Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for the springing fresh from the word

—Eleanor Farjean

Ever since I first read G. K. Chesterton’s work, Orthodoxy, I have been intrigued by the notion that God is still creating the world and everything in it. Chesterton proposed that just as a child delights in seeing a thing done again and again, so God delights in the “monotony” and repetition of creation every day. “It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them...The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE!”

Is it possible, then, that every new emergence—every blade of grass, every butterfly, every billowing cloud—is a new and special creation invented out of God’s wisdom, excitement and artistry. He paints each pansy as it emerges in the spring, he colors every leaf in the fall. He ponders every act of creation, shouts “Encore!” and the whole business begins all over again, the business of creation that began “in the beginning,” and is still going on to this day.

If then every new emergence is a new creation, it follows that every human conception is a new creation. God says, “Let us make a human being in our image, according to our likeness”—and a human life springs into being! We think of the process as natural: we conceive a child and it grows to term on its own. In truth it is preternatural—creatio ex nihilo as theologians say: the creation of matter and spirit out of nothing. (It occurs to me at the same time that any given conception might be God’s final creation, in which case the human race would very soon be extinct, for our existence, despite our heroic efforts to perpetuate ourselves, is solely dependent on God’s creative handiwork.)

Chesterton suggested the idea of on–going creation to me, but David, Israel’s poet, convinced me, for he describes God first “musing” and then “weaving” David together in the darkness of his mother’s womb. He did so, David insists, “before one of them (the various elements that became ‘David’) came to be (were in existence)” (Psalm 139:13–16).

In other words, God created David out of nothing—no, out of himself. He imagined the person that was to be, and then brought that person into being according to a pre–imagined plan. (The Hebrew text reads, “Your eyes saw my unformed substance and in your book they [David’s “component parts”] were written day by day before there was one of them.” The metaphor is that of a “journal” in which God wrote his ideas of what David would become and then brought each idea into being through his handiwork in the womb.)

Put another way, we begin as a gleam in our Heavenly Father’s eye and are shaped by Love into a unique, immediate creation—immediate in the ordinary sense of “unmediated,” in that we come directly from the inventive heart and hand of God.

That means that I am special and so are you—and so is everyone else in the world. This being true I must be pro–life in the purest sense of the word in that I sanctify all human life[1]—Stanford University sophisticates and untutored semi–illiterates; Seattle socialites and skid–row derelicts, winsome children and doddering curmudgeons, fundamentalist preachers and left–wing political pundits, anti–abortion enthusiasts and pro–choice activists. All persons–all classes, ages, sexes, and races–are unique productions of the Creator’s genius.

Which is why Jesus said we should never call anyone a “fool.”[2]


[1] The Bible supports the sanctity of human life and not the sanctity of life in general for it is human beings alone that are created in the image and likeness of God, i.e., more like God than any other creature.
[2] Jesus’ word, hracá, means “worthless.”

1 comment:

Pierce Murphy said...

One of the best "musings" I've read regarding the sanctity of human life - so beautiful! I will use this in my own teaching and preaching on this truth.

 The God-Man “If ever we get hungry to see God, we must look at his picture.”  “Where is that, sir?”  “ Ah, Davie … don’t you know ...