Thursday, August 31, 2006

And It Was Good


Download an enhanced podcast of "And It Was Good", complete with audio and visual accompaniment (for viewing in iTunes or on an iPod)!


Learn with me this poem of prose of when the earth was young,
Of mysteries twice forgotten, of dreams yet to come.

Critique of its scientific realism brings little to the matter.
Truth is God sees... says... creates... and invites for us to join her...

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Now the earth was formless and empty,
darkness was over the surface of the deep,
and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

God said, "Let there be light."
And there was light.
God saw that the light was good.
God separated the light from the darkness.
God called the light "day."
God called the darkness "night."
    There was evening, and there was morning.
    It was day one.

God said, "Let there be a huge space between the waters.
"Let it separate water from water."
    And that's exactly what happened.
God made the huge space between the waters.
God separated the water that was under the space from the water that was above it.
God called the huge space "sky."
    There was evening, and there was morning.
    It was day two.

"Let dry ground appear." God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place.

    And that's exactly what happened.
God called the dry ground "land."
God called the waters that were gathered together "oceans."
    And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, "Let the land produce plants.
"Let them bear their own seeds. And let there be trees on the land that bear fruit with seeds in it.
"Let each kind of plant or tree have its own kind of seeds."
    And that's exactly what happened.
The land produced plants.
Each kind of plant had its own kind of seeds.
The land produced trees that bore fruit with seeds in it.
Each kind of tree had its own kind of seeds.
    God saw that it was good.
    And there was evening, and there was morning.
    It was day three.

God said, "Let there be lights in the huge space of the sky.
"Let them separate the day from the night.
"Let them serve as signs to mark off the seasons and the days and the years.
"Let them serve as lights in the huge space of the sky to give light on the earth."
    And that's exactly what happened.
God made two great lights.
God made the larger light to rule over the day. God made the smaller light to rule over the night.
God also made the stars.
God put the lights in the huge space of the sky to give light on the earth.
God put them there to rule over the day and the night.
God put them there to separate light from darkness.
    God saw that it was good.
    And there was evening, and there was morning.
    It was day four.

God said, "Let the waters be filled with living things.
"Let birds fly above the earth across the huge space of the sky."
So God created the great creatures of the ocean.
God created every living and moving thing that fills the waters.
God created all kinds of them. He created every kind of bird that flies.
    And God saw that it was good.
God blessed them. God said, "Have little ones and increase your numbers.
"Fill the water in the oceans. Let there be more and more birds on the earth."
    There was evening, and there was morning. It was day five.

God said, "Let the land produce all kinds of living creatures.
"Let there be livestock, and creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals.
"Let there be all kinds of them."
    And that's exactly what happened.
God made all kinds of wild animals.
God made all kinds of livestock.
God made all kinds of creatures that move along the ground.
    And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, "Let us make humanity in our likeness.
"Let them rule over the fish in the waters and the birds of the air.
"Let them rule over the livestock and over the whole earth.
"Let them rule over all of the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created humanity in his own image,
in the image of God, God created him;
male and female God created them.

God blessed them.
He said to them, "Have children and increase your numbers.
"Fill the earth and bring it under your control.
"Rule over the fish in the waters and the birds of the air.
"Rule over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I am giving you every plant on the face of the whole earth that bears its own seeds.
"I am giving you every tree that has fruit with seeds in it. All of them will be given to you for food. "I am giving every green plant to all of the land animals and the birds of the air for food.
"I am also giving the plants to all of the creatures that move on the ground.
"I am giving them to every living thing that breathes."
    And that's exactly what happened.
    There was evening, and there was morning. It was day six.

So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed.


By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing.
So on the seventh day he rested from all of his work.
God blessed the seventh day and made it holy.
He rested on it. After he had created everything,
he rested from all of the work he had done. [Genesis 1:1-2:3, NIV & NirV]

Like any poem, this one has rhythm and brilliant imagery;
So much for us to learn and hear, to taste and feel and see.

A poet likes to play with words: make light of dark and heavy;
Then speak of rest for One not tired to teach us to live justly.

There's so much meaning one could derive from how the story's told.
But disproving science is not the point of a story that's this old.

One thing we know: poets repeat ideas of great import',
Like counting days and countless good God found in her own art.

Of truth, I know not what to make of all I hear and see,
But there is of late a blessed thought that whispers joy to me.

Of all the things that God could boast and pen by poet's hand,
He said, "It's good," a fleeting phrase written as if in sand.

It was not "perfect," or "great," or "pure," or any grand such thing,
provisional praise for an evolving world that yet was still becoming.

So when my children at times insecure struggle with who they are
"Simply 'good' is good enough," comes God's affirmation from afar. [Epilogue added January 2009]

~The artwork featured with this rendition of the creation poem was created by Holly Sharp.


3 comments:

Michele L said...

One thing that I did not take from the Creation story as a child, was a sense of responsibility and love for/of creation. The message I received was more personal as if it was created just for me and "my" use.
The other thing I was taught was the 7th day rest and holiness was to get me in church and make sure I didn't "do" other things. I now get a sense of rest being about enjoying creation, taking time to ponder, sense and seek God, commune with others. Especially in this busy world it is very easy to get lost in the rush.
I would like to see beauty and love, the wonder, the peace and tranquility, and the responsibility become part of the creation story.

Melvin Bray said...

I'm with you, Michele!

Jake said...

Melvin,

I'm glad you have this blog up and running. Your creativity is inspiring! This kind of stuff would be great to bring to the ATL cohort in a more deliberate capacity. Let's talk. Peace,

Jake