The creation story in Genesis is not the only creation story, nor is it the earliest. Moreover, stories like the Enuma Elish also have some parallels to the Genesis creation story. What’s signficant is the portrait of God in Genesis. It differs greatly from the stories where the gods fight amongst each other and creation happens by chance. The God of Genesis is like a master craftsman, who completes each stage of the process with a sense of immense satisfaction, and says, “It is good.”
In reading, It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God, edited by Ned Bustard, there is a quote that says: “Creation is useful because it is good. It is not good just because it’s useful.” Bustard also goes on to point out that there is an aesthetic quality to the Hebrew word used for good. While useful and morally perfect come into play, it also means beautiful. The fall certainly changed the morally perfect aspect of good, but the master craftsman’s work does not cease to be beautiful, nor does the work cease to have value. People, all people, are beautiful because they are God’s creation.
Though fallen, we don’t cease to be created in the image of God. The word used for image is the same word used to describe the idols that rulers would have created to represent themselves. They wanted to create a reflection of themselves for the people to see. It’s like someone taking the perfect photo of me. The image within the photo isn’t me, but shows an aspect of who I am.
It is because we are all created in the image of God that all people, even those disconnected from God, are capable of creating, and of producing beautiful and thoughtful works. And it is because we are fallen, that all people, even those who know God, are capable of destruction.
Bustard, New. It Was Good: Making Art to the Glory of God. Baltimore: Square Halo Book, 2006.