You are wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent.
You set the beams of your chambers on the waters.
You make the clouds your chariot and ride on the wings of the wind,
You make the winds your messengers, fire and flame your ministers.
You set the earth on its foundations, so that it shall never be shaken.
How lovely is this!
Psalm 104 celebrates both creation and the Creator. As the Genesis stories affirm, creation is “good,” the gift of a good and merciful Creator. Both Psalm 104 and Genesis 1 picture the Creator as existing outside the cosmos, bringing all things good into being. Like a poet or an artist or a sculptor – not as a part of creation but as its originator.
And yet, at the same time, both Psalm 104 and Genesis 2 picture the Creator as intimate with all that is created. In the second Genesis story, God molds the human from the humus of the earth, breathes the breath of life into its nostrils then walks with the man and the woman in the cool of the evening. In this Psalm, God rides on the wind, cavorts with Leviathan and feeds all the creatures from a benevolent hand.
When you hide your face, they are dismayed;
when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.
When you send forth your spirit, they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.
The cosmos is set into motion so that the days and the seasons endure; the plants and the creatures endlessly procreate. Creation continues re-creation of its own accord.
And yet, at the same time, all things are held together by the spirit, breath and hand of the Creator.
The poet of the Psalms sees the world as any typical ancient would have understood it. The cosmos exists in three tiers – the dome of sky above, the chaos of the sea with the underworld beneath, but the table of the earth is set firmly on its foundation of pillars keeping it safe and firm.
The stories of Genesis also frame creation from within this ancient cosmology. None of this is written to be science. It is all mystery and gift.
As you read Living in The Story for Week 2, remember to read all these texts as poetry. The Genesis stories, the Psalms, the Proverbs, the Prologue of John, the soaring singing theology of Colossians – all these biblical works speak a truth which is deeper and broader and larger than any facts. The poetry of creation continues to shape even us within the rhyme and rhythm of the The Poet of The Story.
The poetry of the earth is never dead.