I encountered a curious phenomenon when I was living in South Korea.
I was teaching English at the time and whenever I had my meals at the school together with the Korean staff, plopped on top of the dining room table would be a roll of toilet paper. I was like, “what the heck is this doing here?!”
Obviously, the roll of toilet paper was being used in place of “normal” napkins. I put the word normal in quotations because I realize that what I consider normal isn’t necessarily so in another country?
But why was I so repulsed?
Because we all know what toilet paper is used for and I don’t necessarily want that object on the dining room table where I’m trying to enjoy a fine meal. Cultural relativity arguments aside, I felt like the object was NOT in its proper place. It was most definitely OUT of its place.
We all have our ideas about where certain things should and should not be put. For example, in the kitchen, certain things like milk and butter should be stored in the refrigerator and certain things like peanut butter or a jar of cookies can be left out. We even have strong feelings about what types of activities should be allowed where. For instance, it’s okay to sleep in bed but not good to eat in bed (I break this rule all the time).
In the Bible as well, starting from the first chapter of Genesis, we can see that God places great value in making sure things are in their proper places. There is a logical symmetry behind His actions clearly reflected in His creation. He is a God who draws up boundaries that are NOT to be broken.
Let’s take a look at the creation story in Genesis Chapter One.
In the first three days, God creates generalities or domains. In the three days afterwards, He creates specifics or inhabitants of the domains. To put it simply, first He creates things and then He fills them up. Similar to how we first build a house and then fill it with furniture. Below is a quick snapshot of how He organized His creation:
DAY ONE: Light
DAY TWO: Sky (Separating waters above from waters below)
DAY THREE: Land and plants
In the three days to follow, God fills the domains as follows:
DAY FOUR: Sun, moon, and stars
DAY FIVE: Fish and birds
DAY SIX: Land animals and humans