Saturday, July 22, 2023

The Creator of All Things

 Theologians often use the term The Creator of All Things in reference to God. This term enriches our understanding of the Supreme Being. It includes His creation of the dimensions of time, space, energy, and matter. These dimensions originated “In The Beginning.” The creation and relationship of these four dimensions is an inscrutable truth. 

God created ALL things—physical things, as well as the four dimensions mentioned above. He created ALL things for the enjoyment of humanity. I Timothy 6:17 counsels us, “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.

Our Creator has bestowed the gift of music on humanity. God created musical geniuses from the Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and 20th century eras. God created humanity with musical aptitude and talent. We could even say He created music, art, and sculpture for our enjoyment. Likewise, we credit God with creating tech talents for humanity.   

Throughout the history of music, talented musicians have produced inspiring compositions. Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) composed numerous works in various  musical styles including two oratorios. The better known oratorio is The Creation, composed about 1800. This is a lengthy musical work for choir, soloists, and instrumental ensembles. It is one of the great masterpieces of Haydn’s choral/orchestral repertoire.

This musical masterpiece focuses on God’s creation, described in the first few chapters in Genesis. The oratorio deals with (I) the creation of Earth’s physical features from the original “water world” and the creation of plant life, (II) the creation of animal life, and (III) the creation of Adam and Eve. It features arias, recitatives, and choral selections. 

  •        *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

We recall personal family events from the post World War II years of 1947-1952. The small religious denomination to which our family belonged sponsored family summer camps in various states. The camps afforded opportunities for expanded ministry sometimes unavailable in their home churches. One treasured camp yearbook produced by church members in 1949 relates the following incident from one of the church camps. We reprint an excerpt verbatim from my personal tribute ‘letter to the editor’ published in our local northwest Illinois newspaper in 2017:

“My personal recollections of Bob Michel extend to the days shortly after he returned from his heroic military service in World War II. His Peoria (IL) family were members of the Apostolic Christian Church denomination. Following World War II the church leadership sponsored national summertime family camps in various states. I remember three camps from 1947-1949 where Bob, a young man in his mid-20s, was enlisted by camp leaders for his marvelous musical talent. He directed the 100-voice camp choir. As a pre-teen from New York State I especially remember the 1948 and 1949 gatherings where Bob displayed his talent as a baritone-bass soloist and in a few short days helped the choir produce classic choral anthems at a high performance level.

Quoting from the now-yellowing 1949 camp yearbook entry from Aug.1: ‘Our hard-working friend, Bob Michel, loses no time in getting the camp choir started. With zest he attacks the toughest wrinkles in rhythm and harmony, correcting our blunders good-naturedly.’ A later entry in that yearbook from Aug. 7 states, ‘As the audience sits very quietly in expectation, the choir continues its program under the direction of Bob Michel with his wife, Corrine, at the piano…The choir sings the following selections: Exaltation, Hallelujah Amen, Pilgrims Chorus, O Lord Most Holy, The Creation (The Heavens Are Telling), and Great and Glorious. These are challenging anthems for any choir to master, not to mention summer choristers assembling at church camp for just a few days.’

I recall entering the camp auditorium and listening to Bob Michel’s summer camp choir singing The Heavens Are Telling in 1948 or 1949 as a selection at their closing concert. The memory of that experience has remained with me for many decades. The text of that choral selection Follows:

     The Heavens are telling the glory of God, 

     The wonder of His work displays the firmament.

     In all the lands resounds the word,

     Never unperceived, Ever understood…..

Robert H. Michel (1923-2017) served in the US House of Representatives for 38 years, serving as Republican Minority Leader from 1981-1995. He has been described as “a politician for the ages.” When he was a young man, he offered glory to God and called attention to the act of divine creation with his music at summer church camps.





Friday, July 14, 2023

It's In My Genes

 The statement “It’s in my genes” is sometimes used to rationalize both positive and negative personal traits. Another statement expresses a similar sentiment: “It’s in my DNA.” The topic of genetics is thereby assigned credit for many human physical traits, behaviors and functions. Are unique behavioral traits generally beyond our personal control? These questions have been posed by many behavioral scientists. In the medical profession, some specialists have developed expertise in diagnosing and treating rare genetic diseases. Other medical personnel can explain the genetic basis of diverse hair color, skin pigmentation, blood type, or dominant handedness.

Human genetics is a fascinating topic for study. When we understand human genetic heritage we become aware of God’s creative action described in Genesis 1:26: “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness…” After God created man, he gifted humanity with the ability to reproduce (Gen. 1:28). He also created all other species with the ability to reproduce.   

In our present day we may cite many citizens who are apparently dissatisfied with their physical genetic heritage. In some cases their responses go far beyond personal grooming presentations of hair color, tanning, body piercing, tattooing, cosmetic surgery, excessive dieting, and even the more extreme and controversial attempts at gender transitioning. In our day societal response to manifestations of personal genetic heritage range along a broad spectrum. The Creator has gifted humanity with free will and degrees of consciousness other life forms do not possess.  

Speaking of personal genetic heritage, the local church where we worship is populated by many young families just embarking upon child rearing. At the close of each Sunday service, the foyer is filled with many young parents with their very young children in tow. Many families in our church congregation have experienced the miracle of new human life. Here is our 2018 post entitled “Life’s Developmental Miracle, linked below:

One cannot observe young families without being aware of the miracle of reproduction and how they are conceived and develop. The miracle of human fetal development and birth gives us cause to worship the God of Creation who has authored life itself. Our planet teems with life. Our universe was created with the existence of human life as God’s ultimate creative goal. The presence of millions of other species on our planet may be regarded as a divine creative bonus. They supply  food for humans, not to mention enjoyment. The post above was the first in a sequence. Here is the second post:

We linked the above post to illustrate that the science of genomics (the study of an organism’s genome—the complete set of DNA-generated material) is a topic for advanced study. The DNA of humans is a complex and wonderful biomolecule, but knowledge of DNA is merely the beginning of the story! Epigenetics extends far beyond our knowledge of DNA. It posits that environmental factors such as diet, temperature, oxygen level, humidity, light cycles, and more harmful environmental factors such as drugs or other chemical substances such as tobacco and opioids, generate negative bodily effects.

Do human genetic characteristics result from our genes and our DNA? In the wisdom of our Creator genes and DNA are created entities in our physical body. In that sense we may pose the truth that the humorous statements “It’s in my genes” or “It’s in my DNA” are evidence of the creative activity of God.

Our Creator has also implanted consciousness in humanity. When we produced the following post, we were exulting in the birth of another grandson whose conscious interactions with his family were developing. We link one more post from 2014:

Life is a miracle. We give thanks to the God of miracles.