7.05.2005

Let there be light!

The electrician cometh! After months of extension cords, our working outlet count is finally up from 2 to 7. Let us rejoice and be glad!

Moving from the ridiculous to the sublime, I've been musing about Biblical poetry in general, and Genesis 1 in particular. The other day I read the creation account in the New Living Translation, and was horrified to discover that the refrain "and there was evening, and there was morning, the first day" was replaced with "this all happened the first day." Certainly that's an accurate distillation of the bottom line, clearly and directly expressing the total factual content implied in the phrase. At cost, of course, of the rhythm and poetry.

Until I deeply explored the first few chapters of Genesis, the factual status of the account was deeply important to me. My faith cannot rest on a Book that is demonstrably false at the outset. If the first chapters fall, the rest of Scripture falls with it. "Liberals" may interperet it as mere poetry, but surely that's just an euphamism for nonsense... I saw theistic evolution as something along the same lines as a metaphorical interperetation of the resurrection.

But... then I actually experienced the poetry. Regardless of factual status, to call the Genesis account primarily poetic is most certainly not a euphamism. The deeper I delved into its richness, the less I was concerned with its literal accuracy. Genesis may or may not shed significant light on natural history, but in any case, that makes up a small portion of the meaning packed into those lines. The question of how God actually went about creating life began to seem a relatively trivial distraction from the more significant insights into the relationships between God, man, time, and nature.

It's so easy for people like me to busily distract ourselves with analyzing factual questions as a sort of protection against the life-shaping power of poetry. Ironic that this would be my tendency as a musician... perhaps it is because I'm particularly vulnerable... Discussions of what happened on what day, how long the days were, and how to account for the geologic record are relatively safe. Stimulating and pious, they don't require much change. At the end of the day, the Christian life remains the same no matter how God chose to create the universe. The poetry, on the other hand, is anything but safe. It penetrates deep into the human soul, demands that we conform to its rhythms and cadences... 'tis most uncomfortable to our fallen selves.

And we, too, who are His spiritual creation, remain formless and void until we hear His Word speak to our hearts "Let there be light!"

And there was evening, and there was morning, the first day.

No comments: