God of the Gaps: A Psalm

thefountain1

I

The throne of God shrinks daily, so goes the argument. It retreats into holes. Science (capital S) will one day finish filling these and on that day there will be no more room for God. Science should better listen to itself – nothing ever really touches, the void between particles is eternal. But, yes, I understand your meaning.

Only small things fall through gaps. Indeed, God’s antimacassar was too large, and so the glory of the church had to go. His throne is now stained and dirty, for only small things fall through the gaps, and those are things like grease and ash and dust.

And yet – only small things fall through the gaps, and this is how it ever was. The Biblical God is not the God of large things. He is the God of the weak and the small and the sick and the stupid and the sinful. This has always been his most offputting characteristic, as He would be the first to admit.

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24) The rich are great, and they will not fall into gaps. But God is not their God. God is the God of what fits through the smallest needle’s eye.

You want to say that this is only Christ, but it is in the Tanakh, too.

Job 38:31-33:

31 Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
    Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
    or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
    Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth?

We are reminded daily, and by Science, that this is earth is a scant nothing, exiguity of an exiguity. What do we make of a power that yet chooses as its dominion such a whirling hollow, that prefers to rule a speck of dust and the dusky lungs that inhale it? I have no idea. It is inhuman.

It is there, and it defines itself by the stars. Stars are big, I know. But they are not big to us and they were not big to Job. Here, on this world, they are the smaller than hands and coins and insects. They are accidents in the canvas of the night, crumbs fallen into the far greater darkness. And what matters a crumb in the gaps, no matter how bright it is?

But our God is the God of the Gaps.

II

“Was that all of it? A fucking pun?” Yes, of course.

I’m not punning on Science’s argument, Science is punning on God. They don’t mean to do this. It’s inevitable, all things point back to His truth even as they scramble away. The possibilities of this world and our speech about it are like water in a bowl, the Biblical firmament. Water has to conform to its vessel. Of course your speech would fit His patterns – He made the firmament. Fourteen billion years ago, in infinite wisdom, God set up that pun.

He is the God of puns, too, for puns are small things. It is for this that we give thanks.

III

“This is just a variant of the Barnum effect.” I agree completely.

Bar (בַּר ) means “son”, or “son-of”, and Num (נוּם) means “to grow tired, to become drowsy”, hence: son of the growing-tired.

The age of man properly begins on the seventh day, when God took his rest (itself a small act). Indeed, it is said that he is there to rest the weariness of one’s head. We are made in the image, and like aims towards like: fire wants to be with fire, and the exhaustion of creating the world wants to be with those exhausted of living in it. This is not to say that God is idle or weak. Quite the opposite, for only in sleep can dreams come.

“This is the Barnum effect!”

Every speech act is a trap.

IV

I will admit that even in believing I am, sadly, an atheist. You are wondering, then, why I write about God at all. Indeed, why I refer to him as God, and not god, or as Our God, and not their god.

Whitman: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”

Do you see now?

Every speech act is a trap.

V

A mere psittacism (possibly), a psalm (provisionally), but in reality merely some other ps. Quite rightly the smallest part, almost devoured by rest of the letter, itself swallowed in the envelope. The only thing left for our tired and dreaming God. P followed by s. There is a pun here, too, and it is a small one, so I know that God is listening.

P.S.

I do not believe but perhaps, someday, all will come to be.

Selah


top image from Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain

Author: Lou Keep

samzdat.com

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