As the plastic pieces scatter on the floor, my boys glance over to the box. The gleaming picture of a race car peaks their curiosity. The scattered mess of parts does not deter them. I open the instructions and place it before them. They eagerly search the rubble for individual pieces, carefully comparing and measuring to ensure that they have selected the right blocks.
Flipping, rotating and pressing, the boys meticulously try to replicate the colorful pictures. I pepper them with hints: “What pieces is it supposed to touch?” “Is that what the picture shows?” “Are you doing it right?” Their eyes flash and they communicate to each other how to fix their problems. Brainstorming, each boy tries to display their own insights into proper construction. They are showing off for me, their father. They occasionally glance up for approval.
I smile as their project slowly takes shape. I have built a million sets before, but this one is special: I did NOT build it. My sons have built a set on their own. I barely lifted a finger. When the project is complete, my boys push around a new shiny race car. From nothing, my boys have merged a hundred pieces together. They did it on their own. They created.
There is great joy in a father who doesn’t have to assemble his own children’s Legos. At first, I sit back and watch my boys become self-sufficient, offering fleeting advice. With a little practice and creativity, I soon will not even have to watch them. I will be presented directly with the final products. And even after that, my boys will still grow. They will disregard all instructions and build new fantastical creations of their own imaginations. That is my end goal: my boys building their own beautiful works of art.
In essence, this is a metaphor for the entirety of parenting. Our ultimate goal is always to see our children develop into their own grown adults. God is no different. God created man to have a creative companion. In fact, God’s first action after creating man is to call the animals to man to “see what man would call them”:
Gen 2:19 Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.
We can only imagine God’s pride as his children first start creating. This parental pride is the illustration of the Biblical text. This pride is what the author of Genesis is trying to communicate to the reader. The reader is pulled along as the story progresses. We feel as God feels. We are experiencing, along with God, man’s entry into creation. But the story soon takes us on a roller coaster.
Man, in his infancy, is tricked by Satan. We see, along with God, man’s thirst for knowledge. We see, along with God, man’s deep shame. We see, along with God, man’s attempt to disavow blame. This is man’s first actions, and we experience, along with God, man’s first chastisement. In the end, we feel, along with God, disappointment. We feel sad for Adam and sad for God. God now views Adam as failed.
That is where the story leaves us:
Gen 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”
Gen 3:24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.