God’s I-Pod: The Universe.

August 3, 2009

“I have such a craving for the music of heaven.”   Frances Ridley Havergal

I absolutely love to sing. In the shower. In my car with or without the radio. While I’m working with any loud equipment, like a lawnmower, that deceptively makes me think no one can hear me; I just belt it out. I am convinced that deep in my heart of hearts there is a maestro directing the rhythms and melodies of my moods and the tempo of my life. Unfortunately, to the dismay of my children, he has not found his way up to my lungs and vocal chords, and what comes out is something less than music. It’s okay, though; doesn’t the Psalmist tell us to “make a joyful noise”? And that is where the heart of song is for me: in worship. I love to read the word, I love to speculate, theologize and philosophize about how God’s amazing creation all works, but when I just want to be with my Savior, when I just want to know or be know by the God of the Universe, I sing to Him. There is no better way to connect with my God than worship. For when we lift up our voice to Him, he sings with us and right back to us; it is the equivalency of a mother singing a lullaby to her baby boy and a father dancing with his little girl. It is intimacy.

Even though Jesus just loves to hear the joy of his people in their praise to him, despite how pleasant it may or may not be to the human ear, I am absolutely convinced that our God just plain loves music in general. Think about it. It is all over his creation. First, just consider the human existence. Everyone who’s ever or never been in love has a song of longing in their hearts. The difference is whether it is full of lamentation or full of sappiness. Humans add music to everything they do. If we’re working out or getting pumped up for a fight, we want Rage Against the Machine or Linkin Park. If we’re trying to convince someone we love them or just get into their pants, we want Marvin Gaye or Otis Redding. If we think we’re going to change the world with our next fad movement, we want Bob Dylan or Counting Crows. If we just want to chill at the beach or a barbeque, we take Dave Matthews or the Alman Brothers along with us. You get the point. This passion for song is in every country and every culture in the world. The melodies and the instruments might change, but humans have an inner need to express themselves through song. You can take this all the way back to the beginning. Cain’s grandson, Jubal, “was the father of all who play the harp and flute” (Gen. 4:19). Were we not made in the image of God? God loves and delights in music!

Just listen. Turn off your i-pod, the television, close up your laptop. Try to find genuine silence. It doesn’t exist. God has music playing all around us. Listen deeply to the rhythm and melody of the universe. Turn off your air conditioner and open your windows early in the morning. You will find the birds performing a symphony for our God, or are they doing it for us on His behalf? Listen to the gentle melody of the wind flowing through the leaves, feel the rhythm of the rain falling on your body, hide from the thunderous crescendo of a lightning storm! Float along to the sound of a bubbling brook, or fiercely try to master the violent rhythm and roar of the rapids. Travel to the ocean and play in the rhythmic pounding of the waves. Even the great whales underneath the deep sing out their songs! I love the movie August Rush. In it the main character, an orphaned child, finds music in everything. Whether he is in a quiet field, or a busy city block, he takes what those of us on a lower plane of existence would consider noise, and in his mind he hears and creates an amazing symphony of sound. I think God is like that. He has a designed and composed rhythm and melody of the universe constantly at play all the time. And it is deeper than you might think.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2). Music is another facet of nature that speaks to mankind of the existence of God. The Apostle Paul spends a great deal of time in the beginning of his letter to the Romans explaining that even those who never had a chance to be taught about God, should still have a basic understanding of his existence just through the glory of his creation. In addition to how perfectly seasons work together to produce crops for us, or the majesty of mountain views, flower petals, and sunsets, God has knit music into his creation at the deepest levels, just as he has knit it into the human heart. Music is another way for us to connect with him and be secure in our existence with him in eternity. And now, in my opinion, science is proving this to be more true than ever.

I don’t know how God created or designed the universe in the beginning. I wasn’t there. Genesis testifies that he simply spoke it into existence. What that looked like, or how it worked at the sub-atomic particle level, we will never know, unless He chooses to reveal it to us in the coming age. According to scientists who put their faith in the Big Bang Theory, the big bang apparently caused cosmic microwaves of background radiation that flow around us and through space to this day as the universe continues to expand. These cosmic waves all vibrate at different frequencies. Think about what sound is. In layman’s terms, it is just the vibration of matter creating noise through waves that travel through the air into our ears. Now, these cosmic waves vibrate at too low a frequency for us to hear, but they are all making different notes and different sounds at the same time. Brian Greene, a physicist from Columbia University, calls these waves flowing together “cosmic harmonies.” Turns out, even black holes have different frequencies, one has been measured as a Bb! Also, consider ideas being generated in the study of Quantum Physics. According to String Theory, all particles at the sub-atomic level are connected together by “strings.” These strings that run between the particles that make up all matter in the universe all vibrate. How does a guitar string make a note? You pluck it, and it vibrates. How does a violin string make a note? You run the bow over it, and it vibrates. All these particles that go beyond even the molecular level create notes that create music. We just can’t hear it with our human ears. Greene states, “If string theory is correct, at the heart of matter is music.”

Think about it. Let it sink in. From the grandest cosmic level to the tiniest particles that we are aware of, everything in the universe is making music. The Lord is such an amazing and creative being, that when he designed our universe, he not only made it work to provide for our carnal bodies, not only made it beautiful to behold, but he has made a symphony of sound that is constantly making music simply to please him (and perhaps the angels!). How amazing, and why not? Think about the intricate beauty of a flower petal up close, or how when the sun hit’s a certain landscape just right, or the shape and color of sunsets from different perspectives. Now think about how there are places in the world that no human being has ever been present at these moments, yet the beauty was still displayed. Why? To praise and glorify God. Simply for his pleasure at the work of his hands. Why wouldn’t God create music that we simply can’t hear, at least in this present age, for his own good pleasure? We do it. Does every song that was written get recorded and go out to the masses? How many musicians have spontaneously composed the most beautiful sounds as they bare their souls through their instruments, but they kept the moment to themselves? God, our Creator, is the ultimate scientist, the ultimate artist, and the ultimate musician. The Universe is his symphony that declares his glory. Will you listen for it? Better yet, will you join in? “Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy!” (Psalm 98:7-8). When Jesus said that if we keep quiet and do not praise him “the stones will cry out” (Luke 19:40), who would ever have guessed that he was speaking literally?

 

Greene, Brian. Interview: The Music Instinct: Science & Song. Written and directed by, Elena Mannes. Ed. Donna Marino. Mannes Productions Inc. 2008.

 

Peter L Richardson

July 15, 2009

 

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6 Responses to “God’s I-Pod: The Universe.”

  1. lamie ziegenhorn Says:

    Pete….wow…I totally agree with you..thanks for saying it so well…I think you’re on to something!!!

  2. Casey Says:

    Hey, nice read, thanks for the e-mail, and I look forward to seeing you in a few weeks

  3. Jessica Says:

    Absolutely. When I was in Africa I wanted to play with the kids in this village, but obviously there was a big language barrier. I decided to start singing and teach them some hand motions. Suddenly the differences between us melted away and we were laughing together while they tried to sing the children’s song with me and keep up with the hand motions.

    It was transcendent. It was fun. It was a valuable part of the human experience as we realized we were more alike than not.

    Truly music is the universal language. And I’d go so far as to throw in dance and humor as well:)

    • peterrock12 Says:

      True that! Unfortunately, my dancing is about as good as my singing! But I can laugh with the best of them…

  4. andree seu Says:

    Peter, Thank you for these thoughts. I have been thinking along the same lines these days. There is something profound and mystical here. Your thoughts on string theory are especially intriguing.

    The words we speak — or sing — are always either in agreement with God or with demons. THere is no middle ground. When we “echo” God in our speech, i believe we create entry points for his blessing in our lives.

    As for publishing, i am ignorant of it and the blog world. I’m sorry to disappoint you. I hope my colleagues will have counsel for you.

    Andree Seu


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