Genesis 1: 26 – Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
Genesis 2:15-17 – The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.”
Just as the brightly colored petals attract the bees and insects, the viewer is drawn to this image for a closer look because of the brightly colored ornate petals. This Madhubani* flower bears a visual representation of all creation as recorded in Genesis 1-2. The concentric circles of the head of the flower depict the seven days of creation. The smallest circle is the center of the seven circles that follow. It represents ‘nothingness .’God the Creator makes all creation out of nothing (creatio ex nihilo). The first ring that expands from this center is divided into darkness and light or night and day. The blue clouds in the next circle represent the waters above from below. What follows is the gathering of the waters on the earth to reveal land.
All the vegetation of the land bursts out on day three of creation, as seen in the fourth concentric ring. God fills the skies with various kinds of birds, and the seas are filled with varieties of fish. The sixth ring contains varied types of animals. You see tortoises, ducks, elephants, and deer. Then the Creator makes humankind in His image and puts them in charge of all created things (Genesis 1:28). God blesses the male and female to be fruitful (Genesis 1:28) and to keep the land (Genesis 2:15). Just as the Lord created with careful attention, so too each of the elements of creation represented in the concentric rings are made with ornate patterns and double lines. The final concentric ring is blank – it denotes the seventh day of rest. This seventh ring encircles all of God’s creation. From this ring appears the flower’s petals, collectively called the corolla. Blossoms or blooms are a sign that a flowering plant is healthy. A flowering plant has what it needs in terms of sunlight, nutrients, moisture, and air to sustain its life and reproduce its kind. So also, God has created us and given us all the things we need to thrive and flourish.
The visually conspicuous petals of a flower serve two purposes. One, to draw attention to itself, and second, to attract pollinators to enable the plants to reproduce. When we rule and participate (Genesis 1:28) and ‘keep’ or protect (Genesis 2:15) all of creation which is given to us by doing righteousness and justice (Genesis 18:19), we will draw future generations and aliens to know that the hand of the Lord is mighty (Jos 4:28).
* Madhubani art or Mithila painting is a style of painting practiced in the Mithila region of India and Nepal. Some of its characteristics are the double lines, floral motifs, and use of flat, bright colors.