Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Green leaves and rainbows

The Bible is our guidebook from God and we are told in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verse 16 that "all scripture is given by inspiration of God (or God-breathed), and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness". The Bible must therefore be understood as a whole. Each part forms a different "piece of the jigsaw" which when viewed in total provides us with a picture of God’s plan and purpose.

The account of creation in the first few chapters of Genesis tells us that God created the earth in seven days:

Day 1 creation of light
Day 2 separation of the water into sky and sea
Day 3 creation of life on land (plants)
Day 4 creation of the sun, moon and stars (light)
Day 5 creation of fish and birds in the sky and water
Day 6 creation of animals (life)
Day 7 God rested

A pattern seems to emerge within the order of creation shown above. Light, water and life appear to be important here. Patterns and themes emerge throughout the Bible and this being the inspired word of God, these must exist to teach us something. A similar pattern exists within nature (God’s creation). Photosynthesis is the process by which plants acquire their food and energy and is denoted in the following equation:

water + carbon dioxide + light -> sugar + oxygen (life)

Lessons from Noah and the flood
The pattern of water plus light resulting in life is seen again in Genesis chapter 9 verses 13-17. Here God used a rainbow, which is created when sunlight shines through raindrops, to symbolise his promise never to destroy the world by flood again. "I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me an the earth… the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh."

Teaching of Jesus about light, water and eternal life
Jesus taught His disciples that He "is the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." John chapter 8 verse 12. He and his disciples also taught that baptism is essential for salvation. Baptism as described in the New Testament always involves full immersion in water. Romans chapter 6 verses 3 to14 explains why this is so important. The act of being fully immersed in water symbolises the believer associating him/herself with Christ’s death and his/her sins are symbolically buried with Christ. On rising out of the water the believer associates him/herself with Christ’s resurrection and is symbolically raised to a new life as a disciple of Christ. Through Christ’s sacrifice and faith the believer also gains the hope of eternal life in God’s Kingdom which will be established upon the earth when Christ returns. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John chapter 3 verse 16.

Green leaves and rainbows
Faith is explained in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1 as "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see". We cannot see God but we can see evidence of His creation all around us. Every spring when green leaves rise from the "death" of winter can remind us of the death and resurrection of Christ. Each time we see the beauty of a rainbow we can be reminded of God’s promise of eternal life through faith in His son "the light of the world" and baptism in water.

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