My husband scored an NIV audio bible for free the other day. When he brought it home, I decided to try, over the next few months, to listen through the Bible—utilizing times when my work around the house doesn’t require too much of my brain. I know I will be distracted and interrupted, but the idea is to improve my grasp on the big picture of Scripture, and to refresh my memory on sections I tend to neglect. Periodic lapses of attention shouldn’t have too adverse of an effect on my goal.
I’ve only just begun and already I’ve been met with an interesting little meditation. In Genesis chapter one, I noticed again the repeated phrase “God saw that it was good“.
Genesis 1:3-4 (NASB) 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
4 God saw that the light was good…
Genesis 1:10 (NASB) 10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:12 (NASB) 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:16, 18 (NASB)
16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also…18to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:21 (NASB)
21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:25 (NASB)
25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:31 (NASB)
31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good...
To be honest, this phrase always sort of bothered me. It reads as if creation is an experiment and God is discovering the measure of his success as he goes along. This doesn’t mesh with the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise God declared in the rest of scripture, so I figured it was some kind of translational awkwardness. Maybe God “saw“, means God “affirmed“.
From a brief word study, it seems that is a possibility. The word translated saw (raah) is very occasionally translated approved.
But it’s literal meaning is definitely to see.
With that in mind, I heard something different in that phrase as I began my listen through the audio Bible. I think what is being communicated here is the difference between knowing something will be good and actually experiencing the goodness. I can make something from a recipe that always works, knowing it will be delicious. But it isn’t until it is finished and I put it in my mouth and taste it that I experience it’s goodness.
God knew what he was doing, and he knew full well it would turn out good. I think what we see is God experiencing the goodness of what he has made. At each step he is enjoying his handiwork, and when it is complete, he has the satisfaction of beholding and appreciating his finished product in all its beauty and perfection. Thus the change to very good.
What do you think? And does this have any bearing on how we should view God’s interaction with and experience of us?