Blank stillness. Absolute void. Nothing except for Him. Except for Love.

Then, in an instant, time began. Before this, there was no when, no where, and no space to measure. There were no physics or anything to interact with anything else. And then, suddenly, there was.

God created.

God’s voice was the great catalyst.

Countless stars were born. Some leapt to life while others waxed and waned. Some exploded like cosmic fireworks, with brilliant displays of light and power. They were scattered across millions of galaxies. Billions of planets were lassoed into orbits around their suns. Pulsars warped and moaned. Black holes swallowed and shifted light like giant galactic whales, straining stars in their mouths.

God created. It’s what He does. It’s who He is.

Then, for reasons maybe even the angels didn’t understand, His attention turned to the tiny blue speck we call Earth.

Water lulled and moved, sparkling and splashing around erupting volcanoes. Great shards of earth were pushed up and shaped. Like a potter sitting at a wheel, muddy and smiling and focused, God formed mountains and pressed out valleys. He stamped canyons and spread out sand in vast swaths.

He breathed to life the brilliant colors of the toucan and the iridescent skin of the Man o’ War. He shaped the elephant with its hilarious trunk and the giraffe with its outlandish neck and the pufferfish with its beautiful, bloated spines. The First Impressionist painted the leopard’s spots and the zebra’s stripes. He made the gecko’s gluey feet and the hummingbird’s bionic wings and the bombardier beetle’s deadly potion.

Back and forth He moved across the Earth, creating, shaping, forming, carving, painting, His divine painter’s coat covered in the splash of colors and alive with life.

And then He stopped. He stooped down to the rich, dark dirt He had made. His hand scooped a small amount of water from the deep. He tenderly mixed it with the dirt to make mud. For an instant, time flashed forward to another moment when God would stoop to mix dirt with water to bring sight to blind eyes (John 7:1–7). He brings life to the lifeless. It’s what He does. It’s who He is.

Flash back. God molds the dirt into a shape, a form. The creatures of Earth gather and gape and watch as God works. And then, God leans in further …

And breathes.

The muddy dirt comes to life. But this life is different from the stars and the clouds and the mountains and the toucans and the hummingbirds and the raccoons. There’s something … familiar about this creation. Something more like God than anything else He has made.

“What is it?” the rest of creation asks.

“I have made this creation in My own image,” God says. “With the ability to think, to feel, and to choose.”

There it is. Choice. With choice comes the potential for sin, and with sin comes shame, and with shame comes death.

All of creation is silent, as if they know that this moment will change everything.

“Will they choose life or death?” creation asks.

“They will choose life,” God says, “For a while. Then they will choose other things.”

“And what will happen then?”

God sighs. He pictures another garden—one with twisted olive trees. And another figure, not unlike the one on the ground in front of Him. Since God is not bound by time or space, He knows what lies ahead. “I have a plan for that too.”

That plan, of course, would be found in Jesus.

Today, as you face myriad decisions, what will you choose? Maybe yesterday you made some bad choices in the way you live or how you treat others. Every day we can start over. Today is a brand-new day.

Here’s a meditation for today:

God, give me the strength to choose life today. I reject the Enemy and his plans for me and my family. Instead, I choose to live as I was created to live: free and fully alive. God, today I choose You.

This article is an excerpt from SO LOVED, a new faith-focused book by John Bolin. If you’d like to read more, you can click HERE to get the book. Have a great day!