Archbishop Desmond Tutu on 'Made For Goodness'

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Gen. 1:1–5)

For five days creation is born from the mouth of God with the words, "Let there be. . . ." Light and darkness; the oceans and the heavens; the sky, the seas, and the dry land; vegetation of every kind: trees and seeds, fruit and flowers; the sun, moon, and stars; the sea creatures and the birds of the air; living creatures of every kind: cattle, wild animals, and creeping things -- all come into being at God's "Let there be. . . ." Then, on the sixth day, there is a change. The storyteller has to give a signal that something momentous is about to occur: instead of the formula for every other act of creation -- "Let there be. . . ." -- for this one, God says, "Let us. . . ." It's as though God has to consult. The entire divine court has to be involved in the emergence of this extraordinary creature that is in the image of God, the likeness of God, who is going to be God's representative, the steward of God's creation.

Then God said, "Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth." So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Gen. 1:26–27)

And when God has completed this act of creation, God sees not that "it was good," as God said at the end of all the other acts of creation. God sees something more. At the end of this sixth day, "God saw everything that he had made, and indeed it was very good" (Gen. 1:31). All of it was very good, including us; no part of it is inherently evil. We are very good. How can we believe this when we see the horror and grief we inflict on each other? We can believe it because we know that we are made in the very image and likeness of God. We say this not only as a faith statement or creed. We say this because we have found that it is the best way to express who and what we are. Perhaps you, like most of us, really do not understand the incredible creatures we are. Perhaps you have not taken in what it means to be made in the image of God. We forget. Or we don't really believe it. But we are made in the image of God. It is as though we want to be dwarfs when God wants us to be giants.

We are endowed, like the creator, with this gift of creativity. Anyone who has seen a dancer in motion or an artist at work, anyone who has enjoyed the skill of a good cook or watched a child build a sandcastle or make a mud pie knows that human creativity is inherent.

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