Monday, September 05, 2005

All Creation Cries Out The Glory of God

I recently was accused of harboring pantheistic sentiments by a friend and fellow Christian. The truth is, I probably do walk a fine line between strict monotheism and pantheism. I believe there is a God. I believe He created the universe. I believe that He has communicated with us via the Bible, (although I'm not too sure about the immense changes that took place between the time of the Law-giving, and the later Old Testament where God says he's sick of our burnt offerings).

What is it with the huge change in an Omniscient, Omnipotent God? Hmm?

Anyway, I guess the best way I can put it is to say I think the Bible is God's Word to us, but maybe in the case of some lessons we needed to learn our conciousness weren't ready for God's reality, and so He made changes as we learned and grew. I don't know. I don't get it. (By the way, I've read explanations for these changes, and they didn't make sense to me, so it's not like I'm completely working from ignorance, although I might be working from idiocy.)

There is too much inexplicable genius to the Bible for me to simply say that it is not God-inspired. So, I believe the Bible is infallibly what God wanted us to have, but I don't understand all of it, and would not choose to live by all of it. For instance, I would not stone a homosexual to death. Doesn't make sense to me. Nor, do I wish hell on my enemies (for the most part).


Capital punishment for murder, on the other hand, does make sense to me. So I, like everyone, choose what I do and do not follow.

Anyway, here's the thing. As an artist, and as an emotional person, and as a romantic, I must admit, I do sometimes have a hard time separating God from His creation. The Bible itself says that "The heavens declare the Glory of God." In some sense, it seems to me we do have a divine spark, that you can see God in people. That you can find God in a flower.

So, yesterday I was sitting around reading Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Check this out (in case you're not a poetry person, think about how falling in love makes you feel):

I celebrate myself, and sing myself, And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.

I loafe and invite my soul,
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil, this air,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.

Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never forgotten,
I harbor for good or bad,
I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.

Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.
The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the distillation, it is odorless,
It is for my mouth forever,
I am in love with it,

I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised and naked,
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.

A few light kisses, a few embraces, a reaching around of arms,
The play of shine and shade on the trees as the supple boughs wag,
The delight alone or in the rush of the streets, or along the fields and hill-sides,
The feeling of health, the full-noon trill,
the song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun.

Have you reckon'd a thousand acres much?
have you reckon'd the earth much?
Have you practis'd so long to learn to read?
Have you felt so proud to get at the meaning of poems?

Stop this day and night with me and you shall possess the origin of all poems,
You shall possess the good of the earth and sun,
(there are millions of suns left,)

You shall no longer take things at second or third hand,
nor look through the eyes of the dead,
nor feed on the spectres in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either,
nor take things from me,

You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
I have heard what the talkers were talking,
the talk of the beginning and the end, But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.

There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now.

Urge and urge and urge,
Always the procreant urge of the world.

Out of the dimness opposite equals advance,
always substance and increase, always sex,
Always a knit of identity, always distinction,
always a breed of life.

To elaborate is no avail, learn'd and unlearn'd feel that it is so.
I believe in you my soul, the other I am must not abase itself to you,
And you must not be abased to the other.

Loafe with me on the grass, loose the stop from your throat,
Not words, not music or rhyme
I want, not custom or lecture, not even the best,
Only the lull I like, the hum of your valved voice.

I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning,
How you settled your head athwart my hips
and gently turn'd over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone,
and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart,
And reach'd till you felt my beard, and reach'd till you held my feet.

Swiftly arose and spread around me
the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers,
and the women my sisters and lovers,

And that a kelson of the creation is love,
And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields,
And brown ants in the little wells beneath them, And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heap'd stones, elder, mullein and poke-weed.

I feel that way about life quite a bit. (Yes it's true, I am not only the angry Pastorius of CUANAS). I believe that marital love is a sacrament given by God to man, so that we can begin to understand the kind of Oneness and Joy He wants to share with us; the Bride of Christ. And I find in love a joy which makes me feel closer to God. I feel like I can see God in my wife and children.

Of course, there's a lot of pantheism in Whitman's poem, isn't there? But I understand where he is coming from. And I think all of us who have fallen madly, passonately in love would also understand. Am I not right about that?

How are we supposed to be lovers, and be in love, and not feel such a feeling of Oneness? How are we supposed to give ourselves without feeling subsumed. And who created the feeling of the unity of Love in the first place? Why would He have created it this way, if we were not supposed to feel it?

Was this feeling born in us from having eaten the apple?

Is it wrong to feel intense unity in love?

I don't have answers. All I know is that, because God tells us to worship Him and not His creation, I will make every attempt to follow His Will, but His creation is so beautiful, and is such a Gift, that I can't help but feel sometimes that God is hiding within everything.

So sue me. Someone already paid the judgement you would win against me.