A Theology of Simplicity, Part 2


Continuing our discussion of simplicity, it seems fruitful first to develop a theology of creation. This will give a better context to understand the nature of the simple Christian life.

I think evangelicals’ greatest misunderstanding of the Bible comes because they have never understood Genesis 1 and 2. When we open to Genesis 1 and 2, immediately we start thinking about: Is the earth created in a literal 24-hour period or was it created in 6 long periods of time? Are these questions important? Of course they are. But is this what the text screams when you read Genesis for the first time? For some of us it is because we have been trained to think in Greek terms and not like the Hebrews. They weren’t thinking: Wow, I wonder if evolutionary theory had a place in the development of early species.

The Hebrews read Genesis through the eyes of redeemed people, not through scientific eyes. They were not interested in the age of the universe; they were interested in how they were to live, now that they have been redeemed.

Let me offer you what they found when they read Genesis. This is just a synopsis. If you are interested in something more thorough I can give you something I wrote a few years ago on this topic.

1) The Hebrews read Genesis and noted that creation was an act of God. It was created ex nihilo-out of nothing. This means that the pagan gods had nothing to do with it. Remember the Ancient Near Eastern context they lived. They battled constantly with false gods.

2) They noticed that throughout the progression of Genesis 1 God unfolded His plan for creation. In Gen. 1 they were to find a model for how they were to live and what God required of them.

3) They saw that God took His time in preparing creation for His creatures. He could have simply breathed in one second and everything would have been in place. But he chose to separate day and night so they could serve as signs and seasons for the Israelites when they traveled through the desert.

4) Then they remembered that God was going to give them the stewardship of the garden.

5) When all was finished, the Hebrews noticed that God creates man and woman and says: HERE! I spent a lot of time preparing this and now it’s yours to care for and to have dominion over.

All is yours! Care for it, enjoy it, use your hands, be good stewards, remember Smoky the Bear. Just as I have made you in my likeness, I want you to make creation in your likeness. Redeem it; cherish it; and make it look like the garden I once created. Bring all things under the lordship of Christ.

This is a universal commandment! Have dominion! What belongs to me will be given to you and when the earth is prepared, I will give it to my Son.

Psalm 2

7I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.

Or as Matthew 5 teaches:

Blessed are the meek (or the simple)
For they shall inherit the earth.

How will they inherit the earth? By being a light unto the world; a city on the hill.

Being simple means understanding our creation and the purpose of our creation. Creation is not meant to be burnt up, but to be restored. And if I understand my Bible correctly, if you hate that which God declared “GOOD” you will have a hard time understanding the New Earth.

What is your purpose in this earth? It is to BEAUTIFY this earth and make it ready for our king Jesus. The more exhausted you are, the more legalistic you are, the less simple you will be.

Do you want to be simple?

a) Travel to the mountains to pray.

b) Drive an hour to take a 30 minute walk at the beach.

c) Simplify your life by learning to make something.

d) Start a journal…detail your frustrations and joys.

e) My strongest recommendation is that you read the early church fathers and the Puritans and their devotional literature.

e) Tell your children to love this creation and to hate only the evil philosophies of it.

f) Love the Sabbath Day and learn to make it holy. I wonder how holy your day is when you leave church in the morning; or for the matter my own life? How is your home holy on the Lord’s Day; what makes Sunday different than the other days.

g) You want to be simple, and then invite people to your home. Look around this congregation. If there is a family you have not invited for a meal in your home and you have known them for 3 years, then I suggest you repent and I will do the same. Perhaps we should schedule one family per month at our home. I think that is reasonable.

Perhaps you should learn to dance, play and smile like little children for as such is the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

[1] Exhaustion is here being defined as: the total consumption of something (see Dictionary.com) “Burnt out” can also be used in this instance.

[2] Page 5.

About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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