Exodus 10:4-5. 4 For if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, 5 and they shall cover the face of the land, so that no one can see the land. And they shall eat what is left to you after the hail, and they shall eat every tree of yours that grows in the field,
We all know that Genesis is the story of beginnings (that’s what the word Genesis means). But what we may not realize is that Exodus is the story of new beginnings. Of new creation. In many ways Exodus runs parallel to Genesis. God is “re-booting” humanity in Exodus. Not with a new Adam and Eve, but with Israel as the “firstborn son of God.” The son that God is rescuing and re-creating into the humanity that Adam and Eve were supposed to be but….
Genesis starts with the creation being “without form and void.” Chaotic. Lacking purpose. Shapeless and empty. Like a desert wilderness. But then God spoke and made a new creation in a garden paradise. And he made image bearers to bring creation under their dominion and authority. Why? So that God could have a place to live with man. The garden temple. A place where God and man could love and enjoy each other, basking in the glory of the Trinity, and serving (abad) one another in freedom.
But by the time we get to Exodus, all of this has gone terribly awry. People are not worshiping Yahweh. They have enslaved each other. They are full of pride and selfishness. They are not ruling creation to the glory of God. They are worshiping creation to the glory of man.
And so the plagues.
The plagues are not random. They’re not just God showing off how powerful he is in a temper tantrum so that he can get his way. The plagues are the de-creation of the earth. They are the undoing of Genesis 1-2. They are anti-creation.
In the plagues, rather than man having dominion and rule over creation, he has lost all control. Rather than plants growing and bearing seed for mankind to enjoy, all the plants are being eaten alive by hordes of locust. The very source of all life in Egypt, the Nile, turned into death. Man isn’t ruling the creatures. The creatures invaded. Cattle died. Disease spread. Hail wiped out the plants and the locust finished them off. Next, the one constant in life, the sun, darkens.
It’s like someone hit rewind on the seven days of creation.
And then comes death to the firstborn. Proving to us all that we simply cannot control creation. We can’t manipulate it with our worship. Our sacrifices. Our appeasements. Only Yahweh could bring order to the chaos (Genesis). And only Yahweh can bring back the chaos (Exodus).
God had to de-create before he could re-create. He had to break his creation in order to fix it. There would have to be death before there could be life. This is what man’s sin and God’s justice demanded.
When Jesus left Heaven and took on flesh, he became the creation. But in order to save the rest of creation he too would have to be de-created. Jesus, representing all of creation, would have to be broken on the cross in order to fix all of creation through the resurrection. Just like the 10 Plagues, the cross was the reversal of Genesis 1-2. The meeting place of God and man, Christ himself, was without form and void. He was unrecognizable. He was broken and spilled out. He became chaos. The Life became death. Jesus was de-created so that he could be re-created as the new creation.
Happy as Lazzaro: a resurrection story
The Exodus is a story of de-creation that gloriously results in a re-creation. The re-creation of mankind through the waters of the Red Sea. The newly created humanity that will covenant with God at Mount Sinai.
And in Christ this is our story. The ultimate Exodus story. Because we are in Christ, we too have been de-created. We have died with Christ. We are crucified with him on that cross. The plague of death has done its work in us. Now in Christ, we have been re-created in his likeness by his Spirit through our resurrection with him. We are alive to God. Christ lives in us. We have passed through the waters of the Spirit into God’s own life. We have become his new creation by our covenant with God through our union with Jesus.
Praise God the Exodus story of Pharaoh and Moses and the Hebrews is not the final word. The Hebrews will blow it. They will be de-created and offered re-creation over and over again. They will sin over and over again. They will return to their slavery over and over again. Slavery to the knowledge of good and evil that seeks to hold each of us captive.
It will take a greater Moses, a greater Israel to break the bonds of sin and death. It will take Christ as the true firstborn son, his death and his resurrection to re-create humanity and establish us alongside himself as the first fruits of the New Creation.
And, praise God, this is where you and I are this very day. “To live is Christ” has de-created us and re-created us as the New Creation. We have died with Christ and yet we live. And each day we live, we experience Christ’s de-creating cross and his re-creating resurrection over and over until that day we see him face to face on the mountain top and reign alongside him forever as God’s new creation, his new humanity, his new bride. All glory be to Christ!