Monday, May 24, 2010




Wisdom As Leviathan

By John Taylor; 2010 May 24, Azamat 06, 167 BE

In this series we have considered wisdom as Sophia, God as feminine, nurturing and loving. However, the wisdom of God is also masculine in the sense that can beget or father new things. It is creative because it uses know-how to build up something new. The Abrahamic religions teach that we were created in God's image. "By wisdom Yahweh founded the earth. By understanding, he established the heavens." (Prov 3:19, WEB) If God created everything with and through wisdom, then we can be wise too, if we imitate God. Or, conversely, if we imitate God, we will be wise. In either case, it is in our genes.

"Yahweh, how many are your works! In wisdom have you made them all. The earth is full of your riches. There is the sea, great and wide, in which are innumerable living things, both small and great animals. There the ships go, and leviathan, whom you formed to play there." (Ps 104:24-6)

This mention of Leviathan as symbol of divine creative power is interesting. I have never seen a whale in the flesh but even through the mediation of the television screen I have always held these creatures in awe. Even so, I am grateful for having seen this symbol of divine power. Other than sailors and merchants, the average person could not have had a close view like that of whales until very recently.

Or, maybe not.

In the past year researchers have found to their surprise that there were far more whales plying the oceans than they imagined. The whaling industry has been decimating their numbers for three or four centuries, not two centuries as previously thought. Studies have found that a truly pristine reef, where humans have not altered the ecosystem, there are many whales and large predators like sharks and few smaller animals. In other words, the triangle rule on land, where many small animals support fewer predators does not apply undersea. The triangle seems to be upside down. So in a sense the scripture was right, God formed leviathan to play there.

We have all but exterminated the creatures God created to play under the seas. We have literally dredged the ocean floor. This terrible loss in modern times not only of whales but all large predators, such as the sharks and killer whales, and even the universe of plankton that support the largest of them all, the blue whale, is surely symptomatic of human folly. We have repudiated the dictum, repeated throughout the Book of Genesis, to "be fruitful and increase and fill the earth." (9:1, NEB)

This is all the more frightening in light of the recent discovery by science that almost all the mass extinctions on earth were caused not by meteors but by toxic plumes of sulphur dioxide seeping out from under the seas. The sea has the potential not only to symbolize the creative power of God, but also His anger and destructive force.

To know wisdom is to purify land, sea and sky, before it purifies the land of us, and all living things.

On the other hand, we will know that we have attained to wisdom when we form a world government and establish rule of law beyond national borders, beyond the coasts of nations. But that will require a moral leap forward on our part. Abdu'l-Baha promised in a prayer that we can, with the confirmation of the breath of the Holy Spirit, become "whales swimming in the oceans of life." (Tablets of the Divine Plan, 107) Only then, when the spiritual ocean is clean, can we will start to repopulate the devastated material seas. Then and only then will the oceans be fruitful and beautiful and increase once again, and leviathan swim free beneath our ships.


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