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Psalm 36


Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes that his iniquity cannot be found out and hated. The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good. He plots trouble while on his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not reject evil. Your steadfast love, O LORD, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds. Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD. How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light. Oh, continue your steadfast love to those who know you, and your righteousness to the upright of heart! Let not the foot of arrogance come upon me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. There the evildoers lie fallen; they are thrust down, unable to rise.  (ESV)

The Hovering of the Spirit

Wednesday after the Feast of the Holy Trinity

18 June 2014

As we debate about creation science these days the emphasis is on showing how the smallest biological components never come into being by themselves, that there is an amazing chemical interdependency to all of life, so that much complex life must arise simultaneously to sustain any life at all. In other words, the more we know about the complexity of the smallest components of life, the less likely the Darwinist narrative is true. This is a valuable argument on its own merits. It is an essential component of a complete apologetic program. However, it is not the whole story. This approach to apologetics misses some part of the creation story given in Genesis by God the Creator through Moses, His spokesman. The scientific argument then needs to be supplemented by the argument of involvement of God in the creation of the world.


What I mean is that we could argue about chemical and biological processes until the cows come home, but what about God's personal and intimate involvement in the creation of the universe and everything in it. Think of it this way: when a child asks his parents where he came from and if they were to answer with a biological or chemical reply it would not be satisfactory. "Well, mommy's deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) split and daddy's deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) split and they recombined in a unique way in a single cell and that was, uh, er, you. Understand?" This explanation, as true as it might be from a scientific perspective, is an answer that the child neither needs nor wants. Most often my parents answered my origins question by saying that I came from their love for each other and therefore I was a special part of them and our family. This answer leaves out all scientific explanations, but is quite true, and in its own way, is more helpful to the child who desperately needs to know that he is a result of the love of his parents. I am the result of a personal relationship and I am wanted by the people whose love begot me.


God's creative power was not merely a matter of manipulating acids, proteins, and enzymes. His power to create did not just work, Whoosh! Blam! and there was the universe, as though it were an episode of the 1960s TV series, Batman. God's creative power was profoundly and deeply personal. He extended Himself into and over the creating event. What comes about comes from His personal agency. His creation is not merely a really complicated chemistry project. It is the personal creation of something that involves God intimately and passionately. It is not His little project, like an ant farm is to a seven-year-old. He stakes Himself and His holiness on His creating activity. It is His so fully that, through the hovering of the Spirit over her, He is willing to become one of His creatures in the incarnation of His Son by Mary to redeem this broken and fallen creation. When the Spirit of God is said to hover over the face of the deep the hovering denotes intimacy and involvement that transcends mere science. It is a sign of the personal commitment of the third person of the holy Trinity to the creation and those who dwell in it. Then I know who the Creator is and who I am in relation to Him.


Basil the Great


"'And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters' (Gn 1:2). Does this spirit mean the blowing of air? Does the sacred writer wish to recount to you the elements of the world, to tell you that God created the heavens, the earth, water, and air and that the last was now diffused and in motion? Or does he rather mean by 'the Spirit of God' the Holy Spirit, that which is truer and confirmed by the authority of the ancients. It is, as has been remarked, the special name, the name above all others that Scripture delights to give the Holy Spirit. Always by the spirit of God the Holy Spirit is meant,the Spirit which completes the divine and blessed Trinity. You will find it better therefore to take it in this sense.


"How then did the Spirit of God move upon the waters? The explanation that I am about to give is not an original one, but that of a Syrian (church father), who was as ignorant in the wisdom of this world as he was well-versed in the knowledge of the truth. He said that the Syriac word was more expressive, and that being more analogous to the Hebrew term it was a nearer approach to the scriptural sense. This is the meaning of the word; by 'hovering' the Syrians understand 'it cherished' the nature of the waters as one sees a bird cover eggs with her body and impart to them a vital force from her own warmth. As nearly as possible, this is the meaning of these words, 'the Spirit hovered.' Let us understand it to mean that the Spirit prepared the nature of water to produce living beings; a sufficient proof for those who ask if the Holy Spirit took an active part in the creation of the world. 


 Basil of Caesarea, Lectures on the Hexaemeron, 2.6
Come, Holy Spirit, God and Lord, You who have hovered over the face of the deep and overshadowed Mary unto the conception of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, help us to see beyond all the scientific explanations of creation to Your personal involvement in all of creation and our conception. Give us the comfort of knowing that You personally saw to the gift of life which You conferred on us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.


For the unborn, that they might be protected from all those who cannot see that children are a gift of love from God


For all those who travel during vacation times, that they might be kept safe and have joyful homecomings


For all those who are captivated by the Darwinist myth, that they might be set free through the knowledge of the Spirit's hovering

Art: Dürer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 

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