THE EARTH: Creation—The Devil Is In the Details

Creation—The Devil Is In the Details

There is a parallel saying to the title of this essay: God is in the details.

When God is in the details then he will be revealed through your attention to detail.  Your sacred devotion to your work will return great rewards.

But when the devil is in the details, your lack of attention to the work in front of you will result in mistakes, and you will be disappointed in your effort.

I’m not using that phrase in the usual way.

Instead I’m going on my own path with those words.

I’m old.  I get very fatigued when I hear people say things that refer to God, the Father, as one who is aware of every blink of our eyes.  Making God, the Father, out to be someone who sits on his throne able to watch everything at all times at the same time.

Another thing people like to say a lot is how no one has ever met God.

Well, I have met God.

I was summoned.  Not that long ago.  A few years now, perhaps.

It struck me at the time as startling because here I was more than sixty years into my active relationship with him and now I was summoned.  It forced me to review my life and actually see that in all those minutes of working with God I hadn’t actually met him.

My first vision was a near-death experience.  I was on my way to meet him, but was stopped on my path by a beautiful pink ballerina.

The problem with this vision was that I felt God.  Like being washed by a waterfall.  And I did want to go on.  But was gently persuaded to go back to life.

This left me with the impression that in feeling his radiance I had met him.

And growing up, I had that same impression day after day: my visions were a form of meeting God.

But here I was, being officially summoned.  And feeling completely kerflummoxed.

How will this be different for me?

What will be the outcome of such a “meeting”?

I had no solid ground to stand on.  No reference points.

But, after awhile, I surrendered.

And given the amount of visionary experience I had had, none of it prepared me for the meeting.

I guess the best description of it was vastness.

God, the Father, is a vast expanse with infinite flings of energy zipping all about.

And God is silent.

Achingly so.

Could even say, frighteningly so.

I was there to receive a message.  Apparently he wanted to give it to me personally, so to speak.

Or perhaps I had to prove my willingness to stand before him.

And be assessed in ways that I can never be capable of understanding.

In understanding God, however, beyond that experience I look to scripture.

I have started reading the Bible as, in part, being God’s confession.  His description of his failures on Earth.

The details that get lost in the sand in the lives of people he is actively working with.

I know of what I speak.

They are there, especially in the Old Testament.

At least they glare there.

Jesus comes and tries to put it all in perspective.  And gets obtuse about things from time-to-time.  But, still, he never stops trying to explain God to man.

I listened to part of a lecture the other day.  One of the presenters was a cancer researcher.  And she was so excited she was almost jumping up and down.

A cure has been found?

No.  She was thrilled to be able to talk about the “brilliance” of the cancer cell.  How it “knows” enough to first make itself sick in such a way that it has the ability to make the cells around it sick also.

How did some of our cells “learn” to do such a great thing? she asked.  Evolution did it.

Evolution: The process by which different kinds of living organism are believed to have developed from earlier forms during the history of the Earth.

Evolution is a process.  Which is a series of steps.

So this woman was making evolution a god-like creator.  Or recreator, in that evolution defines changes in already living things.

I once was a fish, but now I walk on land. 

How did this happen?  A series of steps happened.

What are we missing here?

Inception.  A starting point.  The platform from which the steps descend and go on their way.

I sit here these days with the vastly impersonal nature of God on one hand, and the raising up of nothing to be responsible for the incredibilities on Earth on the other.

There are stories after stories in the Bible of God being ham-fisted in his treatment of people.

Let’s just focus on the Israelites’ escape from Egypt.

Moses is called by God for the longest of time (and I thought I was a resistant mystic) to call the Jewish people to rise up against the powers-that-were in Egypt at that time and leave.

He even provides a number of miracles, in the form of plagues, to convince everyone concerned that He Was Serious.

So they surrender.  They trust.  They get to go into the desert.

And it doesn’t take long for them to start whining about their conditions.

Now imagine the scene: mothers with children, the elderly, even some disabled people in there.

Stuck in the desert.

After being promised FREEDOM!

We can all imagine what they imagined would be given to them for what they did.

And what did they get?  Sand.  Snakes.  Rocks.

Again, just imagine: mothers giving birth, grandparents, the blind.

And what did they get?  Moses and his little band of Godmen trying to explain that well, well, God is good.  Really.  You gotta believe us.

So they act up.

Now here’s my thought: any man who has buried a child or even just worked an unvarying job for his entire life, really, almost anyone who has suffered (which is everyone) can understand perfectly why these Israelites whined. 

And danced about.  And got rebellious.

We, humans, have absolutely no difficulty in grasping what was going on out there in the desert.

God, on the other hand, is enraged that they had stopped singing, A Mighty Fortress is My God.

And other exclamations of praise and thanksgiving to God.

Yeah.

How many years were they stuck in the desert?

Were they prepared for this ordeal?

No.

They were just ordered.  And they were obedient.

And were kicked in the face (and other places) by the experience that they met with.

God grew so angry with them, he punished them.

Condemned them.

I did this great thing for you and you can’t even be grateful.

Yeah.

Where was God’s attention to the detail of their suffering?

Well, from my experience, I would say it probably was one of the bits of light zipping around, in, and through him.  May be up there zipping still.

The screams.  The tears.  The pleadings.

And the response to all these prayers was: punishment.

Now I am the last person to assert that God can’t perform miracles.  He did even with these people.  Here and there.

Now and then.

Consider that.  Put that on one side.

On the other consider how a bee can feed on a flower and at the same time get covered with that flower’s pollen which he takes to another flower of the same kind to eat some more and leave some of the pollen dust on his coat so that these two flowers can get it on.  Even plays a bit of a drone, which must be music to these flowers ears.

All I’m saying here is: There is more to our existence than we like to admit. 

We keep trying to reduce things: God, nature, ourselves even.

If we are going to honor the Lord’s Prayer, specifically the line: One Earth as it is in Heaven, if we want to bring some of that overaweing vastness down here to help us with our world, then we have to open our minds to things beyond the simple, childlike explanations that we cling to.  And repeat.  And repeat.

Amen.

4 Comments on THE EARTH: Creation—The Devil Is In the Details

  1. What would you say if I were to say that suffering is a gift? Or that what you call punishment is really discipline? As for God’s purported failures, how do you read, “Be perfect, as I am perfect” (says Jesus)? And what benefit is the perfunctory sacrifice of the petty, flawed God you describe? I write in this way because I believe you are presenting yourself as a Christian. There is of course a time for whimsical musing, but I think you are airing speculation that distorts scripture and slanders God. God as you describe is no better than Zeus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To me suffering is part of the realm of God that I label as Surrender. This is when God gives you something that you don’t want, but have no choice but to accept it. Like the death of your son. The key to this realm is faith. This is my answer to your first question.

      Another realm of God is Discipline. But I don’t associate it with punishment. Instead I focus on the word, disciple, as in the disciples of Christ. What are disciples? People who follow. So to me, discipline is the process of following. How do I associate punishment with God? I think people generally assume that when we face the last judgment some will be rewarded and some will be punished. But I don’t see God as punishing. I see the last judgment as being about how we present ourselves to God. Do we accept his grace and forgiveness? Or do we reject him. The consequences of this choice will be our judgments. If you don’t understand what I mean think of Saint Paul, once a Christian killer then turned into one of our church fathers. Did he ask for this? No. But he did receive the gift of God. I think God is way beyond the concept of punishment. We all belong to him, as in the first line of the Lord’s Prayer: Our Father. Our. Everyone’s. However I have punished my own children for their misbehaviors, and felt it was both justified and healthy because it set limits on what was considered acceptable. That is the answer to your second question.

      A person can be a perfect baker, but that doesn’t mean that her cakes don’t fall sometimes or that she never accidentally drops a dish. This is true of anyone. Just because someone can do something perfectly, doesn’t mean that their every act is perfect. I’m not really sure how you want to apply the concept of perfect to God. Perfect, the way we use it, is a word of comparison. I took a test and I got a perfect score. This compares my score to those who didn’t answer all the questions correctly. One definition of the word, perfect, is absolute. Now that I can easily apply that to God. God is absolutely absolute.

      The problem with your assertion is that you do not know Biblical Greek. The word perfect, in Greek, means “to be complete, having reached its end.” Yes, God is complete. He can’t be more than he can be. It in no ways refers to actions or even thoughts.

      If you did not read the essay before this you may not realize that what I am working on at the moment is the matter of detail. People often claim that every detail on Earth is down to God. I was just pointing out that God, the Father, on quite a few occasions in the Bible, reveals that the way he approaches details is not the same way we would. Take the Flood. That was his one of his works and wonders. It was a solution to his problem of being constantly annoyed with us. I’ll just wipe them all out except for a handful, he says. Compare that to the wonder of a Rainbow Finch, that is swathed with various colors and is perhaps the most beautiful bird in the world. This is what I was comparing.

      As you clearly don’t know anything about me I would advise you not to be so ready to insult a person that you don’t know. I’m not that easy a person to understand, but I do expect to be treated with respect on my own site. As I’m sure you do on yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 1.”There are stories after stories in the Bible of God being ham-fisted in his treatment of people.” (God is awkward and clumsy.)
    2. “And the response to all these prayers was: punishment.” “I think God is way beyond the concept of punishment.”
    3. “We, humans, have absolutely no difficulty in grasping what was going on out there in the desert.

    God, on the other hand, is enraged that they had stopped singing, A Mighty Fortress is My God. (On the other hand, God can’t understand humans?)

    You also didn’t answer my most important question: what good is it for a ham-fisted, obtuse, rash, plate-dropping God to hang on a cross? The disrespect I see hear is not directed toward you or me but rather to the living God. If I wrote something on my page that characterized God in such a fashion, I would hope someone would come along and eviscerate it. So I guess perhaps I am being disrespectful in my cowardly decorum. Perhaps, I am still clinging to the false equivalence of love and politeness. More than anything I am grieved. If you do not respond, I will pursue this no further. I suggest only that if you submitted this piece to some of the pastors and theologians posted on this page, my response would pale in severity. From Dan to Julia, please don’t lose reverence out of resentment. You are right in that at the end of the day we stand before our maker, so my opinion matters little, unless there be Truth in it.

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    • I thought we were discussing God the Father. And, again, I was just comparing the kind of attention to detail that God the Father exhibits (such as stripping Job on a bet with Satan) to what we experience on Earth, the delicacy of a butterfly’s wing, say. Thus the term, ham-fisted.

      Jesus was not in my assertions in any way. But, then again, now that you mention the crucifixion, Jesus hung on a cross because of a design formulated by God the Father. You want to describe that as delicate? Meticulous? Compare it to a Poison Dart Frog? Or the imitative ability of the Lyrebird?

      I don’t resent God. I merely think broader about theology than I think you are capable of. I also can distinguish between God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. While they share essence, their expressions are distinct.

      Perhaps you will grow. Perhaps not. But again, if you can’t read my material with any understanding, perhaps you shouldn’t read it at all.

      Liked by 1 person

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