by Debbonnaire Kovacs
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
O LORD my God, how excellent is your greatness!
you are clothed with majesty and splendor.
You wrap yourself with light as with a cloak
and spread out the heavens like a curtain.
You lay the beams of your chambers in the waters above;
you make the clouds your chariot;
you ride on the wings of the wind.
You make the winds your messengers
and flames of fire your servants.
You have set the earth upon its foundations,
so that it never shall move at any time.
You covered it with the Deep as with a mantle;
the waters stood higher than the mountains.
At your rebuke they fled;
at the voice of your thunder they hastened away.
They went up into the hills and down to the valleys beneath,
to the places you had appointed for them.
I have always loved this Psalm—who doesn’t? It gives powerful words and images to the concept of God as mighty Creator. A few years ago, I realized something new in it.
I think this is the story of creation before Genesis 1. God creates “God’s chambers,” then the angels, then the planet itself, and covers it with water. Then God begins creating the biosphere by “appointing places” for the waters. It could be said, of course, that this is a reference to the Great Flood, and perhaps it is. Or both. But I love the image of the Creation Prequel.
I have a lot of friends who are what we might call New Agers. (They seldom use that term.) I got curious about the four elements: earth, water, wind, and fire, and did a complete study of the Bible on each of these topics. For the sake of space, I’ll just say here that IT WAS AMAZING!
Overall, in the Bible, water, wind, and fire are used as symbols for God. Overall, in the Bible, earth and stone are us. But consider this—God created us from earth and water, breathed into us the Wind of God, and then stood us upright to look to the warmth, the light, the blessing, the purifying fire that is the presence of the Spirit.
And look! All four are explicitly visible in this passage.