As a baby bumbles around my belly, I am left to wonder . . .
Why has God given us life? Why has he asked us to be fruitful and multiply? What is the point of our life on earth?
His original intent, now shrouded by a veil of sin, lies in the early chapters of our human history. Created in his image, created to be blessed. Created to bring more life into the world, to fill the world, to subdue and have dominion over it. Created to till and tend the earth, to continue the cultivation of God’s own garden. Created to recognize breath and food and water as his gifts, to receive the earth’s nourishment with thanksgiving. Created to explore and name the world around us. Created as male and female, to be together, to help each other. Created to converse with the Creator, to choose to trust and obey. Created without shame.
God created a good and beautiful world, breathing into us good and beautiful life. And then he endowed us with the ability to create, to share in his image and work. We tend and tame the natural life placed around us. We create more human life. God must love life, the abundant diversity of living and growing things. He passes this love to us, this capacity, this gift. In a sense, our purpose is simply to live, to breathe. And we are to do it together.
But, of course, things have become far more complicated. We may never know the sort of life our primal parents may have lived had the serpent’s temptation been disregarded. What would God’s ideal family and society have looked like in the peace of the eternal garden? We are left to pick up the pieces of a shattered world, a tattered image.
But we have not been left alone. The ultimate question – why life at all? – is and must now be answered in Christ. He came to show us the way. Just as we look at Adam to define our origins and original purpose, as well as the consequences of turning away from our Creator, we look at Christ as the Second Adam to define what our new life and renewed image looks like. In Christ we are not simply going back to Eden. He is not only a remedy; in Him life takes on a new dynamic. The incarnation really has changed everything. Our Edenic mandate is still valid, but it is also elevated. We are moving forward as members of a new creation, a new covenant, a new purpose, all in Christ.
So as I think of becoming a mother, of sharing somehow in God’s creative and nurturing work, I wonder how my life will change. I wonder how my purpose as a human in Christ will be fulfilled in this new role. I wonder what God’s intent for my child, my family, my home is. When life is “reduced” to caring for another tiny image bearer, what will matter most? When I look into the eyes of my new son or daughter, what will I see? How will I see God?