Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Long, long ago

As I explain in my short bio, I am a writer of prose and poetry.  I think in allegory - which opens up vast new horizons for me in the Word.  One small phrase can set me off.  Psalm 34 is my favorite Psalm.  I have read it gazillions of times, derived more comfort from it than should even be possible, and , tho Ps 119 is a close second, Ps 34 remains my avowed favorite.

Today my daily read included Ps 32- 35, and I was delighted to  know I would have a feast in the LORD today.

And then I got to Ps 33.

One phrase :verse 6 - and I am undone.

I read a different version each year, and this year I am in the Modern Language Bible, an early favorite, right up there next to the revised NKJV, in my opinion.  I am a Shakespeare fan, so the olde englishe wordes of the NKJV don't bother me - and nothing can match its majesty which, just in case you don't know, was a stated objective in their translation of the Holy Writ.  They wanted the reader to fall face down before the majesty and awesomeness of His Being.

Now the MLB, as far as I know, doesn't state those objectives; still, they have several examples of a "nice turn of phrase" as writers call it.

And I found one in Ps 33 today.  It stopped me in my tracks and blew my tiny human mind into infinitesimal fragments.

But there;'s a back story to this: Permit me to share:

Carl Sagan, the atheistic creator of the tv series Cosmos, was a firm believer that the big bang theory was the end all and be all of creation.  It satisfied every question and whim of wonder in the human mind on one grand incredibly amazing poetic harmony-of-life scale

Except one.

Where did everything contained in the big bang come from?

Even Carl, with his dyed-in-the-wool adamant stance against Creation Design, couldn't deny that ....well,....there does seem to be an amazing symmetry (no word such as design by an intelligent Being would cross his lips) and incredible amounts of matter springing from....nothing.  Even the explosion of the bang really should have a ...er...um...cause somewhere in there.

Carl Sagan is gone now, and I don't think he is resting in much peace.  To his credit, he was actually in touch with some of the PhDs from the Creation Institute, and a dialogue of sorts was going on.   I pray in his last moments he did bow before the One Who held his breath in His hands.

But I digress.

All that is simply to say, the answer to Carl Sagan is Psalm 33 verse 6:  "By the word of the LORD the heavens were made; by the breath of His mouth all their host."

I have read that verse at least 40 times in my yearly circuit, and never has it dropped me face down in adoration - until today.

Perhaps it was growing up in a Disney frame of mind, "The Wonderful World of Color" kept me enthralled every Sunday night at 4pm.  I didn't know my Creator then, but Mr. Disney was certainly plowing that ground, making a fertile plot for His seed to fall.

I read this verse today, and I SAW, I really SAW, Jesus standing in the inky blackness of empty space - which He also created - as a backdrop for His bing!bang!boom! of "Be Light" (which is what the original Hebrew says.  It is a command, not a namby pamby "let there be" anywhere in there.) "Bing!Bang!Boom!BE LIGHT!" (OK, so maybe I got a bit carried away there...)

The point is, Mr. Sagan could trace natural history down thru the ages, he believed.  But when he got there, he had nothing.


Nothing but God.

And, ala Disney, I can see a Masterful paint brush wipe across the universe - His Arm flung wide with delight and joy, tiny pebbles of planets flung into orbits, galaxies of pinwheels, circles, clouds of gasses, and - with a chuckle - black holes. His designs building on one another Day by Day. Something called "gravity" to hold it all together.  And as He flung them outwards, the elements kept expanding in that direction, moving ever  outward - until the day, already planned, when He will snap them back, rolling up like a scroll or an old fashioned window shade that flap-flap-flaps it's way back on the roller.

(I warned you I think in allegory!)

And Then...

And Then:..

Everything stood stock still, and held it's breath, peering over His shoulder as He knelt - KNELT - in the dust to hand-shape His crowning achievement.


The only item in allllllllllllllllllllll of God's creation that He made by hand.  And how creation gasped to see that *this* living being (nebesh in Hebrew) was made in the Image of his Maker.


And this being, so loved, so doted on, so delighted in, was set entirely free.

In the most perfect garden ever made.

In the best possible atmosphere.

With carefully designed parameters.

And yet, if he so chose, he could turn his back on his Father, spit in His eye, and sin.

He had everything anyone could want.  A pre-planted,  food-producing garden uncluttered by weeds or stinging bugs, watered every morning by a mist that arose from the ground itself, created to delight that yearning in the human soul for beauty - a yearning shared by no other creature and having no possible "evolutionary advantage" for mankind.  Simply to delight his heart.  And what's more, God paraded each individual animal in front of Adam to name.

Disney-esque, I have thought of that scene many many times.  Starting with the small fuzzies - perhaps Adam cuddled each one, tickling their chins, or dug his fingers into the soft, living fur of a Bengal Tiger,going until he'd progressed thru them all.

I wonder, did he toss a stick for the Tyrannosaurus Rex to chase after (pound!pound!pound! the earth shaking as he ran.  Snatching up the stick, pound!pound!pound! as he ran back, eager as a puppy)

Then came the armor-plated rhinoceros, horribly near sighted (no chasing sticks for him!) and the giraffe!  I bet God watched to see Adam's reaction to each one, and at the poor near-sighted rhino a human belly-laugh echoed out into space.  Angels stopped mid-step at the sound, then smiled benignly "It's just the human God made,"they said to one another,"today is Naming Day."

The giraffe got another belly laugh.  And the platypus!  Oh my!  You never heard such laughter!

And then, God tacked on the teeny-tiny blinking light to the firefly's rear end, and set them all loose - and a sigh of wonder burst out of Adam as the grassy fields became a sparkling wonderland. (Oh! what a scene Disney could have made with that one!)

And God delighted in all that He had made.

Then, He made one more creation.  Using the first anesthesia (I'm a nurse....couldn't resist) God took Adam's rib and made a helper perfect for him, in every way.  She had sparkling eyes and a musical laugh, and  a dainty, swinging pony tail.

Adam was smitten.

And, as usually happens when we humans are smitten with one another, his brain ceased to function.

I often wonder what the serpent originally looked like.  It's a question that has no answer.  It was the most beautiful and subtle animal of all creation.  Gossamer wings, perhaps?  Long, dainty legs?  The softest fur?  The most playful heart? What was his name before Adam  changed it to "serpent" ?

We'll never know until heaven.  What we do know is, this animal was enchanted by satan - perhaps he saw his own beauty reflected in the evil one's eyes - surely satan appeared, as the Bible says he can, as an angel of light.  Mesmerized, the serpent said, "yeah, sure you can use my body.  It IS just a trick, right?  Nothing bad in it?"

And the deed was done.

All the paintings and images of The Fall paint this slithery slimy hissing atrocity whispering in Eve's ear.

Would YOU cozy up to a slithery hissy thing?

I think not.

Whatever he looked like, he wasn't icky.  He was warm, and cozy, and looked perfectly trustworthy....and one more thing : he looked wise.

Now, here's where I get bent out of shape.

Eve is always projected as adding to Scripture.  But a careful reading reveals that God didn't tell her about the tree of life and the tree of good and evil.

He told Adam.

And I can easily see Adam adding "...or touch it" for emphasis, to impress upon this winsome lass, looking up at him adoringly, that the tree of good and evil was off limits.

I am always fascinated by the fact that the Tree of Life was easily accessible and *not* forbidden.  Yet it held no allure.

Because the evil one didn't make it look alluring.

Hebrew tradition says that when the serpent was enticing Eve, he waited until she said, "We must not eat of it, nor touch it, or we die."  At that moment, he bumped her into the tree and said, "See?  you won't die if you touch it ...or eat it, either."  And at that moment, he knew he had triumphed.

And now, we all are like God, knowing the difference between good and evil - although we often wish we didn't. And in spite of all of this, we are inexorably drawn to evil - like Job says, "As sparks fly upward."

The most subtle of all the animals.

Now the serpent knew that he had marred God's perfect created being and broken God's heart.  This was a being made in His own image!

And the serpent was stripped of his gauzy wings or shining soft fur or long legs or playfulness (have you ever noticed that all babies of animals play?  kittens, puppies, horses, even whales - but not snakes) and condemned to eat dust and slither from that moment on - he was ugly now, and he knew it.  So, whenever he can, he bites a human heel, cuz it's the human's fault all his beauty and gorgeousness were stripped away.

Certainly not his fault.

Well, ok, so he let satan take him over.  But he didn't know the evil one had planned anything like this.

Well, ok, he knew the evil one hated God, and yes, he knew he'd been thrown out of heaven, but he was sooooo beautiful and he told me I was beautiful and he said there wasn't anything wrong with what we were doing, that God just wanted to take away our fun...and yes, I believed him BUT....I didn't really know it was wrong.

And so began the lie that has been told to every generation, the same exact story, and we fall for it every time. In The Singer, Calvin Miller said that satan sings the same song to every generation, and each generation thinks it's a new song sung only for them.

Every generation falls for it.

Every time.

And I am continually amazed at my own stupidity,

For I am absolutely in love with my Creator.  He is so beautiful and so good and so merciful and so amazingly wondrously creative, and He made me that way too, just so I could recognize and delight in Him and the attributes He shares with me as His gifts. And I am awed by His Creation that surrounds me, even tho it is spoiled and has become dangerous and things slither and hiss and go bump in the night.

And I wonder.

I wonder how lovely the unspoiled Creation was.

And I wonder what this world might have been.

And I am overcome with gratitude that Jesus made us - and when He lost us, He bought us back - out of the slave market we had been sold into, that one golden day, long long ago, in Paradise.

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