God's World: Very Good but Unfinished

By Mark D. Roberts

June 20, 2015

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth . . . And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.”

Genesis 1:1Genesis 2:25


Today I want to continue reflecting with you on major themes from the creation narrative in Genesis 1-2.

Six times in Genesis 1 God saw that what he had made was good. Then, after creating humankind, “God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” (1:31). This verse, along with theological reflection on the perfection of God, has suggested to many that God made the world perfect. How could a holy God create anything less than perfect?

Yet, Genesis is clear that God’s world was not perfect in the sense of being complete. It was not a finished product. Rather, God made the world with the potential for growth and development. Some of this would happen naturally. For example, trees would bear fruit with seeds that would be the source of more trees bearing fruit with seeds, and so on and so forth.

But, for the world to become all that God intended it to be, God created human beings, who, through their effort, would enable the world to become more and more of what God had envisioned. The very good creation would only realize its full potential in time, as natural process and human effort worked together under God’s sovereignty.

Genesis shows us that God did not create a perfect, complete world that human beings would sit back and admire as if it were some precious painting in a museum. Rather, God created the canvas and the frame, the paints and the brushes, sketching some basic outlines before handing the brushes to us and saying, “Now, join me as we finish this masterpiece together.”

Water Color Paints and Brushes


Does it seem wrong to you to think of God’s creation as unfinished? Why or why not?

In what ways are you painting on the canvas of this world?

How will you contribute to the development of the world today?


Gracious God, what an honor and privilege to be your collaborators in the work of fulfilling your vision for this world. Thank you for calling us to be painters in your masterpiece.

Help me, Lord, to paint well today, honoring you with each color, each brushstroke. To you be all the glory. Amen.

Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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