The Song of Creation

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the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy”

In the darkness something was happening at last. A voice had begun to sing. It was very far away and Digory found it hard to decide from what direction it was coming. Sometimes it seemed to come from all directions at once. Sometimes he almost thought it was coming out of the earth beneath them. Its lower notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise he had ever heard. It was so beautiful he could hardly bear it. The horse seemed to like it too; he gave the sort of whinney a horse would give if, after years of being a cab-horse, it found itself back in the old field where it had played as a foal, and saw someone whom it remembered and loved coming across the field to bring it a lump of sugar.

“Gawd!” said the Cabby. “Ain’t it lovely?”

CS Lewis, The Magician’s Nephew

The concept of a Song of Creation – praising God for His Creation – echoes another ancient thought in the human mind, that of God singing his creation into being. That latter notion appears, as a shadow of a Divine truth, in The Magician’s Nephew, in Chatwin’s flawed work, The Songlines, in which it is the people of the land who sing their land into being.

Our literature and our sacred works are full of the idea of praising God’s works. In Beowulf, it is the song of Hrothgar’s bard, praising the works of God, which so angers Grendel that he attacks the mead hall; it has been said that “The Christian influence in Beowulf is a matter of transforming spirit, rather than of reference to doctrine or dogma“:

“…how the Almighty made the earth,

fairest fields enfolded by water,

set, triumphant, sun and moon

for a light to lighten the land-dwellers,

and braided bright the breast of earth

with limbs and leaves, made life for all

of mortal beings that breathe and move.”

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In the Song of the Three Young Men, in the Apocrypha, shown here in full, the exhortations to bless and praise the Lord run from the fundamentals of creation to the human singers….in a form similar to that in the Book of Job :

Bless the Lord, all works of the Lord,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
36 Bless the Lord, you heavens,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.

[…]
60 Bless the Lord, you sons of men,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
61 Bless the Lord, O Israel,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
62 Bless the Lord, you priests of the Lord,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
63 Bless the Lord, you servants of the Lord,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
64 Bless the Lord, spirits and souls of the righteous,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
65 Bless the Lord, you who are holy and humble in heart,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.
66 Bless the Lord, Hanani′ah, Azari′ah, and Mish′ael,
    sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever;
for he has rescued us from Hades and saved us from the hand of death,
    and delivered us from the midst of the burning fiery furnace;
    from the midst of the fire he has delivered us.

and how near is this to the exultant beauty of Psalm 104, here in the King James Version:

104 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty.

Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.

At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

16 The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

17 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.

19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.

21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.

22 The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.

23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.

24 O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.

26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.

28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.

29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

31 The glory of the Lord shall endure for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works.

32 He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.

33 I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.

35 Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the Lord, O my soul. Praise ye the Lord.

And the Song of the Three Young Men appears in the Liturgy of the Hours as the Benedicite:

BENEDICITE, omnia opera Domini, Domino; laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.
BENEDICITE, caeli, Domino, benedicite, angeli Domini, Domino.
BENEDICITE, aquae omnes, quae super caelos sunt, Domino, benedicat omnis virtutis Domino.
BENEDICITE, sol et luna, Domino, benedicite, stellae caeli, Domino.
BENEDICITE, omnis imber et ros, Domino, benedicite, omnes venti, Domino.
BENEDICITE, ignis et aestus, Domino, benedicite, frigus et aestus, Domino.
BENEDICITE, rores et pruina, Domino, benedicite, gelu et frigus, Domino.
BENEDICITE, glacies et nives, Domino, benedicite, noctes et dies, Domino.
BENEDICITE, lux et tenebrae, Domino, benedicite, fulgura et nubes, Domino.
BENEDICAT terra Dominum: laudet et superexaltet eum in saecula.
BENEDICITE, montes et colles, Domino, benedicite, universa germinantia in terra, Domino.
BENEDICITE, maria et flumina, Domino, benedicite, fontes, Domino.
BENEDICITE, cete, et omnia, quae moventur in aquis, Domino, benedicite, omnes volucres caeli, Domino.
BENEDICITE, omnes bestiae et pecora, Domino, benedicite, filii hominum, Domino.
BENEDIC, Israel, Domino, laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.
BENEDICITE, sacerdotes Domini, Domino, benedicite, servi Domini, Domino.
BENEDICITE, spiritus et animae iustorum, Domino, benedicite, sancti et humiles corde, Domino.
BENEDICITE, Anania, Azaria, Misael, Domino, laudate et superexaltate eum in saecula.
BENEDICAMUS Patrem et Filium cum Sancto Spiritu; laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula.
BENEDICTUS es in firmamento caeli et laudabilis et gloriosus in saecula.
Amen.
And, in Revelation, there is an awful lot of singing being done: “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” Revelation 15:3-4
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Then two wonders happened at the same moment. One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. They were in harmony with it, but far higher up the scale: cold, tingling, silvery voices. The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out – single stars, constellations, and planets, brighter and bigger than any in our world. There were no clouds. The new stars and the new voices began at exactly the same time. If you had seen and heard it, as Digory did, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves which were singing, and that it was the First Voice, the deep one, which had made them appear and made them sing.

“Glory be!” said the Cabby. “I’d ha’ been a better man all my life if I’d known there were things like this.”

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This entry was posted in Apocrypha, Art, Books, God, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Song of Creation

  1. Music carries so many emotions within it. I cannot wait to hear the sound of heavenly music filled with the highest joy, praise, and love possible! It surely must be a beautiful sound!

    Like

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