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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Once Upon a Garden: Day 3

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. 
Genesis 2:19, 20

“Well, what did He say? What did He say your name was? Tell me, tell me, tell me!”

“He said my name would be ‘elephant’.”

“Ohhhhhhh! I love it. It is the perfect name for you. You know what? I am going to call you ‘Elle’ for short.”

Note: The above dialogue, found absolutely nowhere in Scripture, is brought to you by someone who has probably seen Bambi and Dumbo way too many times…

The naming of the animals is Adam’s initiation ceremony into image bearing. Such an act required intelligence and creativity. It was also an ability that showed Adam’s autonomy and free will. (“whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.”) And this one situation demonstrated how God would interact with His creation. Although He has made everything that exists, in His graciousness He has allowed mankind to enjoy it, shape it and care for it.

Mankind can create nothing—all we can do is manipulate the materials that are already in existence. As that eminent scientist Julie Andrews said in The Sound of Music, “Nothing comes from nothing, nothing ever could.” It is also true of our gifts and talents. What we have or don’t have are equally from God; how we choose to use them is our prerogative. Even the mental and spiritual abilities that allow us to accept or reject Him are due to our uniqueness as bearers of that image.

And something else. When He [God] brought them to the man to see what he would name them, I can imagine Adam looking over each creature with great tenderness and reverence for the distinctive beauty or special attributes given them by their Creator.

Our parents may have named us, but God has called us to a time and place intended for no other. Right now, in this moment and in our situation, we may not feel very special; we may have lots of questions and few answers. However, one day in eternity, we will understand how perfectly suited we were created to be to live for His glory in the “environment” in which He placed us.

Nancy Shirah

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