The Sixth Day
by Stephanie Price

Inspired by Genesis 1:24-31
And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it-I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day.


In the first five days of the creation story in Genesis, we are embraced by an awe-filled narrative marked by the beautiful unfolding of one million mysterious beginnings. It is a breath-taking, awe-filled story of Beginnings, many of which have yet to reach any conclusive end …in spite of innumerable extinctions and ruthless extractions. Somehow, for some reason, the world keeps spinning. 

The day of our beginning, the sixth day, is a birthday shared with all of the lands creepy, crawly, furry, feisty creatures. Brother Bear and Sister Snake are labors of the early hours…arriving before we were a thought in the Divine imagination. The earth ordered into shifts of light and darkness, fertile with flourishing habitat and busy with beloved creatures solicits the necessity for middle management; a presence that will care for and attend to all that God has imagined, all that Creation has birthed, into earthly existence. 

Human employment is initiated with Divine Blessing; a voluntary sharing of creative power. This enthusiastic giving over of what is Gods to others to use as they will involve the development of the created order. It is a trust that humans will bring the world along to its fullest possible creational potential.

In this story of the afternoon of the sixth day of Creation in Genesis, humans are uniquely designed using patterns outside the sphere of created. Drafted and drawn from a collaborative process of inner divine reflection, we learn that those who are not God are called to participate in this central act of creation. We learn, that the creation of humankind results from a dialogical act.

We need a ‘something’ to protect and preserve all the goodness that has been dreamt to Life. This is how I imagine that conversation beginning. Divine tears falling onto the earth just as a mother who weeps as she holds her child for the first time…precious life is worthy of protection. Yet even the act of birth is a painful separation and just as the mother feels the absence of her child from her womb, Divine labor transitions connectedness into a new form of interdependence. Reluctantly, perhaps, at first, then with a renewed sense of hope, it is understood that a village must raise the children. 

A heavenly brainstorm determines the village will take up a never before seen human form. This prototype developed to relate to the nonhuman as God relates to them. Special behavioral coding in which humans will, “have dominion” over all that has been created and called good ensures that the earth and all its beloved creatures will not exist in the absence of caregiving, nurturing, or protection from exploitation. 

even the act of birth is a painful separation and just as the mother feels the absence of her child from her womb, Divine labor transitions connectedness into a new form of interdependence. Reluctantly, perhaps, at first, then with a renewed sense of hope, it is understood that a village must raise the children. 

Human employment is initiated with Divine Blessing; a voluntary sharing of creative power. This enthusiastic giving over of what is Gods to others to use as they will involve the development of the created order. It is a trust that humans will bring the world along to its fullest possible creational potential. “Here,” today’s commentator writes, “paradise is not a state of perfection, not a static state of affairs…[Here], humans live in a highly dynamic situation. The future remains open to a number of possibilities in which creaturely activity will prove crucial for the development of the world.” God dreams, discusses, and designs humankind as God’s successors of innovative, imaginative manifestations and evolutions of life within a habitat designed to support and sustain all of Creation. 

On paper, this seems to be a straightforward job description. 

In practice, this has become a complicated job to fulfill. 

And, I am starting to wonder if there is not any better definition of sin that our corporate ability to complicate ourselves out of responsibility. I am starting to wonder if our expertise in explaining ourselves out of accountability and away from the action isn’t the most urgent area in need of serious spiritual attention. 

The infuriating part of our contemporary equation is that the answers are not hard to figure out. Accepting responsibility as a community to figure out what that means and how we can collectively become the answer to our own problem, this seems impossible to produce. 

Our addiction to complicating divine directive as a means of disguising self-serving motives seems an urgent area in need of spiritual attention because it uncovers a much deeper divide with God; our commitment to living divided lives. We complicate divine directive most effectively when we behave as though corporate problems are the responsibility of individual solutions. Most recently, I see us complicating as a form of escaping responsibility the climate crises, terrorism surrounding systems of racism, and the coronavirus. 

Jason Reynolds is the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature of the Library of Congress and author of a new companion to Ibram X. Kendi’s history of racism, Stamped From the Beginning, for young readers. In an interview aired on June 25th on OnBeing, Reynolds tell interviewer, Krista Tippet that the reason he works with young people, the reason why he loves young people, “is because they haven’t complicated life, yet. If you ask a young person, ‘What advice would you give a white person right now, in the midst of all the things that are happening?’ And a young person, especially a young Black person, would say, ‘Oh, ‘Stop being racist…Because for them, it’s very much so, why are we complicating this conversation? Let’s figure out whatever the shortest distance between A and B is a straight line, so let’s just do the straight-line way and say, ‘Here’s what you could do. Stop being racist right now. It’s on you to figure out what that means, but that’s the answer.’” 

The easiest example is the manufactured complexity surrounding our decision to send our children, teachers, and staff back to school in the middle of a pandemic… This is not complicated; putting a bunch of people together in a building for hours on end day after day during a pandemic is a stupid decision.

The infuriating part of our contemporary equation is that the answers are not hard to figure out. Accepting responsibility as a community to figure out what that means and how we can collectively become the answer to our own problem, this seems impossible to produce. 

The easiest example is the manufactured complexity surrounding our decision to send our children, teachers, and staff back to school in the middle of a pandemic in a country that has yet to come close to getting contagion under control. This is not complicated; putting a bunch of people together in a building for hours on end day after day during a pandemic is a stupid decision. It is not complicated or confusing to know that if a virus is transmitted by droplets that come out of our mouths, the more exposure we have to those droplets, the more people will become infected with the virus. 

The question in every circumstance must be, “How can we create a community that values the life of every child, of every human, as much as God values all of Creation?”

An article published in The Atlantic about the shelf life of our vigilance of safety behaviors that protect us against COVID-19 and the uptick we are seeing currently in California reinforces the reality that; “Regardless of the reason Californians lowered their defenses, the virus seized the opportunity. The coronavirus doesn’t care that you had a terrific March and April, nor is it interested in who you vote for, that you don’t like the look or feel of masks, or that you’re desperate to get your job back and see your friends. It is interested only in whether it can find a warm, moist home in the back of your throat or nose.” 

Given the straight line from A to B in this situation, making every parent decide what risk they are willing, or more accurately what risk they can afford to take, is a ludicrous complication.

Whether we wish this to be true or not, we are the solutions to the problems faced by one another because we are the creators and sustainers of the systems that either imprison or liberate one another.

When we are connected to our created purpose which clearly outlines what we were created for the answers are too complicated to identify and the solutions are not impossible to implement. Claiming and reconnecting to our created purpose changes the starting place for discussion and the strategy for discerning how it will be implemented. It is a starting place that engages every voice in a corporate story of beloved belonging and compassionate accountability. The question is not one in which an individual must choose between risking the emotional health, educational development, or physical safety of a child in a time of the pandemic. The question in every circumstance must be, “How can we create a community that values the life of every child, of every human, as much as God values all of Creation?”

More often than not, solutions are straightforward and obvious while remaining painful to face and impossible to swallow. Our creative covenant with the Divine Mother of all of Creation is dependent on a corporate willingness to adapt to the necessary solutions.

This is our job.

It is not complicated.

Whether we wish this to be true or not, we are the solutions to the problems faced by one another because we are the creators and sustainers of the systems that either imprison or liberate one another. Jason Reynolds reminds us, “There’s no time for you to say the truth with cowardice. You lean into the truth, courageously, and you say it. Now, if it is proven to be incorrect, then you change it. You accept that with humility, and you adjust your way of thinking.”

The answer is not complicated. More often than not, solutions are straightforward and obvious while remaining painful to face and impossible to swallow. Our creative covenant with the Divine Mother of all of Creation is dependent on a corporate willingness to adapt to the necessary solutions. It is simply our resistance and reasoning that makes things complicated; and, thus, too conveniently complicated to change. At the end of the day, all too often, we want to dictate the answers for the individual without participating in what is required to reach a resolution for the common good.

Our system is broken. And the pandemic may highlight the cracks, but it is not what has caused them. Sending kids into one form of danger to avoid another, is not an answer. 

It is time to have courage.
To speak up and step out.
To simplify the issue and stand in solidarity in the work of cultivating communities that give life to the answers.

In an article published by The Atlantic on the human brain not being wired to reopen this way, the author invokes a similar stance in our communal pandemic posturing. “It is too easy to focus on people making bad choices rather than on people having bad choices. People should practice humility regarding the former and voice outrage about the latter.”

It is time to have courage.

To speak up and step out.

To simplify the issue and stand in solidarity in the work of cultivating communities that give life to the answers.

Right now, in this very place, God is calling us to name the answer and work together.

To listen to the obvious before the complicated complicity sets in and backtrack from there …because so far all we are being given are false choices between one danger in place for another. Such options only exist when we believe the lie that we live in this world alone. That we were not created and that there is no Creator.

Our scripture passage feels our pain, reaches out, and whispers to us; “Do not despair.” 

American children can be safe, and they can receive an education. It is within the capacity of our divine DNA to identify, organize, and heal the brokenness of the systems and institutional structure of our time. It requires balancing the power of personal accountability and agency with wider wisdom drawing our corporate energy and collective hope not on the desperate actions of the individual, but on the possibilities and limitations of systems individuals create and sustain. It requires the act of re-membering the purpose for which we are alive.