I believe in God,
The Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
In Finland we can notice that people cherish the nature around them. The soul rests in the midst of God’s nature and silence.
We can also experience the nature as something frightening, if we are, for example, alone in the forest or desert or among wild animals. According to the Bible it has not always been so. When God created the universe and man, everything that He had created was good. Everything was without flaw or defect, because God himself had created it.
The goodness of God was present in everything. But when man decided to break against God’s will, the whole nature came under a curse. Man, who had been created to rule and cultivate and protect the land, lost his position as ruler of the creation. There became a hostility between man and nature. There is hostility also between human beings. Man has become an enemy even to himself. Even though God’s goodness can be seen in everything in creation, there is also something cruel and accursed in the nature (Genesis 3).
The task God has given to cultivate and protect the nature has not been taken away. It is man’s calling to do work and thank God for his daily bread. A Christian should respect with his behavior the world God has created. Maybe for this reason the Judeo-Christian world view has given an especially good basis for science and art. God gave Adam the task of naming all the animals (Genesis 2:19). In naming the animals Adam described and defined his observations. Even science is something that God has given as a task to man. The word of God and science cannot be in conflict, because God is the author of both the Bible and the nature. The scientific theories of man and the interpretations of the Bible are often in conflict, though. Therefore it is good to acknowledge the limitations of our understanding in front of God’s great deeds. The world God has created is far more magnificent than our observations can reach. The duty of a Christian is to protect the nature. We can influence the nature with our consumption habits as individual persons. Also the political action for the nature starts with the attitudes of individual persons. In some matters man goes dangerously far in changing the nature with the means of science. When maximizing the profit is the only principle, man and nature suffer. The Bible says that the creation sighs heavily under the sin of man and longs for the final redemption. In the end God sets the creation free from under the burden. (Romans 8:19-22).
Man is created in the image of God. The Bible doesn’t explain in any detailed manner what this means. We can think that many things in man tell about God. One of these things is creativity. God created out of nothing. We create from what already exists. We want to know, because God knows everything. We want to love, because God is love. We want justice, because God is holy. We ponder about time and infinity, because God is eternal and infinite. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27). God gave man the name Adam. Adam was allowed to name and define the animals, but God defines man. Man has attempted to define himself without God (Genesis 11). Even nowadays man is defined or categorized sometimes according to the animal kingdom, sometimes according to chemical reactions, and sometimes man is compared to a computer. According to the story of creation, man is part of the nature, but also different from the rest of creation. Even angels have been created to serve and minister to man (Hebrews 1:14). Adam was made to be the crown of creation. God took the rib bone from the first man, and created another human being. She was named Eve. God created humans male and female. In this way humanity became whole and complete. So the whole of mankind has come from one (Acts 17:24-27). Later almost the whole of mankind was destroyed in a flood. Only Noah and his family survived. After this we are told how the nations of the world descend from the three sons of Noah (Genesis 10). Can you find your own nation from the list presented in the Bible? The Finnish nation cannot be found, and not all names can be traced any more, because some old nations have died and new ones have been born. Many of us have many nations represented in our family tree. Through Noah’s family we are all related to each other. According to the Bible everyone spoke the same language in the beginning. In Babel God confused the language of man to protect humankind from its own wickedness (Genesis 11). The suspicion between nations limits the power of dictators and the oppression of people. The confusion of languages was a blessing. Different languages are part of mankind’s common richness, even though the different languages do seem to cause a lot of troubles and problems. Also each culture has something beautiful and valuable.
Being different also causes suspicions. Often a foreigner has to experience discrimination in the country he or she lives in. Because of the color of one’s skin one may have to experience racial hatred. Some nations are rich and some poor, some are strong and some weak, but every human being has been created by God and has equal value, regardless of whether one is man or woman, an old person or a child. Your value is not based on what someone says about you. Your value is based on God’s creation work, and has been shown to us in the fact that God gave His only Son to die in order to redeem each human being free from sin (Gal. 3:26-29). Each human being is a sinner and is separated from God from the beginning of his or her life. Therefore everyone needs a Savior (Romans 3:22-24). We are all in the same position.
What kind of things are you proud of in your own culture? What kind of things do people of this country want to hear about themselves?