Friday, November 02, 2007

His Mighty Firmament

North (Printer's Proof V)
Keith Jacobshagen
Lithograph 1990
Kiechel Fine Art

Praise the LORD!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
~Psalm 150:1

I have been fascinated by sky paintings and photos ever since our local art museum featured an exhibit comprised of sky photographs from each county in our state. The colors, cloud patterns, textures, and moods held endless fascination for me.

Biologist Lewis Thomas added to my fascination in his book, The Lives of a Cell. In it, he compares the atmosphere of the earth to the membrane of a single cell. Without a membrane, chaos would reign. It is this sky membrane that "edits the sun"~~protecting us from harmful ultraviolet light, and nucleic acids and proteins. Amazingly, it permits the full penetration of the specific kind of light that is required for photosynthesis.

More from Thomas:

"It is hard to feel affection for something as totally impersonal as the atmosphere, and yet there it is, as much a part and product of life as wine or bread. Taken all in all, the sky is a miraculous achievement. It works, and for what it is designed to accomplish it is as infallible as anything in nature. (snip) We should credit it for what it is: for sheer size and perfection of function, it is far and away the grandest product of collaboration in all of nature."

Thomas calls this "fantastic luck".

Good writing. Good biology. Bad theology.

I can forgive him for that and enjoy his observations, just as I can enjoy the exhibit in the museum. I am so thankful that the "totally impersonal" atmosphere he marvels at has a voice of its own:

"The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament show His handiwork.

Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.

There is no speech nor language
Where their voice is not heard.
Their line has gone out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world."
Psalm 19:1-4


Anonymous said...

GLory to God in the highest! AMEN!

Peregrina said...

One of the things that I notice about photographs and paintings that catch my attention, is the sky itself. Not for me the endless, placid blue skys...give me clouds...big dark thunderclouds, backed with the light of heaven, wispy high bright white clouds, drifting along.

God Himself is glorious! The heavens are but a glimpse...imagine that!