The creation narrative concludes with the words “and the Lord saw all that He created and behold it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). This phrase is interspersed throughout the entire chapter. But what does this mean? Does God need to look at what He created in order to know what it is? Did He not know before He created the world that it would be good so that He had to make sure that He got what He originally planned? Furthermore, what does the word “good” mean to God? Does it mean that the world looked nice? That it was functional? Are these qualities true “good”?
It is clear that when the Torah says that God saw that the world was good it means that He saw that the world will eventually bring forth the righteousness that He was hoping for. In other words; God believed in the world. It is not easy to believe in a world where sin is a real possibility but that is what God does.
Nachmanides takes this concept one step further. The great teacher explains that just as God created the world with the utterances of His mouth, so does He continuously sustain the world with His “seeing that it is good.” It is God’s belief in the world that is continuously giving the world its existence.
We see this phenomenon in our daily lives. Believing in something is what makes that something flourish and grow. A parent needs to believe in a child in order to bring forth the child’s proper potential and a teacher’s belief in a student is what sustains the student’s growth. A company needs someone to believe in it in order to make money and a sports team cannot win a game, let alone a championship, without a strong belief in their ability to succeed.
As God’s witnesses in this world, it is not enough for Israel to testify to the truth that God created all, as significant as this testimony is. Israel needs to believe in the world, it needs to believe in humanity. It is not easy to believe these things but this belief is the hope of the world.
This message of hope was most eloquently expressed through Isaiah when He foretold that the world will one day beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift sword against nation and they shall learn war no more