In every ancient religion’s account of creation, the sun was lit, the stars were formed, and the universe ordered.
Almost every account included a succession of events, all adding up to a chaotic, yet neatly packaged creation. In chapter one of Genesis, God placed everything into order. Starting off in verse one, God was creating spaces for the Heavens and the Earth. Verse two shows that heaven was complete, and Earth was “formless and empty,” words full of darkness and depth…signs of chaos. There is one ominous phrase that describes the Potter and his untouched mass of clay waiting to be formed and fired:
“The Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
These steps in creation were spiritual happenings. God’s pure will brought things into existence. Verse three begins with, “Let there be Light.” The light appeared, and was good.
In Hebrew, ‘good’ is transliterated into tobe (toe-bay). Tobe is an adjective that is in no short measure describing God’s perception of his creation, good. The brevity and simplicity of his perception is what is so powerful here. God’s infamy was summed up in his own opinion. Good. There was darkness already, so God brought light and separated it from the darkness. The light was “day,” and the darkness, “night.” There was evening and then morning.
For a brief time, all that existed was light. It flooded creation for that single moment, and to create the darkness, a clear line of separation had to be drawn. God created the order in which things were not only to exist, but he also created the order so that humans could measure time itself. All of this happened for the benefit of our understanding, God created a measured moment, perfectly symmetrical.
“God created the heavens and the earth”
Time was shaped by taking the very first event, and separating that event from the next. Light came into being. It was two entirely different events, defined by the space between them. God caused these events to happen in time. He had begun a rhythm.
This perfect union of will and life was a strange, new music; both perfect and beautiful. From the first evening, and morning, ending on the noontime of the second day, the world had begun to propel through time. He took another moment to notice that his work was good. Whether each creation day was one 24-hour day or an unbelievably long expanse of years, by our perception, makes no difference. It happened.
God caused the order. He made the spaces, He separated the notes, He gave the relief to the Earth between manipulations.
He not only commanded time into existence, but was gracious enough to create the perception that time even exists. Humans have a really difficult time understanding disordered things. How could we understand total chaos? We need systems to have trust and believe. God wanted us to get what he was doing. We need things broken up into understandable events, with spaces between them. As was the oral tradition on Moses’ time, the most common form of measurement of time was by the day. To explain the creation account, Moses recorded not only what God told Him to write, but he recorded a story that made sense. His timing is impeccable.
Meanwhile, our lives are deeply affected by the sound of music. For some, country music could be atrocious to listen to. For others, it could be the heavenly sound of slide guitar chords and a twangy voice that lights their fire. How we perceive it is a matter of opinion, to say the least.
Each day in Genesis was a creation of his spirit in time. The spiritual moments were perfect and were perceived by God to be at the very least, good.
“The heavens and the earth were completed in all of their vast array.”
His rhythm of creating for six days continued into its seventh day. If the Creation week were written out as a piece of sheet music, it would hold a rest in its seventh measure. Because of his perfect timing, we now have a supportive environment to live in. God gave time its identity by ordering life as events on a path separated by spaces. I’m guessing that he loved every minute of it.
I offer you a simple discernment between music and noise. Noise is constant, unwavering sound with no spaces. Music, however, offers dynamic movements and spaces separating sounds. It’s the space between the notes that makes a song take shape.
In between these spaces are notes of sound. Long, short, reverberating, ethereal, loud and soft notes defining the feel and actual impact of the song.
As music is defined as sound in time, our lives are defined as events in time. We are born, we meet friends, we realize who God is, we get married, we have jobs, add in a couple of kids, some ups and downs, and then we die. Each life has a beginning, various movements, crescendos and decrescendos and a coda.
The tempo or speed of a song is set by the instructional Italian words written on a piece of sheet music. Adagio denotes a slower, more flowing performance. Allegro encourages a fast and peppy pace.
God alone knows the speed of the account of creation recorded in the Bible. There weren’t eyewitnesses to see if it took seven, twenty-four hour periods, or if it took seven large periods of time. I believe that the intention of the writer, Moses, was to convey that God’s rhythm had created something. The point is that he set the tempo, and accomplished the task. It was done according to his tempo. In His perfect combination of rhythm and timing, His music happened. The spaces between the days were for our benefit to understand what he had done. The same idea of tempo applies to each of our lives as well. God can accomplish an inordinate amount of work in a very short span of time in a person’s life when they live by his rhythm and tempo, instead of their own. As the conductor, God directs the scores of our lives in his timing.
NT Wright believes that being the composer of life is a key role God plays. As the composer, he actively directs the events in the order that they are to appear, and the timing in which they are to be carried out. God’s hands pulled into being the rhythm and the tempo with which we would take in our own first breath at birth. Had this order and timing not been created, our existence would have been a formless chaos without a beginning or an end, and completely purposeless.
There have been moments for each of us where we’ve wished for time to speed up or to slow down. No matter how we try, though, we can’t stop the song that God has started. We are part of his music through the events that happen because his extraordinary will is colliding with our existence.
God is the God of not only heaven and earth, but of time as well. The songs of our lives will only become more artistically deep as we include God’s timing in place of our own schedule. This is what makes the lives we lead remarkable. Living the events of our lives by God’s rhythm and tempo is a strange and beautiful music.
A strange music to some, yet ultimately beautiful to Him.
 Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.
 Wright, N. T. Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense. San Francisco, CA: Harper San Francisco, 2006. Print.
This is an excerpt from The Soundtrack of Your Life
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