Thursday, October 25, 2012

Energy and Order

      In Genesis 1 God creates order out of chaos.  The original conditions were inhospitable to life—there was complete darkness, utter emptiness, no land, nothing but a raging wind over a restless sea.  Then God proceeds to bring order to the chaos—he creates light, he pushes  the sea back to allow the land to show, and he fills the emptiness with trees, fish, beasts and humans.  Order out of chaos.
But he doesn’t rid the earth of chaos, he simply restrains it.  But it is still there.  At any given time half the earth is in darkness.  Hurricanes form and the wind and sea rages, imposing itself over the dry land.  Tornadoes drop out of the sky, tear a path through the land, and recede back into the sky.  Rain falls for days, sending rivers over their banks; or it doesn’t fall at all, turning the landscape from lush green to dry brown.
But these are normal events.  Though they seem random and episodic, they are all quite common—and necessary.  Hurricanes and tornados regulate the earth’s surface temperatures, dissipating excess heat into the atmosphere.  Floods enrich the soil in the floodplains, bringing life everything living nearby.   In fact, engineering to contain flooding on the Mississippi  has had the unintended effect of creating more damage when there are floods, due to higher water levels and faster flows.  They also  are reducing the wetlands at the mouth of the river, leading to encroachment by the Gulf of Mexico northward. 
In other words, chaos is as necessary to life as order.  It helps to understand that what we call chaos is simply uncontrolled energy, and that’s not always such a bad thing.  Energy is a good thing.  Life is energy.   The soul is about energy.  There is only one body that does not have energy, and that is a dead one, and a dead body has no soul.  It has no energy.  Think about music.  Music that has no soul lacks energy, lacks the ability to move us.  The music that is so often heard in airports, supermarkets, and elevators is soulless.  It does nothing to you.  It doesn’t stir you.  It is just filler.  But certain music does stir you.  It is full of energy—what the Greeks called eros. 
The soul gives energy, but it also holds us together.  It makes us alive, but it also makes us one.  Once again, look at a dead body.  At the moment of death, all the chemicals that work together to form a single organism begin to go their own way.  As they fall away from each other, the body starts to fall apart.  This is the essence of decomposition.  The chemicals aren’t destroyed, they just don’t hold together anymore.
A healthy soul does two things for us.  First, it puts fire in our veins.  It keeps us energized, vibrant, zestful, and full of hope that life is worth living.  When this breaks down, something is wrong with our souls.  Cynicism, despair, bitterness and depression paralyze our energy.  Second, a healthy soul keeps us fixed together.  It gives us a sense of who we are, where we came from, where we are going, and what sense there is in all of this.  It holds us together as one.  So a healthy soul is a combination of energy and order, and each must be given its due.  Too much order and you die of suffocation; too much energy and you die of dissipation. 
That raging wind that blew over the restless sea in Genesis 1?  In Hebrew that word is ruach, and that same word is used for the Holy Spirit.  In fact many translations say that the Spirit of God was upon the face of the deep.  Jesus said, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."  You cannot control the Spirit, or a person infused with the Spirit.  And that same Spirit makes us one.   “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.”  (Eph. 4:4-6)
The Holy Spirit is both Energy and Order.  Our souls need both.

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