the ground, such as reptiles, rodents, and land insects. Beast is the last category, which means “living thing.” This word is used twice in this verse because it is the same word translated “living creature” at the beginning. It can refer to all animals and is modified by “of the earth.” So, God includes every large and small land animal.

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

God makes the land animals and establishes the laws of procreation, just like He established for the water and sky animals: they can only reproduce their kind. The first animals in their pristine form must have had a great amount of genetic diversity that gave them the ability to reproduce so many varieties within their species. Research shows many have died out. I’m glad to know dogs won’t start giving birth to pigs. It would get really tiresome trying to find owners for a litter of pigs when I expected to have pugs.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

God is showing me His premeditation, His planning. He is going to create a creature—man—that will be unlike the creatures previously made. The emphasis is on man’s similarity to the Creator. God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Man is like God in a way that the sea creatures, winged fowl, and animals of the land are not.


Image is used by permission courtesy of Keriography.

God gives mankind the rule over every other creature He has made, and He gets specific about this by citing the habitats of these creatures—they live in the sea, in the sky, and on the earth. So, man is established as the dominant creation by the Creator’s command, not by his own decision.

This short verse also reveals more information about God. God refers to Himself in the plural. “Let us make…in our image,” He says. He doesn’t explain who “us” is in this verse. Looking back in the previous verses, I can only note that He spoke of Himself in the beginning verses as “the Spirit of God.” So, the Spirit of God is present during creation, and this is the only clue I gather from the chapter about my Creator’s use of “us.” For me, an avid reader, this is the sort of thing I would make a note of. It stands out as a clue that I will want to keep in mind as I continue reading.

God made all the land creatures and established their procreation laws.
He called them good.
God, plural, plans the creation of man and man’s authority over creatures of the planet.

The sixth day isn’t over yet. I’ll read about the creation of man next. Right now, I’m wondering about the dinosaurs. When the animals of the sea and land were made, wouldn’t the largest beasts—those terrible lizards—have been created as well?

Here are two dino-sized descriptions I found from the Bible:

Behemoth – This beast seems to have been a land animal. He could use his tail like the trunk of a cedar tree, he ate grass, and the strength of his frame was compared to bronze and iron.

The sea serpent, Leviathan, is mentioned in 4 places: Job 41, Psalm 74, Psalm 104, and Isaiah 27. God uses sarcasm to discuss the strength of Leviathan. He says (and I’m paraphrasing), “Can you reel in Leviathan with a fishhook? Will he beg you to let him go? Will you take him for a pet?” This sarcasm is made clear when God says later, “Lay your hand on him; Remember the battle; you will not do it again!”

What do you think these animals were?

The feature image is mine. Notice he was smiling for the picture.





Wonders Great and Small – Genesis 1:20-23

A late 1880’s report documented the viewing of “gigantic Calamaries” found beached on the coasts of New Zealand. In January of last year, a Japanese fisherman hauled in a living 13-foot squid. Why are we so in awe of giant sea creatures? What makes that news? Perhaps it’s the notion that there are fearful, powerful creatures sharing this world with us that we don’t see every day.

Image is used by permission courtesy of Keriography.

Image is used by permission courtesy of Keriography.

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

I’ve been using the King James Version for my flowery quotes, but here it begs the question, “Did the water create the sea creatures?” ‘Bring forth‘ is translated in other versions as ‘teem with’ or ‘swarm with.’ The water is not doing the producing; it is seen as the perfect environment for creating the abundant life God wants, just like the earth ‘brought forth’ grass.

Moving creature‘ covers anything from reptiles to insects to rodents to aquatic life. Fortunately, “let the waters bring forth” tells me these particular creatures all live in water. Some living creatures that make their home in the water, other than fish, are amphibians, crustaceans, mollusks, sea mammals, and reptiles—like sea turtles and sea serpents. Knowing there are many, many species of animals that live in the sea, wouldn’t it be efficient to describe them all with one word? That’s what God did. He made all sorts of creatures to live in the water, and He made them on one day. And if I had any doubt, the next verse gives a little more info.

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

So, the great sea creatures were made during this time, as well. Interestingly, the word for whales is translated in other Bible passages as ‘dragon,’ ‘sea monster,’ and ‘serpent.’ So, this word covers more than the whales.


Image is used by permission courtesy of Keriography.

What does ‘every winged fowl’ include? The word for fowl can mean any winged creature. Birds are not the only creatures with wings. There are also insects. And what about bats? These all take to the sky, so this would be the day they came into being.

Living in an age when scientists like to categorize and re-categorize creatures based on their traits, I have trouble allowing that all creatures with wings or all creatures that live in the water could be created simultaneously. Perhaps this is because I was taught for years that creatures evolved into new species and developed complex traits spontaneously, like wings, to fit their environments. Since evolutionary theories are constantly being revised, I’ve found it more reliable to accept that the variety of creatures with wings or in the water were made genetically pristine and intact from the beginning, and that God created them with the means to adapt in natural ways consistent with their biological makeup—i.e., they remain subject to the law of reproducing after their own kind.

And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.20080328m

The word ‘multiply’ is a bit intimidating when I remember that flying insects were part of this command. If you’ve ever been in a swarm of bugs, inhaled, and choked on one, you probably know what I mean.



God made the waters teem with sea creatures, great and small.
God made the winged creatures that fly in the sky.
God called them good.
God established the laws of procreation for His creatures.

And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

I’ve often wondered why God made creatures like bugs. I can know two things about them here: 1) When they were created, God called them good, and 2) God wanted them to multiply on the earth. There was also that time in Egypt when God used the bugs to prove His power over their gods and their much-worshiped pharaoh. He used the smallest, weakest creatures to overcome the pharaoh’s pride and arrogance. Insects are truly a small wonder.

Disclaimer: I do not agree with the conclusions presented in the article, “Fossils revise human evolution theories,” linked above, and it has been discredited by some scientists. See “Human ‘missing link’ fossils may be jumble of species” for more information.

The feature image is used by permission courtesy of Keriography.

Moon of Silver, Sun of Gold – Genesis 1:14-19

Reading the tragedy Medea by Euripides, I noted Medea’s grandfather is Helios, the sun. She begs Helios and the gods to come to her aid and avenge her against her husband’s betrayal. In Greek myth, the powerful rulers and leaders were said to be the children of the sun, the moon, love, fire, dawn, etc. Centuries later, the apostle Paul alludes to this belief when he gives a discourse to the Athenians of the first century at the Areopagus. Paul, taught by the first century Jewish law-interpreter Gamaliel, was skilled in the art of rhetoric, so the Athenians had him speak on the new Christian ‘philosophy.’ During his presentation he quoted one of their philosophers, saying, “…as certain also of your own poets have said, ‘We are also his offspring’” (from Acts 17:28). Paul was pointing to this belief as something he had in common with them, since Christians believe we are all God’s children.

“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” Acts 17:29

Paul, speaking in one of the best social networking venues in Athens—a city known for its idol-making industry—gives a logic lesson: It is not sound thinking to create something to worship with one’s own hands because God is far above these physical resources.

How did the Athenians take this lesson? Some believed, and some didn’t. Whether they agreed with the tenets of Christianity or not, they seemed to find Paul’s philosophy interesting. They told Paul they’d have him speak again for them.

If God didn’t make the sun, moon, and stars for us to fashion idols after, what did He make them for?

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years;

Their purpose wasn’t solely for light because light already existed before they were created. God set the sun, moon, and stars to the task of signaling the days and nights. They also denote seasons and help me keep track of years, granting me awareness of time passing.

Time is a creation of a Being who exists outside its rules. God can interrupt it, halt it, step into it, and see all aspects of time at once. So God doesn’t need a way to keep a record of time; He provides this for us.

And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

Photo used by permission courtesy of Keriography.

He caused light to stream from vast distances and to reach the earth in a twinkling. There are theories that the creation of the earth in six days was impossible because of the distance of celestial bodies in our universe. Some wonder how light from quasars billions of light years away could possibly travel to our planet if the earth is only as old as 6K to 10K years. Given the limitations of natural law, could the light ever reach us on a young earth? It’s a viable question, but not for a Creator with unlimited power. God is not hemmed in by the law of cause and effect. He created it. So, the light would have been seen on Earth when God created these stars and celestial systems, just as there was light on the Earth before the stars were created. It was supernatural and easily carried out by the One who created time and its markers in the first place.

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

While the sun and moon are the objects used to present this light, they are not said to be the originators of the light. Where that light originates is not even discussed in this verse. Perhaps this is why God chose to create light before He set a fiery sun in the sky, to prompt me to ask the question: “From where does the light originate?” The light came from Him. The sun is now given the task to uphold by natural law what He brought into existence days before.

And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

Public domain image by Dawn Hudson.

Isn’t it fascinating to think of God setting those beautiful forms in the universe, like someone adorning a gown with diamonds, rubies, and glittering jewels? The Earth is the center of the universe in this sense; it is days older than the stars. The sun, moon, and stars were created for the earth to thrive. The Earth was created for us to thrive. Does this mean humans actually are the center of the universe? (Heh.) God is the center. He’s the beginning and the end, as well.

God placed lights in space to help us keep a record of the passage of time.
These lights began to shine on Earth from the moment of their existence.
The sun was made to signal Day, the moon was made to signal Night, and He made the stars.
God called them all good.

And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

In four days He created the world and its universe. The Master Designer set everything in motion in space, a beautifully organized machine. Though I can’t perceive by sight or touch how they remain fixed in their orbits, I can understand cause and effect—the pull of the planets and stars, the effect of the moon on the seas. I am comforted when I see these bodies in space, like the North Star or the constellation Orion. They will go on, marking the times and seasons. God fixed them in the sky to assure us that He will guide us, if we will let Him.

Genesis 8:22:“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Featured image in public domain by Karen Arnold.


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