In the history of Christian thought, pursuit of the knowledge of God has always held the position of highest honor. There are two ways by which objective knowledge of God can be acquired: the study of His revelatory works, i.e., the Bible (known as special revelation), and the study of His creation, under the assumption that what is made reflects truths about its Maker (this is known as general or natural revelation).
Since special revelation gives us much more detailed information about the mind and heart of God, it takes precedence over general revelation and acts as a corrective to our conclusions about God based only on observation of the natural world around us. Nevertheless, it is the revealed Word of God that impels us to want to know as much about the God who created, loves and redeems us for an eternity of love in relationship to Himself. This theological thirst for knowledge of God is what led Western Judeo-Christian civilization to begin detailed study of the natural order, leading to the development of what we know today as “the sciences,” and is why theology itself became known as “the queen of the sciences.”
With that preamble, I must confess that two days ago an observation of the natural order led me to a theological conclusion that I have never seen in the Bible before. It answers the question, “Why did God create humans on the sixth day as His final act?” as taught in Genesis 1:26-27.
The traditional answer has always been that God saved the best for last, so to speak, creating Man as male and female in His image and likeness both to honor human beings and to crown His creative efforts with His most glorious masterpiece.
I have nothing against this view — in fact, I quite agree with its high view of human dignity and our place in God’s purposes. However, my new insight adds some rich texture to the answer, not found in most theological commentaries. Since I owe much of the credit for this truth to my yellow labrador retriever, I have named this insight “Haley’s Hypothesis.” Here’s how it came about.
Two days ago, in the late afternoon, I prepared the backyard for its first mowing of the season — weeding, discarding dead branches, raking dead spots and clearing any obstacles so I could bring order out of the chaos engendered by winter. As I fired up the mower and started on one side of the yard, Haley laid down on the other side to watch me. At the end of the first row, I turned the mower around to come back, and looked at the fresh-cut swath I had just finished — it looked good! Each successive row added to the beauty. When I got about halfway through the yard, I compared the cut section to what was left and felt a rush of delight. But there was still work to do before the sun went down, so I turned my attention to the grass ahead of me and pushed on. This is where Haley enters the picture in a more active way. She wanders about twenty feet ahead of me, directly in my path, and squats nonchalantly, leaving a pile of skubala (for non-Greek students, that’s excrement) right where the mower is headed.
Frustrated, I turn off the mower, grab a shovel, and remove this blemish on my masterpiece-in-process. The thought crosses my mind that I should have left Haley inside until all the yard was finished and I could gaze on it with satisfaction, and murmur, “Behold, it is very good.”
That’s when it dawned on me. Perhaps the reason God waited until the end to create Man was because He knew of the human penchant to befoul our surroundings (which of course didn’t take long — see Genesis 3) and He wanted the undisturbed joy of unfolding His beautiful works without having to stop to clean up untimely messes produced by the apple of His eye.
So, perhaps the real reason humans were created on the last day after everything else was in place was so that God could hum with undisturbed joy in getting everything just right before letting Adam and Eve out onto the perfectly mowed backyard….
That’s Haley’s Hypothesis in a nutshell. But keep in mind, it might be a total load of skubala.