Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Darkness in Creation

A couple of weeks ago I blogged on the concept of dark matter in the segment, “Where’s the 96%?” I received many interesting responses in both email and blog comments. Of course, I received one from my esteemed Jewish friend who wants to remain anonymous (we’ll call him: Dr. E).

Usually I try to keep the topics light and not give too much info. However, Hebrew tradition is so rich that I wanted to share it with you in detail. Thank you for taking the time to deepen your knowledge of the gifts God has given to us.

Dr. E pointed out something very interesting. He reminded me of the Jewish version opening of the Bible in Genesis, “In the beginning of God’s creating the heavens and the earth—when the earth was astonishingly empty with darkness upon the surface of the deep, and the Divine Presence hovered upon the surface of the waters—God said let there be light and there was light.” (Gen: 1:1-3)(The Chumash, the Art Scroll Series published by Mesorah Publications)

Darkness and Dark matter…pondering these words, Dr. E. asked the simple question, “Is the Bible telling us something that scientists are just now figuring out?”

Dr. E pointed out the Jewish word for darkness was choshech (the King James Version is choshek ( look up 2822)). When we break that down into its Hebrew letters, we get CHoSHeCH (when CH appears at the end of a Hebrew word, then it is a final CHaf). The capital letters signify the Hebrew consonants while the lower case letters address the vowels. Since the Hebrew alphabet does not include vowels, they are added with elements around the consonants.

After our discussion, I went to my Hebrew sources to review the meanings of the individual letters. Mystical Hebrew tradition takes each letter seriously and I hoped that it would reveal some interesting thoughts on the darkness that covered the earth at creation and the 96% of darkness that exists out in the universe.

Today I present just a few thoughts on what I found.

I start with (SH) first because there is a Hebrew thought that it relates to three separate units that when combined “result in completeness.” This spoke to me as the Trinity, so I started there.

SH-Y-N (SH) “stands high among the Sacred Letters (the Hebrew Alphabet) because it represents two names of God: the All-Sufficient, Unlimited One and Peace.” (The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet: The Sacred Letters as a Guide to Jewish Deed and Thought, by Rabbi Michael Munk)

This means that God is the All-Sufficient Creator; He needed no one to create the universe or the things in it. The Lord created an ever-expanding cosmos that seems unlimited to us, as He is the Unlimited One. To grasp the universe is to grasp our Creator…all knowing, all encompassing. Did you know that there is a letter SH-Y-N on the doorpost of every Jewish house? It represents the following, “Let God be present in this home. Let there be peace.” (The Book of Letters: A Mystical Alef-beit, by Lawrence Kushner.)

The first two letters, (CH) sounds like CHe-T, and is described as “the agony of a soul torn apart from itself,” (The Book of Letters: A Mystical Alef-beit).

If we are made in the image and likeness of God—then this also corresponds to how God feels about being apart from us, as well as us being apart from God. Our Lord desperately wants us to be with Him, yet he ultimately gave us the gift of free will leaving that decision to each person individually.

The Wisdom of the Hebrew Alphabet also imparts the idea, “By dedicating himself to the service of God, man can resolve the contradiction between human endeavor and trust in Him.”

In other words, if we dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of God, we will be able to tell the difference between the useless quest of our own wishes and those that come from the Lord. Many times when we are in darkness, we do not see God’s wishes, but our own.

Perhaps the most intriguing letter is the final CH or as transliterated, CHa-F. According to The Book of Letters: A Mystical Alef-beit, CHa-F symbolizes “the palm of a hand filled with sincerity (Kavannah).” The Hebrew Alphabet: A Mystical Journey (by E. Hoffman) describes kavannah or kavana as a “one-pointedness of mind”, willpower, intentionality, and transcendental awareness.

My interpretation of one-pointedness is that God created us for Him. If we keep our eyes fixed on Him and our eyes fixed on the goal, we keep life in perspective. When we remove our gaze from our goal of Heaven and reaching God, our life simply takes on a less meaningful posture.

What do all these Hebrew reflections offer with regard to darkness? Within the original darkness that God created, He brought forth light. But within that darkness, He gives us His sincere love in every aspect of creation, whether it is the beautiful flower in front of us, or the forming star in a distant universe.

Although there is darkness, God does not leave us alone in it. We may not understand that 96% of the universe, but if we look at it from God’s eyes, if we keep our eyes fixed on Him, the Lord reveals to us His light and love.


Kay Day said...

This is good. It is a lot to think about and may even help me with my book.

Athol Dickson blogged something really cool about the Hebrew letters of God's name. His blog is linked on mine. It is the post previous to the current one.

Robbie Iobst said...

Usually when I think of darkness, I think of stars or boogie men or the negative aspects of it like the seediness that takes place in hidden areas. But thank you Loretta! I see that darkness is an aspect of God and his might and love and desperate desire for us. Very interesting Hebrew stuff. The aspects of God's identity are infinite!

Jan Parrish said...

Though we have discovered so much, there is so yet to be discovered. God knows we need to be stimulated and challenged. I love the fact that there is so much left to learn. Don't you?