Genesis 2 How many of you know the story of how Quaker Ridge Camp came to be? Can you share it in a nutshell? We have a pretty good idea of the general inception of Quaker Ridge. So, can any of you tell me who the first director of the camp was? Tell me about him/them in a nutshell. So, do any of you know what the thoughts and emotions of the director were? What was he wearing? What did they have for their first meal? Were you there to see the Yearly Meeting officials sign the title papers? Where was the signing?
What I’m trying to get at is this: we know the general story of the formation of Quaker Ridge Camp, to one degree or another. But there is also the story of the director. And there is, again, levels of knowledge about this more personal story. The two stories, the facility and the person, are intertwined—at least at this point. It is the same story but covers two different aspects. Make sense?
Do you remember much from the message two weeks ago—the one covering Genesis 1? Try hard to remember. I’m going to read Genesis 2 today.
Is there anything that stands out to you about these two chapters? I have understood these two chapters differently throughout my life. At one point, I considered Genesis 1 and 2 to contain two different, sparring accounts of God’s creative endeavors. I am now of the mind that these two seemingly different stories are actually the same story, but with different two aspects. Much like the QRC example.
In Genesis 1, we see God’s work to establish a world. He ordered it, filled it, purposed it, provided for it, and so forth (remember?). In Genesis 2, we see an indepth account of the first couple of that world, Adam and Eve. Over the next few weeks, I want to spend some time seeing the beauty of humans God created. Today I want to spend time touching on just how special we are as well as the task we were given.
Let me ask you this question. What would happen to the camp (just the land itself) if the first people there were simply there to live? The easy answer is not much. The camp, if it was to be more than just land, would need to have workers who were in charge of improving it and maintaining it. It would need a director.
God created a beautiful garden and wanted a director for His Garden, Eden: Adam and Eve. But could any animal just do it? No. There would need to be something special about such a creature in order to be God’s caretaker over the Garden.
It would be tempting to say that “the breath of life” made us special. But look at Genesis 7:22. All animals have the breath of life in them. It is important to point out, though, that we see the breath of life being given by God, Himself, in Genesis 2. We are not told how the other animals acquired life’s breath, but we are sure of how we received it.
This giving of life is a very close, personal picture. It makes me think of someone giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to save life, but here, it is the spark!…the first inhalation of air…the beginning of life. And it meshes so well with the truly distinct characteristic of humanity.
We have been created in the “image of God.” We don’t know, exactly, what is meant by us having the image of God. It just isn’t spelled out. But we do know that we have it and we do know that there is something unique about us as compared to the rest of creation.
Historically, it has been understood to mean different things: reason, spiritual, knowledge, righteousness, relationship, language, and even physical image. I had heard of all the others before except the physical image. The argument isn’t that God is physical, but that humans are a physical likeness of Him. There is one other place in the Pentateuch that uses the same phrasing: it is when Moses receives instruction to build an earthly Tabernacle in the image of the heavenly one (Exodus 25:40).
The main point of God creating humans in His image (which is found in 1:27-8) is fleshed out in Genesis 2: we are unique—like royalty—and our charge is to care for the world which God has made. That royal image is like God’s royal image: dominion. But just like our Heavenly King, that rule has a responsibility attached to it.
This royalty also has a sense of sonship/daughtership attached to it. Genesis 2 tells of God’s family, two earthly people who shared His Image like no other creature in existence. Honor. Splender. Psalm 8
Who would have said being royalty meant being a gardener? Probably the guy who was a carpenter claiming to be God’s Son. Adam and Eve were fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. That image—that core, that essence of both royalty and responsibility—has been passed down to us from our First Parents.
The first two chapters of Genesis give us some of our glorious history. But God gave this history for a reason—Genesis 1 and 2 point to Genesis 3: The Fall. God wants us to know that, concerning His part, we were made personally and especially. Yet, even the stain and damage of Sin has not removed the sacredness of our standing. Nor has our responsibility to God and His Creation been removed.
The establishment of QRC was joyful. The calling of the first director a special honor. And regardless of the good and bad days that have transpired since that time, we—as well as the official director—are responsible for the camp and its maintenance. The camp was a gift from God and we are responsible for it.
The same is true for our world (oops, I mean God’s world)—we royal gardeners, the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve—will be held accountable for our work. May we strive to be as we were created to be. Amen.