Saturday, January 15, 2022

Ubuntu and the Big Bang

 rē'šîṯ ĕlōhîm bārā

First God creates. Variously translated “In the beginning God created” or “In the beginning when God created” or “When God began to create”. Subtle differences; perhaps intended to teach us there is more than one way understand the Biblical narrative (now would probably be a good time to mention the Bible is a book of truth, but not necessarily a book of fact, or history, or even historical fact). 

The point here is everything that exists was created by God.-

Genesis 1:3

God spoke: "Light!"

And light appeared.

Genesis 1:6

God spoke: "Sky! In the middle of the waters;

separate water from water!"

Genesis 1:9

God spoke: "Separate!

Water-beneath-Heaven, gather into one place;

Land, appear!"

And there it was.

Genesis 1:11

God spoke: "Earth, green up! Grow all varieties

of seed-bearing plants,

Every sort of fruit-bearing tree."

And there it was.

Genesis 1:14

God spoke: "Lights! Come out!

Shine in Heaven's sky!

Separate Day from Night.

Mark seasons and days and years…”

Genesis 1:20

God spoke: "Swarm, Ocean, with fish and all sea life!

Birds, fly through the sky over Earth!"

Genesis 1:24

God spoke: "Earth, generate life! Every sort and kind:

cattle and reptiles and wild animals—all kinds."

And there it was…”

Genesis 1:26

God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them

reflecting our nature

So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea,

the birds in the air, the cattle,

And, yes, Earth itself,

and every animal that moves on the face of Earth."

-The Message

Are you sensing a pattern here? God speaks; things appear. When and how are not mentioned, but consider this-if we understand science and mathematics as the operating principles God put in place to run God’s universe, and engineering as the application of those principles, the creation/science conflict begins to fade away. 

Genesis 2:4

This is the story of how it all started,

of Heaven and Earth when they were created.-The Message 


We’ll, yes, and no. Genesis 2:5-25 tells another story of creation. Two stories, because there is more than one way to tell any story. And if there is more than one way to tell a story there is more than one way to understand a story as well. The important points, which we don’t hear much about today, are, first, since God created every existing thing God owns every existing thing-which means we do not, although we act like we do-however, we are responsible for the proper care of God’s good creation. 

Second, God is reflected in God’s creation (cf. Psalm 19; 50; Isa 6:3; 40:21-26). Everything was created by God; everything belongs to God; everything reflects God. Richard Rohr says it this way: 

“This is what it means in Genesis 1:26–27 where it says everything is created in the image of God. God planted this whirling, alluring attraction of life toward life in everything created.…Nothing is meaningless; nothing is able to be dismissed…if I had to name the Big Bang in my language, I’d call it the Great Radiance…the inner radiance of God…radiating into forms.”

Big Bang, Great Radiance-same event expressed two different ways. Not either/or but yes/and. These are critically important points to understand if we are to have any hope at all of moving forward, surrendering our tribalism and discovering just how connected we all are. Archbishop Desmond Tutu had a word for this connectedness, and a warning as well:

“And so we speak of Ubuntu. A person is a person through other persons. And there must have been some people who said, ‘Ah, what a primitive way of thinking.’ It’s the most fundamental law of our being. We flout that—we flout it at our peril.”

Excerpt From

The Book of Joy

Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu & Douglas Carlton Abrams

This material may be protected by copyright. 


Which is precisely what our first parents did. Which leads us to life in the garden, and the origin of the phrase “I have the right to…”

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