Sunday, October 22, 2006

nuq 'oH jubbe'wI'pu''e'

nuq ghaH loD, vetlh SoH think vo' ghaH? nuq ghaH the puqloD vo' loD, vetlh SoH care vaD ghaH?

What is man, that you think of him? The son of man, that you care for him? Psalm 8:4

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Looking deep into the cosmos, David now looks back at himself, his people - to realize just how small and frail we are. Here in Psalm 8, contemplating all of creation makes him realize how insignificant we are - much like The Total Perspective Vortex,

in the fictional world of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is the most horrible torture device to which a sentient being can be subjected. Located on Frogstar World B, it shows its victim the entire unimaginable infinity of the universe with a very tiny marker that says "You Are Here" which points to a microscopic dot on a microscopic dot. {

nuq ghaH loD - What is man

asks David, and it's a good question. But first, we need to untangle some of the language.

The Hebrew here is "ma' enosh" what mortal? - the word enosh isn't "MAN" as in male - it is more properly "a mortal." That is how the New Living Translation renders the phrase: "what are mortals that you should think of us," and that isn't simply an exercise in inclusive language. "Enosh" is derived from the word 'anash: "to be frail, feeble, (figuratively) melancholy."

Our Klingon rendering "nuq ghaH loD" is a simple rendering of the English "what is man?" and while it might be made more correct (albeit clipped) Klingon as "nuq loD" - the word "loD" (man) incorrectly focusses on "man/male" - only correct if the Hebrew word were the literal one for man, ISH - and it isn't. Even the second phrase "son of man" or "ben adam" is not about sons, or men, but offspring, the descendants of humanity. In this vast Cosmos, should we truly meet other races like Klingons, this question should be presented in a more universal way.

nuq 'oH jubbe'wI'pu' 'e' Daqaw' 'ej qatlh ghot puqpu' Daqel?

what are mortals that you should think of us,
mere children that you should care for us? Psalm 8:4

What an incredible God! Look up tonight into the night sky, marvel at how this may make you feel small - yet God has not overlooked you, he remembers and cares for you today. And this IS the message of the Bible - that God DOES think of us, he does remember us and our plight. As little as we may deserve it, God cares for us, provides for us, and watches over us. Hallelujah!

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