Sunday, 5 May 2019

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part fifty-two

Hi, Everybody!

I ran out of pages from issue 289/290 to run in front of Dave's Genesis Question commentaries. Dave suggested I use Jewish, Christian or Muslim religious images. But then, Superman's Frenemy: David Birdsong sent in a bunch of (so far) unused Cerebus in Hell? images and now I'ma gonna run them. So:
image by Doré, Sim & Birdsong
25 January 15

Hi Troy & Mia!

Psalm 104.

It's relatively long as Psalms go.  I would characterize it, personally, as a joint Davidic/YHWHistic meditation, resulting from David contemplating the nature of Reality and this aligning itself with the YHWH's own "best thinking" on the subject. 

Bless the YHWH, O my soul, O YHWH my god, thou art very great: thou art clothed with honour and majesty

It's a "kingly" observation having, I think, more to do with David's high self-regard and extrapolating that into the nature of God/YHWH (who he would view as being interchangeable names for one entity).  David and the YHWH, I would infer, are both clothed but mostly by their own imaginations, having little to do with their actual adornment which I would see more as self-glorification and portrayal than "honour and majesty".  Honour and majesty I would see as inherent traits of God.  Traits are very different from garments (on both literal and metaphorical levels). 

It would make for a good beginning for a Psalm, though, I think, resonating with the YHWH and giving David the sense that what he had just thought was Divinely Inspired. 

Who coverest [interpolated: thy self] with light as [interpolated: with] a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain.

The interpolation here of "thy self" and "with" is interesting to me.  It seems to add another level of resonance to the original (what I see as a) misapprehension.  Without the interpolation it reads, "Who coverest with light as a garment".  It doesn't, as I read it, so much continue the thought from the first verse, in the unmodified form, as attempt to correct it.  And to obscure it:  covering the sentiment itself with "light" to keep from having to address it.

It suggests that the YHWH, the subject of the first verse, "coverest with light" without specifying what is being covered.  But the KJV translators appear eager to amplify what David appears to be saying and to make the "clothing" of the YHWH tripartite in nature: consisting of honour, glory and light and to further assert that the YHWH has clothed him (her/its) self with these. 

The exact misapprehension, as I read it, that the YHWH attempted to correct/modify.  And obscure (out of embarrassment).

That is, I think the sense that the YHWH is attempting to convey in the second verse is to mitigate the charge of self-adornment.  That is, vanity and vainglory, of the sort that Kings like David always traffic in.  David seeks justification by establishing that both he and God/YHWH do this.  He adorns himself with the riches of the world and God/YHWH does the same and he (David) sees this self-adornment as clear evidence of honour and glory. 

The YHWH attempts to "upscale" this from vainglorious self-adornment to the Divine level by invoking Large Scale Divine constructs:  light and the heavens.  One he uses to cover and the other he stretches out like a curtain.  As I've said elsewhere, physical light -- light that would "cover" something -- seems to me a small-scale version of "the Light" of the first chapter of John's Gospel "which lighteth every man coming into the world". 

THAT, it seems to me, is light on the Divine Scale  (inwardly illuminating spirit which performs the opposite function of "obscuring") by contrast with its degraded form as sunlight, lamp illumination, fire etc.  THAT was what God "created to make", not, I don't think, to clothe Himself with honour and glory, but as a means of spirit being allowed to enact itself and to display itself metaphorically (as David does) in its various expressions.

The YHWH sees this adulation on the part of David as being as troubling as I do, I think, and -- having attempted to upscale from vainglory to the Divine -- necessarily has to intrude on God's own territory to avoid having to "own" the implications of what David has said.  

Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters, who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind

Well, no, would be my inference. The waters are God's, the physical construct that best represents the mercurial form that God's spirit takes: not easily confined and certainly a lot more adaptive and mobile than, say, the earth is.  The waters are the opposite of a construct of "chambers" composed of beams (although there is the double meaning of "beams of light").  As I say, I think this is the YHWH seeing the need to expand his/her/its own context out of the simply vainglorious (which is really all that it is) into the Divine.  "The waters" is a "bridge too far" and the "clouds" as "chariot" and walking "on the wings of the wind" simply reiterate the self-evident:  that the YHWH inhabits both the earth and the earth's atmosphere. 

Who maketh his Angels spirits: his ministers a flaming fire.

God, I think Scripture supports, didn't "MAKETH His Angels spirits".  His Angels ARE expressions of spirit, all of which issued from God in one form or another.  They are uncorrupted spirits.  It isn't surprising that the YHWH would attempt to usurp the "making" of the Angels, but it does seem to me to be evidence of misconstruing context.  The YHWH -- the earth -- is a degraded form of spirit, so degraded that it is housed within rock and dirt. Basically, as I infer scripture Some of the spirit/spirits which issued from God adopted this course of degradation which led to incarnation within physical constructs.  The YHWH is one of those.  Anything inhabited by spirit that you can see in physical form is degraded spirit. Including us.  Us including David.

"A flaming fire" is clearly a physical construct and it's unlikely in the extreme that God would have "a flaming fire" as His ministers and practically inevitable that the YHWH would.

Although the KJV has verses 2 through 5 as beginning with "Who" -- that is, compelling the inference that what is being described is the Divine nature of the YHWH -- I read them as attempted usurpations as I've described them:  this is where the YHWH endeavours to usurp Divine attributes in order to evade David's inadvertent charge of vaingloriousness.  The KJV translators then attempt to extend that to the sixth verse:  

Who laid the foundations of the earth [Hebrew: he hath founded the earth upon her bases]; [interpolated: that] it should not  be removed for ever.

Extracting the original meaning of this verse from its KJV encumbrances, the verse reads:  "He hath founded the earth upon her bases; it should not be removed for ever."  The sense conveyed by the original Hebrew -- that the bases already existed and the YHWH founded the earth upon them -- being self-evident.  The KJV "translation", by contrast, suggests that the YHWH "laid the foundations" -- "the bases" -- his/her/its self.

["it should not be removed for ever" strikes me as self-evidently defensive on the part of the YHWH, who seems always mindful -- as well he/she/it might be -- of the mortality of the earth.  A genuinely Divine assertion would be, "It will not be removed forever".  It also definitely refers to the earth -- singular -- rather than "her bases" -- plural.]

So we have a transition from "Who" verses to a "he" verse which then switches to the second person in the next verse:  

Thou coveredst it with the deep as [interpolated: with] a garment: the waters stood above the mountains

Again, it becomes necessary to extract the original meaning from its KJV encumbrances.  Using the original Hebrew of the previous verse and omitting the interpolation from this verse, we get:  "HE hath founded the earth upon her bases; it should not be removed forever.  THOU converedst with the deep as a garment: the waters stood above the mountains".  Which seems to be a Freudian slip on the part of the YHWH -- an inopportune switch from a self-referential "he" to the more accurate "Thou" -- originating, I would infer, in the genuine memory of the YHWH's own -- not creation, but revelation of its physical form -- as described in Genesis 1:9:

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.

The YHWH just provides a "first person" account with a little more detail of what that seminal event was like as the YHWH experienced it and addresses this, appropriately, to God:

At thy rebuke, they fled: at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.  

They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them [alternative translation: the mountains ascend, the valleys descend]

Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over: that they turn not again to cover the earth. 

The tone is introspective -- which I would assume it was.  The YHWH revisiting the "gathering together of the waters" without which the earth -- the dry land -- would have remained covered by the waters.

He sendeth [Hebrew: who sendeth] the springs into the valleys: [interpolated: which] run [Hebrew: walk] among the hills

Again, a "KJVectomy" is required here.  The actual Hebrew expresses it as "Who sendeth the springs into the valleys, walk among the hills."  Which could be either a literal question -- "Who sendeth the springs into the valleys, walk among the hills?"  Which would tie in with the introspective tone of the previous verses.  As if the YHWH is genuinely asking the pertinent question taking the form of:  "I remember that happening. Did I do that? And if I didn't who did?"  In which case the literal answer to the literal question would be God. God places the waters exactly and specifically and independently of the YHWH:  God sends the springs into the valleys and the springs that walk among the hills. 

-- or it can be inferred as a rhetorical question: "Who sendeth the springs into the valleys: walk among the hills?"  Which is, I think, how David and the KJV translators took it which is why they modified "Who sendeth" into "he sendeth", changing it from a good literal introspective question on the part of the YHWH into vainglorious breast-beating on the part of the YHWH.

I think it's misapprehended in that form because the introspective tone of wonder continues, as if there is a dawning awareness of just how critical "the waters" -- which are independent of the YHWH -- are to everything that the YHWH knows and experiences:

They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses [Hebrew: break] quench their thirst.

By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation:  [interpolated: which] [Hebrew: give a voice] sing among the branches.

He watereth the hills from his chambers:

The introspectiveness continues with the full implication dawning of what the result of this Universal Hydraulic Reality is:

the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

Again, the shift from "He" to "thy" seems particularly significant, an acknowledgement by the YHWH that there is a "thy" -- that the YHWH, while remembering being covered by the waters, suddenly remembers that the gathering of the waters was an event external to the YHWH's own experience and awareness ("At THY rebuke, they fled: at the voice of THY thunder, they hasted away.")

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth:

And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make [interpolated: his] face to shine [Hebrew: to make his face shine WITH oil/or MORE than oil]: and bread [interpolated: which] strengheneth man's heart

The full implications of how CENTRAL water is to all of this -- NONE of it exists without the water and the water is external to the YHWH -- the YHWH needs to claw his/her/its way back from complete capitulation to Reality and God:

The trees of the YHWH are full [interpolated: of sap]:  the cedars of Lebanon which he hath planted.

The interpolation of "sap" is interesting, but beside the point.  The observation is that the trees, too, are full of water.  Water, God's medium, is EVERYWHERE and central to all existence.  The FRUIT trees themselves are masculine ("yielding fruit after HIS kind" Genesis 1:11) but perhaps non-fruit bearing trees like the cedars are exceptions to that:

Where the birds make their nests: as for the Stork, the fir trees [interpolated: are] her house.

"The fir trees HER house".  Fir trees aren't fruit-bearing and the stork is perceived as being feminine rather than masculine.    

The high hills [interpolated: are] a refuge for the wild goats:  [interpolated: and] the rocks for the conies.

Which is evasive reasoning:  the wild goats need water, as do the conies even if they pass their lives in rocky YHWH contexts. Mindful of this, the YHWH attempts, again, to expand the parameters into larger Divine contexts:

He appointed the moon for seasons; the sun knoweth his going down.

Which isn't much good.  Genesis 1:14 to 19 are "God verses", establishing that He created the sun and the moon and the stars.

[Misattributed, in my view, by A Dam after eating the forbidden fruit: knowledge of good and evil.  An interpolation allowed by God, I think, but violating the integrity of the creation story of the YHWH -- the earth -- which, as I read it, is the actual content of the first chapter of the First Book of Moshe wherein, as I read it,  God was just explaining the YHWH's creation to the YHWH and man's creation to men.]

Mindful of that, the YHWH again lapses from "He" into "Thou" and actually acknowledges the stark simplicity of Reality Seen -- once you see how central water is to the entire construct and once you see that water is external to you, the Grand External becomes self-evident and inescapable. Once a thing is seen, it can't be unseen:

Thou makest darkness and it is night: wherein [Hebrew: all the beasts thereof trample on the forest.] all the beasts of the forest do creep [interpolated; forth].

The young lions roar after their prey: and seek their meat from God.

The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together: and lay them down in their dens.

Man goeth forth unto his work: and to his labour unto the evening.

At which point, as I read it, the YHWH lapses into silence.  What else is there to say?  But, the unceremonious end is uncomfortable for David who is still, in his own mind, composing a Psalm, issuing from his own in-dwelling spirit, a Psalm which had been going great guns and then just "petered out".  So, he interjects:

O YHWH, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

Which would really have been salt in the wound.  All of the YHWH's efforts to "upscale" the context from vainglorious self-adornment like that practiced by earthly kings like David to Divine contexts, brought crashing back down to "the earth is full of thy riches."  WHAT riches?  When compared with God's creation?

The YHWH resumes, introspective and, at the same time, externally contemplative.  There are so many aspects to the waters, all of them external to the YHWH, an alien presence but which the YHWH knows -- and has always known -- intimately:

[interpolated: So is] this great and wide Sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable: both small and great beasts.

There go the ships; [interpolated: there is] that Leviathan whom thou hast [Hebrew: formed] made to play therein.

These wait all upon thee: that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.

That thou givest them, they gather: thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good.

Insight upon insight, overwhelming in its implications for the YHWH:

Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled, thou takest away their breath, they die: and return to their dust.

Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

All of the earthly creation.  Not the earth itself, not the YHWH, but the FACE of the earth where all human life is enacted and enacts itself, physically incarnated as the earth is physically incarnated. ALL of that external to the YHWH, ALL of that which the YHWH knows intimately. 

Another lapsed silence into which David feels compelled to interject himself:

The glory of the YHWH [Hebrew: shall be] shall endure for ever: the YHWH shall rejoice in his works.

Another manifold bitter irony:  The "glory" of the YHWH, as David conceives it, is comparable to his own.  But the YHWH is aware that what David sees as intrinsic greatness is a vainglorious garment that is passing away even as David wraps himself in its luxurious confines.  Far from enduring "for ever" it is already gone, as the YHWH will be some day.  "The YHWH shall rejoice in his works".  Well, yes, that's what the YHWH was ATTEMPTING to do, but ended up forced to rejoice in His Works:  God's:

He looketh on the earth and it trembleth; he toucheth the hills and they smoke.

Another lapsed, uncomfortable silence into which David again feels compelled to inject himself:

I will sing unto the YHWH as long as I live: I will sing praise to my god, while I have my being.

It's as if he picks up on the YHWH's introspective, awe-stricken subtext by a kind of spiritual osmosis.  More salt in the YHWH's wounds:  "As long as I live";  "while I have my being".  The YHWH knows how transitory is David's existence and now realizes that the YHWH's own mortality is different only as a matter of degree.  It would have been (and, I assume, still is) a bitter pill for the YHWH to swallow.  He, the YHWH, IS David. Flawed in the same way that David is:  immersed in self-glorification and portrayal masquerading as Divinity and Reality. A mortal all but vanished even as he sings his song of praise, unable to conceive of or accept his own mortality.    

My meditation of him shall be sweet:  I will be glad in the YHWH.

Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more: bless thou the YHWH, O my soul.  Praise ye the YHWH. 

Which is really the problem:  the sinners "out of the earth", manifestations of the earth -- the YHWH's own sinful nature -- are mere incarnations, prey to and prone to the YHWH's own excesses, self-deceptions and self-aggrandizements. But, once seen, they are inescapably "of a piece" with the YHWH.

The idea that David's soul could in any way bless the YHWH is risible (and, so, more salt in the YHWH's wound) -- but partakes of the YHWH's own inflated self-opinion and its extension into blasphemous arenas.  David isn't God.  His soul is, presumably, incapable of blessing anyone, let alone the YHWH.  Only God can bless anyone and God only blesses those deserving of it.  Because God is the lone custodian of Divinity and Reality.

Next week:  God willing Psalm 139.


Next Time: Hey Dave's birthday is coming up, what're you guys getting him?


Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Fruit trees are masculine? Well, Dave never did have a good grasp of science.

Other than that, good to see him back to form; I laughed out loud at Dave three times this week. Somebody could excerpt the best bits, put on a robe and long beard, and have a complete comedy sketch.

-- Damian

Tony Dunlop said...

Now that you mention it, I think this week's installment is plagiarized from one of the "prophets" in the marketplace scene in "Life of Brian" (when Brian "falls from the sky").

Anonymous said...

This may be the single worst entry of all Dave's god blathering. And that's saying something. I don't think I understood a single sentence. He may actually be getting worse.

Anonymous said...

"He may actually be getting worse."
Watch out, Anonymous: these entries are a number of years old, as someone will likely come along to point out, for some reason. As someone who strives to be rational and logical in everything, Dave's views surely make even more sense now.