A Process Interpretation
A Mist Went Up
A mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground -- then the Lord God formed human beings from dust from the ground, and breathed the breath of life into them.
The Face of the Deep
In the beginning, when God began creating the earth, the earth was void and without form. Darkness was over the face of the deep. And the spirit of God moved over the face of the waters, saying Let there be Light and there was light. And God saw the light and saw that it was good.
The Repetition of Novelty
Novelty is a funny thing. Every time we wake up in the morning it is a new morning. Every breath we take is a new breath. Novelty keeps repeating itself. Every moment is an origin.
Whitehead speaks of this repetition as the creative advance into novelty. We live in a universe that is moving through time and creating time as it moves.
As you read these words you are creating time.
As I write them I am creating time, too.
We are both giving birth to something new.
The Creation of the Universe
A monk asked a Zen Master: "When did the universe come into existence?"
The Master waved his hand and said: "Just now. When I waved my hand."
Every time something new comes into existence, something must pass away.
Whitehead speaks of this passing away as the perishing of immediacy. Buddhists call it impermanence.
It means that we need to let go of things when they pass away.
The End of the Universe
A monk asked a Zen Master: "When will the universe end."
The Master replied: "It's already over."
My grandfather used to repeat himself over and over. When I would go see him, he would tell me the same stories.
I once complained to my mother that it was hard to listen to the same stories all the time.
She said: "But every time he tells the story it feels new to him. And every time you listen to him tell the stories, it is the first time you are listening to him tell it this time around. Try to immerse yourself in the newness."
My Mother was a Christian. The believed in the sacrament of each present moment. She knew that every moment is a first time.
How Did It All Get Started?
Was there a first first time?
The Bible tells us that we were formed by God from the dust of the ground. The video by Louie Schartzberg shows us just how creative that dust is.
The dust comes alive, turning into mountains and valleys, hills and plateaus. When the dust is moistened by the mist and enlivened by God's breathing, we humans emerge, breathed into existence by the divine breath of life.
We are God-breathed dustlings. Our bodies are like soft clay, molded by the world around us: the air we breathe, the plants we eat, the water we drink, and relationships we enjoy.
And there's a beckoning inside our own consciousnesness -- a kind of breathing -- by which we feel called, moment by moment, to become our better selves.
This beckoning is the presence of God inside us. The teacher is also within other living beings. As the butterly flaps her wings she, too, is responding to the inner teacher.
God is in her desire to live with satisfaction relative to the situation at hand. God is in her declaration to the universe: "I am somebody, too."
Always we and the butterflies are breathed by God in this way. God created the world and still creates the world, not by manipulation but by breathing.
It is this breathing that moved over the face of the waters at the dawn of creation. God did not form the stars and planets with hands but rather with love and a desire for companionship.
God needed the world in order to be God. God breathed the world into existence, and the world breathes God into the fulness of life. They are breathing together.
God did not create the world out of nothing. God created out of breathing.
The breathing is like music, too. Music can call us and challenge us and console us and surprise us; but it does not force us to respond.
Even at the outset of our cosmic epoch -- some thirteen billion years ago --there was a primordial and creative energy from which God created the universe into existence. This creative energy had no beginning in time. God is a mother who carries within her womb a creative energy which was more than her in some ways and part of her in other ways.
The origin of the universe does not lie in a first moment, prior do thiwhc there was nothing, but rather in a continous creation that has no strict temporal beginning, but that is always coming into exisence. Sometimes what emerges from this process is beautiful and sometimes terrifying.
Our trust is not that all things happen for the good of the human, but rather that, no matter what happens, there is a spirit at work in the world who loves all creatures, including us. Our salvation lies in the ways that our own experiences are woven into the ongoing memory of this deeper Mind, who loves all creatures. There's a melody within the moisture. It sounds like the wind. It is God's breathing.