Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"B'reisheet - Yehiyeh": In the Beginning was the Word...

Many are familiar w/ the opening part of the Gospel of John - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was w/ God, and the Word was God." Something really caught my attention about this as I was looking at a few passages of Scripture in the original Greek and Hebrew. By reading the opening words of this passage, one of the first things that pops into many people's heads is the story of creation ("In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." - Genesis 1:1). There's a word that keeps popping up in the original Hebrew as God is speaking forth creation - yehiyeh. It refers to a state of being, translated as "let there be" and "there was" (hence, if we were to translate the entire passage into English except for that word, it would look something like this - "And God said 'yehiyeh light,' and yehiyeh light).

Going back to the beginning of John, we understand this "word" as referring to Jesus ("and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us"). I don't want to get us off into some sort of weird, hyper-spiritual, meaningless mystical wandering after "deeper meaning" (i.e. I don't want this to be about anything other than Jesus as this is what the passage is talking about). However, I don't want to overlook the fact that there can be more meaning to something than what we see at face value, especially if it reveals to us something more about God's heart. It's interesting to note that it says that this word was w/ God "in the beginning", but it also says that the word "was God". Again, we understand this to be talking about Jesus, but here's something interesting to go along w/ that. This word, "yehiyeh", is conjugated another way which appears in Exodus 3 - eheyeh (as in "EHEYEH ASHER EHEYEH" ["I AM THAT I AM"]).

So you probably know that I've been doing a lot of reading up on quantum physics lately. I ran across something rather interesting about 2 months ago known as zero-point energy. It's kind of difficult for me to explain right now as I only know the cursory definition of it, but zero-point energy refers to the power that brought this world into existence. It exists all around us, nevertheless, we don't perceive it. It is mostly rested, and it would have been only by what's known as a "quantum fluctuation" that this power caused this world to be. It is my understanding that this energy exists as a product of some other dimension, as it seems to pop up mysteriously (hence it is known as the "phantom force" of energy). It's as if something from another dimension had to breathe everything into existence (which is interesting, b/c the Hebrew word that keeps appearing in creation seems to have an inhale/exhale sound to it).

There's more I could say, but I'll save it for later. For now, I close w/ this. There is power in that word. No, I don't mean that it's some kind of magical word that gives us special power if we say it, but what I'm saying is that there's something to be said about the findings of modern science, the appearance of this mysterious word, and God knows what else, all pointing to the power and authority of His holy name. So next time you walk outside and look up at the stars, next time you see the green grass growing in the bright shining sun, the waving trees, the crashing seas, or whatever it is in nature that brings you to your knees (<--he saith, as he attempts to wax poetic), you might want to keep in mind the awesome power behind it all.

"Jesus said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM." - John 8:58

"As soon as He had said to them, "I AM", they went backward, and fell to the ground." - John 18:6

"O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth." - Psalm 8:9

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Current" reflections (deeper thoughts from the shallow shores)

Last Thursday, I got to visit Rehoboth beach w/ some friends of mine. Man does that bring back memories (I practically grew up on that beach, but that's another story). As soon as we got to the sands, I instantly fell prey to the forces of oceanic gravity, the riptides tugging at the depths of my heart.

"Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me." - Psalms 42:7

Being a person who's fascinated by the world of physics, all the intricate workings of God's creation, there's something about throwing myself into the wild unknown that I find utterly irresistible. Waves moving mercilessly in their predictibly unpredictible fashion, cresting and crashing all around so speedily that only a fool would turn his back for more than a few seconds. That is motion. That is force. That is acceleration.!!!!!!!

Reflecting upon the beauty of what I saw caused me to realize something. Navigating the currents of this massive body of water is not unlike swimming through the seas of life. You don't have control over much, you can only predict what will happen w/ limited accuracy, so you have to be ready for anything. Somehow people fail without fail to realize this, though. We spend so much of our time trying to control the currents, we will turn our backs on the waves only to get wiped out in a matter of seconds, and when we get caught in the undertoe, we react in fear by swimming directly against it, burning out so much energy, rather than going to the side to get out of its pull (metaphorically, that is...we spend so much time trying to secure a bunch of variables over which we have very little control, we kick our heels up when circumstances look fine on the surface only to get hit quickly w/ something we weren't expecting, and when this happens, we often let fear take over and react on impulse, rather than taking a moment to stop, breathe, and assess what we should do).

I've recently been thinking a lot about all the symbols and hints that God often leaves in Scripture, the meanings within meanings that He put there so that we would continually journey deeper w/ Him. What we encounter in nature I think speaks so powerfully of Who He is (creation pointing to the Creator, if you will). A particular passage in the opening of His story to mankind has really made an impression on me lately: "And God said, 'Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear,' and it was so." (Genesis 1:9) Ok, get ready to put on your learning cap, 'cuz I'm about to give you a Hebrew lesson, here. The word for "gathered" that appears in that passage is "kavah". Though it appears 49 times in the Old Testament, this is the only place where it is translated as "gathered". The definition of "kavah" isn't so easily understood by a cursory translation, here. We would think of the waters being "gathered" as a process of some outside force (or collection of forces) acting upon inanimate matter. "Kavah", however, is something far different from this. It refers to an act of waiting in hope or expectation (it's actually the same word that's used in that oft-quoted passage, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" [Isaiah 40:31]). It's as if the waters spoken of in Genesis 1:9 were acting of their own volition in obedience to the voice of the Lord, which is kind of interesting when you consider the term "living water" (and "living waters") as it appears a few times in Scripture (Jeremiah 2:13;17:13; Zechariah 14:8; John 4:10,11;7:38).

So let's consder this. We spend so much of our time, energy, and hope on the unpredictible waters of life. The story of creation tells us, however, that it wasn't God's expectation on the waters, but rather the waters' expecation on God. We spend so much of our time judging the waters by what we see on the surface, yet we stop short of considering the currents underneath. Then there are those of us who keep in mind that no matter how much we attempt to calculate the trajectories of our lives, so much of it is still based on variability. It's good to be wise, to consider our paths, and to plan accordingly. Nevertheless, many of our calculations end up getting swept away w/ the currents as the foundation of predictibility gives way underneath. We, however, don't have to be swept away w/ them, if we accept the fact that all of those calculations are just good pointers to help keep us moving forward, never to replace God as the solid ground beneath us. When we let go like this, all we have left is faith, and this is something truly, truly beautiful.

"Trust in the Lord w/ all your heart, and don't lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths." - Proverbs 3:5,6