We Begin With A Touch

Our story, as God’s own people begins, then begins — again with a touch.  In the beginning, when God created heaven and earth He spoke everything into existence.  He said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  He said, “let the expanse be filled with stars and planets” and they were.  So also were the land, sea and sky populated with life.  Everything, that is, except us.

Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.  (Genesis 2.7)

 Our story begins with a touch.  God did not speak us into existence.  He formed us from pre-existing matter.  He formed us.  We were fashioned, crafted — like a shaker chair, or a Michelangelo sculpture.  In Michelangelo’s famous panel, “The Creation,” from the Sistine Chapel, tension is created by the millimeter of distance between the forefingers of Adam and God.  There is nothing Biblical in this depiction except the fact that our creation is tactile, intimate.  God “fashions” us.  He breathes His own breath into us.

 We (humans) begin with God’s touch.  So also do we begin — again.  One day there will be a New Heaven and New Earth.  We who belong to God will be there at the dawn of this new and endless day.  God will not need to fashion bodies for us, because at the trumpet’s sound we will receive our eternal bodies (1 Corinthians 15.51-53).  But we will still need His touch.

And He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall no longer be death; there shall no longer be mourning, or crying or pain, for the first things have passed away.         (Revelation 21:4)

The Bible begins and ends with God’s touch.  We begin and begin — again with God’s touch.  The verse cited above is immediately followed by God saying: “Look! I am making all things new!”  Just as our existence on earth begins with the touch of God, so also our eternal existence begins with His thumb upon our cheek, with His touch.

 One might argue that God is a spirit, Jesus says to Himself (John 4.24), and therefore all this talk about His touch has to be metaphorical.  To think He has hands is a sentimental bit of anthropomorphizing.  I would like to point out that Jesus is God and He has a body (Revelation 1:12-17).  I would also point out that if God intends that we should experience His touch, that is how we will experience Him.

The prophets, Old Testament and New, describe a variety of intelligent, created life  — angels, archangels, elders, living-beings — and we in creation’s order, are lower than they (Psalm 8.4) … but we, we humans, at the bottom of the complexity chart, are the object of God’s special attention.  We are loved.  We are offered birth into His family.  We receive His touch.  It is how we began.  It will be how we begin — again.

It is a humbling thought.

Barry Bryson

Manassas, VA


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