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Appreciating the elegant structure of our world

10/03/2018 02:39:44 PM


Paul Rezendes

When you wake up in the morning, what world do you see, and what relationship do you have with it?
The sun rises and the birds sing. Do you see mechanisms and clockwork? Perhaps a brew of chemicals that has evolved into complex organisms? Selfish DNA seeking only to replicate? And, perhaps, also a fundamentally good and orderly universe where we are at home, despite banishment from innocence, the struggles of living as finite creatures of flesh and need, of blood and spirit, of love and jealousy, of sometimes ugly passion?
Genesis chapters 1-6 (parsha Bereshit) tells us much about how to see our natural and human worlds. Its truth does not compete with science, anthropology or history any more than “she broke her arm because she fell from the tree” is in competition with physics, chemistry or biomechanics.
Myth, mysticism or metaphysics: these stories frame our interaction with the world and with each other. Reading Genesis does not require that we regress to the Bronze Age. But perhaps it offers us a framing for appreciating the elegant structure of our world, the beauty of its plant and animal life and our relationships with each other and with God? Perhaps it leads us to some truth - ideas for living-in-the-world - to which even the Bronze Age had already laid hold.
Paul Rezendes is a member of Temple Shalom.

Wed, June 19 2019 16 Sivan 5779