3. God exercises unilateral control over his creation, with the exception of his intelligent creatures.

It is He who made the earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom; and by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens. When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, and brings out the wind from His storehouses. {Jeremiah 10:12-13}

I love the story of creation. Every time I read it, I close my eyes and try to imagine what it must have been like to watch the world take shape over the course of six days, slowly unfurled as God spoke each word. From the very beginning, whatever God said, it happened. “Let there be—” whatever came after the word “be” instantly appeared. For six days, God threw the weight of His words around, and molecules and matter instantly appeared and snapped to attention.

But during the second half of the sixth day, God decided to make something else, something different. And not only did He decide to make something different, but He used a completely different method of making it. He made a man, a human being, and instead of thundering the command that would have instantly produced a living, breathing person, God knelt down in the dirt and shaped the man with His own hands. Then He bent down and breathed into the man’s mouth, filling the man with life in such a personal and intimate way. This was the crowning act of God’s creation.

It wasn’t an accident that God chose to create the world and everything that is in it differently than He chose to create human beings. For we are different from everything else that is in the world. The connection God has as Creator with everything else in this world is unilateral. That is to say, it’s a one-way street. The land, the sea, the sky, the plants, the animals, the celestial bodies—all of it jumps to attention at God’s command. He speaks, and the unilateral parts of His creation listen and obey.

In contrast, human beings were not commanded into existence by the word of God because the connection He has as Creator with us is bilateral. That is to say, it’s a two-way street. It’s a relationship, designed to be entered into and sustained in a mutual fashion. And unlike the unilateral parts of God’s creation, when He speaks, we don’t have to listen and obey. In this way, we stand apart from all other things God created in this world.

If you want to dig deeper—
Genesis 1:4
Genesis 8:22
Job 28:25-27
Psalm 78:10
Psalm 104:5-9
Jeremiah 10:12-13
Jeremiah 22:21
Jeremiah 35:14
Matthew 8:26-27
Matthew 12:30
Luke 14:28-33
John 12:47-48
Romans 8:19-23
Romans 9:20