It Is NOT GoodFr. Barnabas Powell
“Not good. Not good at all!” We were working on a project and the manager was extremely difficult to please. He didn’t like the artwork. He didn’t like the text. He didn’t like anything. And, when my team asked him, “What do you like?” He said something that let us know it was going to be a difficult process: “I’ll know it when I see it!” Ugh!
But there are times in our lives when circumstances and situations are “not good.” We all instinctively know what that means. It means either something or everything is out of whack or not fitting together well or just not measuring up.
Look at our Lesson today in Genesis 2:4-19:
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up — for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground — then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one which flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one which flows around the whole land of Cush. And the name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
Now we’ve heard Moses use the term “good” and “very good” about creation in general and the creation of humanity in particular. But today Moses is going to tell us what wasn’t good. The scene is set for a fateful event, but not today.
Look at how Moses sets the scene. We have a mist watering the earth. We have rivers flowing and we have trees and their fruit. And God gives humanity a task “Tend this garden.” Why, you may ask? Because Humanity, by virtue of God’s special care in creating Humanity, is a living “breath of God.” God breathes His life into His Humanity. So Humanity is meant to learn how to be “like” God and the best way to do that is to work. Work at tending and caring for the Garden. Work at exercising discipline by keeping the very first fast: Don’t eat! And work at being like God in being able to discern the names of the animals by seeing their nature and their purpose.
But then Moses tells us that God saw something “not good” in His creation. It wasn’t “good” for Humanity to be “alone.” But, you say, God is with Humanity. Yes, but Humanity is in infancy here and has not yet developed the spiritual discipline and focus to enter into deep communion with God. The relationship with God is more like a father and child. rather than a mature relationship. Humanity has much to learn. Later, God will separate the male and the female in this Humanity so that Humanity can have a “helpmeet” that will do the deepest work.
Today, everything “not good” in our lives can, ultimately be traced back to broken communion. Where is communion broken in your life? What is “not good” in your home or work or ministry? Look close enough, with enough humility, and you will discover some broken communion, either with God or another person, or both! Find that brokenness and you’ll be able to get back on the path to being Orthodox on Purpose!