Archive for the ‘Psalm 8’ Category

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Psalm 8: The Greatness Of God, The Dignity Of Man

February 1, 2013

How great is your name, Lord, through all the earth.

How great is your name, O Lord our God,

through all the earth!

Your majesty is praised above the heavens;

on the lips of children and of babes

you have found praise to foil your enemy,

to silence the foe and the rebel.

When I see the heavens, the work of your hands,

the moon and the stars which you arranged,

what is man that you should keep him in mind,

mortal man that you care for him?

Yet you have made him little less than a god;

with glory and honour you crowned him,

gave him power over the works of your hand,

put all things under his feet.

All of them, sheep and cattle,

yes, even the savage beasts,

birds of the air, and fish

that make their way through the waters.

How great is your name, O Lord our God

through all the earth!

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,

as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,

world without end.

Amen.

How great is your name, Lord, through all the earth.

The Impulse Of Art And The Uniqueness Of Man
Monkeys did not begin pictures and men finish them; Pithecanthropus did not draw a reindeer badly and Homo Sapiens draw it well. The higher animals did not draw better and better portraits; the dog did not paint better in his best period than in his early bad manner as a jackal; the wild horse was not an Impressionist and the race-horse a Post-Impressionist. All we can say of this notion of reproducing things in shadow or representative shape is that it exists nowhere in nature except in man; and that we cannot even talk about it without treating man as something separate from nature.

In other words, every sane sort of history must begin with man as man, a thing standing absolute and alone. How he came there, or indeed how anything else came there, is a thing for theologians and philosophers and scientists and not for historians. But an excellent test case of this isolation and mystery is the matter of the impulse of art. This creature was truly different from all other creatures; because he was a creator as well as a creature. Nothing in that sense could be made in any other image but the image of man.

But the truth is so true that, even in the absence of any religious belief, it must be assumed in the form of some moral or metaphysical principle….The simplest truth about man is that he is a very strange being; almost in the sense of being a stranger on the earth. In all sobriety, he has much more of the external appearance of one bringing alien habits from another land than of a mere growth of this one. He has an unfair advantage and an unfair disadvantage. He cannot sleep in his own skin; he cannot trust his own instincts.

He is at once a creator moving miraculous hands and fingers and a kind of cripple. He is wrapped in artificial bandages called clothes; he is propped on artificial crutches called furniture. His mind has the same doubtful liberties and the same wild limitations. Alone among the animals, he is shaken with the beautiful madness called laughter; as if he had caught sight of some secret in the very shape of the universe hidden from the universe itself.

Alone among the animals he feels the need of averting his thought from the root realities of his own bodily being; of hiding them as in the presence of some higher possibility which creates the mystery of shame. Whether we praise these things as natural to man or abuse them as artificial in nature, they remain in the same sense unique.
G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

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