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In Creation Diversity was Created

First Sunday after Pentecost: Trinity Sunday Genesis 1:1-2:4a; 2 Corinthians 13:11-13; Matthew 28:16-20; Canticle 13

by Igor Paley
The Genesis Creation Detail

After the women find the tomb empty, they are told to go to Galilee with the other disciples. This is where our story opens. For the first time, the disciples are seeing the risen Lord. Jesus tells them to make disciples of all nations. To teach them and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Language we are familiar with in baptism.

This seemingly upbeat Gospel passage has caused damage around the globe. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” A command or commissioning to us, the followers of Christ, to convert people of all nations to Christianity. The effect of passages such as this have helped justify actions taken in colonialism, imperialism, and slavery. “We,” typically of white European ancestry, embarked on campaigns to help the “savages” or “heathens” become more human, more like ourselves. This was done in the name of religion.

What we find is that these “converts” were not given equality and often were still denied their humanity. There are reputable accounts of American colonists who “successfully” converted “savage,” native people; educating them, teaching them the way of Western Civilization, and yet they were still denied access to the full promises of Western culture. When these people returned to their villages, they were then rejected by their community as being unfaithful to the tribe. They were no longer native and yet, they were not Western either.

In the beginning, God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.”

Whenever we look down upon another human being, no matter how much we may perceive that they are dissimilar, we are looking down on the image of God. We are saying that the image of God we represent is somehow a better image than the one reflected by someone else.

When looking at the creation story, this image of God is not singular. It states as clear as day that we are made not just in the image of God but “in our image.” God consulted other beings in creating us. A divine assembly created us to be a reflection of their image, and within this image there is diversity.

In our creation story, no other creature, plant, or animal is said to be made male and female. With the creation of humans, we are allowed to peer into the richness and complexity of the divine realm. God is not in heaven alone but is engaged in a relationship of mutuality. God and the heavenly realm seem not to be strictly male, “for God create them male and female.”

God chooses to share the creative process with others. God shares this creative power with others and with us. When God gives us dominion over the fish and animals, we are being given the role of caregiver and steward, not exploiter. Just as God consulted with others in human creation, God consults with us to care for and nurture the creatures of the planet. We are given this responsibility, this God-given ability, yet I wonder if we use it for its intended purpose.

When we, as Christians, think of this divine assembly, we often include the Son and the Holy Spirit along with the Father. Clearly, there could still be other beings in heaven, but we understand that the wholeness and unity of the Trinity exist much in the same way that God speaks of creation. There is a mutuality of creativity and love that extends through all creation. And the clearest image of this love is Christ incarnate, a tangible human who lived with us and showed us how we can live with one another in the fullness of God and creation.

Through Christ, this love unmistakably extends to us. I’m sure you have felt it at some point in your life. We see an example of this tender care in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians as he says, agree with one another, live in peace, and greet one another with a holy kiss.

It is true, that Paul offers these words to a specific group of people, those of the Church of Corinth.

They were words of advice, for the problems that were going on in their community. But I believe these words equally apply to all of us and demonstrate how we are to treat those beyond the walls of this church here in Hopkinsville. Paul’s words are based on Christ’s example. When Christ lived in the flesh, there was no such thing as the Church. Christ’s example was for all of his followers relating to all the people we meet, whether they are his followers or not.

This is where radical hospitality comes in. Welcoming those whom society doesn’t welcome. Helping those who cannot help themselves. All while taking care of each other. None of this is mutually exclusive. For God is mutually inclusive. It’s not this group or that group but both groups and more.

The unity and love we are called to are not one of conformity or sameness. Paul doesn’t tell the Corinthians that they must be the same, he says there are guidelines to follow. The Trinity itself is an example of diversity. One God in three persons, three very different persons, yet indivisible, while coexisting in unity and love. And our creation story is the opposite of sameness. In the beginning, there was just one thing, a dark, formless void. Out of this homogony of nothingness, God created an abundance of diversity at a cosmic scale. While here on little old earth, God creates an orb that teams with life both on land, in the sea, and in the air. God creates diversity in such abundance, that creation is not strictly binary. There is diversity within the diversity. There is even diversity between land and water, beaches and swamps. Day and night include dawn & dusk.

I’m always surprised that there is such a societal call for living a life of conformity and homogeneity. With God’s example, we should be celebrating our differences. We should celebrate those things that make us individuals. And most importantly, we should be celebrating one another.


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