My four year old daughter Emily has an incredible imagination. She spends hours creating imaginary worlds, using little animal figures such as Playmobil and Sylvanian Families. She is also rather fond of a lovely set of Lion King characters that I found on ebay.
“Mum” she begs, “make Simba talk!”
So, somewhat reluctantly, I have to put on this really deep American voice and try to bring this inanimate, plastic Lion to life.
“Oh no!” I say, “There’s a big problem in the Pride-lands!” I pause…not really too sure where this is going.
Emily looks at me with wide eyes. She’s hanging on my every word and is desperate to find out what the problem is.
Shakily, I continue. “You see…the waterhole has dried up. And if we don’t get water soon… we’re going to die!”
Crikey. Should I be that morbid with a four year old?
Emily doesn’t seem to mind at all. She’s in the zone completely! So we spend the next half hour racking our brains to try and come up with a solution. And eventually we decide that the elephants are our best option. They can suck some water up (from somewhere or other – minor detail) with their trunks and fill the water hole back up. And all the while, of course, the evil Scar is trying to stop us at every turn.
For a moment, those plastic characters seem almost real. But pretty soon, they go back in the toy box.
No matter how convincing my Simba voice is, or how entertaining my story, those characters will never, ever be real. They’re just plastic. Even Emily knows that.
And then, in Genesis, i read this:
“Then the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being” – Gen 2:7
Hang on a minute! Did you get that? I mean, forget about trying to animate plastic lions… God moulded a man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and that pile of dust became a REAL PERSON! A living, breathing, blinking, yawning, walking, talking human being! It’s jaw-dropping! We can become so familiar with the creation scriptures, that we forget to marvel at them! No wonder the Psalmists say time and again “There is no one like the Lord our God!”
And then the really mind-blowing thing! Right at the outset of things, way back in Genesis, God was already revealing His plan of salvation. This was a foreshadowing of what was to come. The same thing happens when we are born again. God takes a person who is dead in their trespasses and sins – and breathes His very life into their spirit, so that they become a LIVING BEING!
Dead. Stone cold on a slab. No heartbeat. Like a pile of dust. We were all dust-men! But then suddenly the breath of the Holy One began to rush into the hollow caverns of that dead old soul and BOOM! Suddenly we have a pulse! We’re alive!
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love, with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made is ALIVE together with Christ! – Ephesians 2: 4-5