Sunday, October 15, 2006


ghorgh jIH qel lIj chal, the vum vo' lIj nItlhDu', the maS je the Hovmey, nuq SoH ghaj ordained

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, The moon
and the stars, wich you have ordained (Psalm 8:3)

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Spacecraft from planet Earth have fanned out, to study stars, planets, as well as the land and weather on planet Earth. Among the various targets of these robotic explorers, at least one of them was used to uncover "the fingerprints of God." At least, that is how George Smoot, one of the winners of this year's Nobel Prize in physics described the results of the Cosmic Background Explorer satellite that he worked to develop. He and his colleagues used these results to demonstrate how the Big Bang yielded a Universe full of diverse structures. And by calling this "the fingerprints of God" he proved at least, that the Bible is not alone in using poetic language in describing the Universe.

But what's clear here is that the Psalmist declares that the heavens - all we can see is a "work" SOMEbody MADE it - no question.

We can see in the poetry of this verse that we're not given literal blueprints in the Bible - no one would think the Psalm speaks of literal "fingers of God" molding the stars and planets - rather there is the assertion of intention and plan; craftsmanship, if you will.

Some cosmologists will speak of this craftsmanship in scientific terms, referring to the anthropic principle - the fact that this Universe appears to be deliberatly crafted for occupation, as one writer notes

More specifically, the values of the various forces of nature appear to be fine-tuned for the existence of intelligent life. The world is conditioned principally by the values of the fundamental constants .... When one mentally assigns different values to these constants or forces, one discovers that in fact the number of observable universes, that is to say, universes capable of supporting intelligent life, is very small. Just a slight variation in any one of these values would render life impossible.

There is a Klingon sort of directness in the Bible: This directness is evident in the fact that the Bible never presents us with "proofs of the existence of God." The ways we moderns analyze such arguments never appears in the text. God simply IS. The scriptures don't present a case, or evidence, as much as they start with the axiom that God IS, and proceed to present us in history, poetry and more, what that means to our lives.

So it is with creation - it is understood from the start that God is the author of our Universe, and the Word moves forward from there to consider what that means. In this third verse of Psalm 8, David begins quite simply

jIH qel lIj chal, the vum vo' lIj nItlhDu'

I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers

The Hebrew word for work here is ma-aseh. It is what's called a mem-formation noun, and it comes from the Hebrew verb asah, with the letter mem prefixed. Asah means to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application. It appears over 2000 times in Scripture, and is seen first in Genesis 1:7 "And God made the firmament."

For "work" I've used the Klingon verb meaning "to work": vum. We don't know whether it CAN be a noun, though some Klingon verbs may be used as their counterpart noun. The alternative would be to construct a noun, as Klingon has something like mem-formation, a -ghach suffix, that marks a verb as a noun. Maybe "vumtaHghach," thing-of-on-going-work could be used here? That's a little awkward, and the dual noun/verb nature of the English word "work" led me to simply make the verb fit the purpose for the KLV's rough process.

In another Psalm we read:

The chal declare the batlh vo' joH'a'. The expanse shows Daj handiwork.

The heavens declare the glory of God. The expanse shows his handiwork Psalm 19:1

Beginning from this premise in no way precludes our investigation into the mechanics of this creation. Rather such study it should become a delight to believers - for we have the opportunity in searching the marvels of the cosmos, to see the vast creative riches God has spread before us. As we'll see in the next verse, this is a source of great awe to David - and gives him pause to consider his place in it all.

No, you're not going to find literal fingerprints in the sky, or deep in you DNA - yet to the heart of faith, we can look on God's handiwork, rejoice and give thanks.

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