Dispatch Two Hundred Sixty

Posted: August 30, 2017 in Fifty-First Bundle
Tags: , , , ,


The heavens are telling the glory of God;
    and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
Day to day pours forth speech,
    and night to night declares knowledge.
There is no speech, nor are there words;
    their voice is not heard;
yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
    and their words to the end of the world.

In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun,
which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy,
    and like a strong man runs its course with joy.
Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
    and its circuit to the end of them;
    and nothing is hid from its heat.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey,
    and drippings of the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
12 But who can detect their errors?
    Clear me from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from the insolent;
    do not let them have dominion over me.
Then I shall be blameless,
    and innocent of great transgression.

14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be acceptable to you,
    Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

For the heavens to “tell” and the firmament to “proclaim” anything more than dumb material existence is an absurd notion to the modern mind. Receiving instruction, cooperatively or unconsciously, in the school of Western scientific materialism, our age has accepted a worldview that is essentially absent of spiritual or symbolic meaning. The universe – just is, that’s all. 

Modern religion may still hold a place for God as creator, sustainer, and final judge, but the heavens and the firmament for us are just so much limitless space and atmospheric gases. The day does not “pour forth speech” nor does the night “declare knowledge.” Space and time have become mere categories, containers for the amazing variety of still more meaningless stuff.

Now, that picture may sound bleak and grim, but the surprising thing to learn is that it isn’t peculiar to our own cultural period and worldview. “There is no speech, nor are there worlds; their voice is not heart” – such was the state of things in ancient Israel. It would seem that what we are complaining of here is a more universally human problem, and not just a modern one.

Perhaps it is more accurate to say that Western scientific materialism simply accepted the universe as consisting of dumb matter, never suspecting that the real problem was not in the world itself but in the spiritually deaf ear of the human observer. The psalmist asked God for an orientation course in spiritual attention and higher awareness – to open his ears.

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