Friday, January 10, 2014

Enthusiasm: Possessed by God


Do you want people to hear what you say?  Write and 1024px-thumbnailspeak with enthusiasm.  Enthusiasm comes from the Greek, meaning inspired by God, motivated by God, possessed by God.  And how exactly do you get inspired?  For me the inspiration comes in two ways:  from spending time with God and from words I read or hear spoken or sung. 

Lately I have pursued a subject for which I had no enthusiasm.  A friend brought it up at dinner with no resolution between two sides.  And it’s not something I can satisfactorily resolve in a short essay.  But here’s the crux:  one friend believes most sincerely and literally in a six-day creation about 6000 years ago.  She believes this based on Genesis 1:1-2:4. She asked me to admit that Genesis is a book of history, which I did, hesitantly, in order to give a fuller explanation at a later time.

Sometimes answers are too complex and sometimes the questions asked are the wrong questions. 

History as we know it is a linear recitation of dates and events.  Then there is Genesis.  Few modern historians would call it a book of history.  It begins with a sort of prose poem or recitation containing repetitive phrases and introduced with words of beauty. 

In the beginning of God's preparing the heavens and the earth --  the earth hath existed waste and void, and darkness [is] on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttering on the face of the waters, and God saith, `Let light be;' and light is.  (Genesis 1:1-3, YLT)

The remainder of the book of Genesis contains cosmogony, genealogies, ancestor’s narratives, formal blessings and curses (destiny proclamations), conflict tales, 1 chapter of a battle account (chapter 14), and a narrative about the rise of a courtier to a position of power.  I have a problem calling it a history at all, unless you very loosely describe history as a group of writings about what happened in the past. History as a genre of writing did not exist until the Greeks.

What questions did the ancients ask? They believed that the sky was hard and held back water.  Why?  How else to explain it leaking rain drops?  Did the ancients ask the questions about the origin of the cosmos--a question  20 and 21st Century scientists strive to discover?  Did they act as scientists before science existed?  Or did they observe the light and give thanks that it lit the day for productive endeavors?  Did they use light and darkness and moon and stars to create a calendar—something useful?  (Yes, around 3500 B.C.)

The ancient Sumerians posited in their writings that the gods were the water and the earth.  The ancient Semitic peoples, the Jews, put one God at the forefront as producer and director of the cosmos.  And God called these Semitic people to Himself and made them the callers of the others.  But in neither case can 21st Century scientists use any of these writings in their investigation because the writings are not scientific and do not describe scientific processes.

Is the Bible therefore useless to science?  What do you think?  Science springs from observation, data collection, and organization, and positing theories until they are proved or dismissed.  The Bible speaks of God and his people and faith, which is the evidence of things that are not observed. 

And yet, science cannot be performed in a vacuum.  The Bible can be useful to scientists as they work with enthusiasm motivated by God exploring, investigating, and crediting God for the beauty of the discovery.  And the Bible answers the “why” questions while science answers the “how.”

So, whether you are a scientist, a manager, a chef, a warehouse worker, a painter, a mechanic, a poet, a data-entry operator, a firefighter, a doctor, or a teacher, do it all with the knowledge that God provides the beauty, the structure, and the function of your vocation.  Exercise your calling well, with grace, gratitude, and of course, enthusiasm.


Where do you find enthusiasm?