[Rough Draft]

A weblog about god, doubt, insomnia, culture, baseball

1.21.2005

ellie and the animals

out of the ground the lord god formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. (gen. 2.19)

until today, i thought i understood what that verse meant. even more importantly, i thought i understood what it implied. and then renee' got sick and i took a day off work to stay w/ ellie grace.

for christmas or a birthday or something, someone gave elmo this little plastic noah's ark play thingy, complete w/ two animals of every kind (on a side note, i've always thought it a bit odd that so many children's play sets and picture books and bed spreads and whatnot have a "noah's ark" theme, when the story itself, heilsgeschichte aside, is about holocaust and judgment). today i was sitting in the floor of her room, just watching her play w/ whatever was @ hand, and she decided to bring the ark and its inhabitants over to me. the ark opens on a little hinge for all the animals to spill out onto the floor to be collected and put back and re-emptied ad infinitum. i flicked the hinge, the animals spilled out, and ellie pulled up a chunk of floor across from me, spread-legged, and waited. i picked up the first animal, a rhino, and held it up for ellie to see. "ah-nah-si-sus," she spurted gleefully. then a brown bear: "teddy!" in rapid succession, "ki-cah" (it was a lion, but kitty cat is close enough); "raff" (giraffe); "pan" (panda). she came up w/ something for "alligator," too, but i was laughing too hard to hear.

so, to my point. steve brown says "all of life is crafted to illustrate bible doctrine," and there are these little flashes i get to see every day just by being ellie's pop. sure, it was just my kid in the floor w/ plastic toys and an underdeveloped grasp of the english language; but i immediately thought about genesis 2 and the story of adam and the animals. "whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name." why is that in the creation story? if the point of it all is to demonstrate that we worship the creator god, the king above all kings, then it would seem that adam's naming of the animals is superfluous. not so. the stories are there to show us something about god, but it's not just that he created the heavens and earth ex nihilo and, therefore, rightly deserves our worship. it's much more. it seems to me that it's a king delegating authority to a subject so that his glory will be reflected back @ him through that subject's actions. it's a poet moved by his own poem. in a sermon i listened to recently, dr. tim keller quoted c. s. lewis' conclusion to the weight of glory, and i'll quote him here:

it is written: we shall stand before him. the promise of glory is the promise, almost incredible and only possible by the work of christ, that any of us who really choose shall please god. to please god, to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness, to be loved by god, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in her work, or as a father delights in his son. it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain, but so it is. it means good report with god, acceptance, response, acknowledgment and welcome into the heart of things. the door @ which we have been knocking all our lives will open to us @ last.
"ah-nah-si-sus." i'd never have thought of that.

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