Being a part of creation without destroying it
Parshat Bereshit, Genesis 1:1-6:8
In six days, God created the world and then rested. However, we have not rested. We God-inspired humans use technology, competition and at times hubris to continue and sometimes dis-continue creation.
On the first day of Creation, God created the Heavens and the Earth and created light and divided it from darkness. And it was good.
On the second day of Creation, God divided the waters from the sky.
And it was good. Until … the United Arab Emirates began planning to create a mountain to force air to rise and create clouds that can be seeded, a process which maximizes the amount of rainfall.
On the third day of Creation, God gathered the waters so that dry land appeared, and named the land “Earth” and named the waters “Seas.” God called to the earth to sprout vegetation — seed-bearing plants, fruit trees of every kind.
And it was good. Until … per The New York Times: China has been rapidly piling sand onto reefs in the South China Sea, creating seven new islets in the region. It is straining geopolitical tensions that were already taut.
On the fourth day of Creation God created a greater light to dominate the day and a lesser light to dominate the night. They are to serve as signs for the set times — the days and the years. And it was good. And now it is not so good.
Just think about our human responsibility for ultraviolet rays and the damage they do to human skin and the mutations they inflict in DNA, as well as being the cause of cataracts, immune diseases and metabolic conditions, let alone harming plants.
On the fifth day of Creation, God created the creatures of the sea and the birds in the sky. God commanded that these creatures multiply and fill the earth. And it was good. And now it is not as good. Per endangeredearth.com, there are 16,306 species of animals and plants listed as endangered species.
On the sixth day of Creation, God created every kind of living creature: cattle, creeping things and wild beasts. Then God made human beings in God’s image and said, “They shall rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, the whole earth, and all the creeping things that creep on earth.”
Humans were commanded, “Be fertile and increase, fill the earth and master it; and rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and all the living things that creep on earth.” And it was very good. Until … the beginning of grafting and cloning.
On the seventh day God finished the work that He had been doing, and He rested on the seventh day from all the work that He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done.
Perhaps we need to give it a rest too. We need to pause to consider whether we are being partners with God in creation or trying to be CEO. For at the end of each day, we too need to say: And it was good.
Rabbi Barbara AB Symons is the rabbi of Temple David in Monroeville. This column is a service of the Greater Pittsburgh Rabbinic Association.