The Creation Myth and Fear of Resting

Western Sunrise

The sunrise at Western University, as seen from my 7th floor lab.

November 30, 2017

I feel very unfocused lately, and I think I know why. When I was writing my two grant proposals in October, I really felt like I had control of my ideas. I felt like I knew what I was working on and what I wanted to be doing with my research program, my graduate student, and trainees. This is a great feeling and I was filled with the satisfaction of not only working hard on the proposals but also of having so many ideas and projects that I wanted to pursue. I could not wait to get started on some of the new projects.

But right after they were submitted, I rested. This seems natural, for course, for I’d worked hard and wanted to celebrate a job well done and relax a bit. Also I had just undergone a minor surgery, so some recovery time was needed. But a week later, I needed to turn to other things that Required my attention, and before I realized what had happened, I was overwhelmed with our departmental job searches and my office and lab’s move to the new building. My research ideas, having been developed and nurtured in the NSERC and SSHRC proposals, languished from the inattention.

That is, I worked. I seemed to have it together, I rested, and it all seemed to slip away.

It was like the 7th day.

In the creation myth in Genesis, God worked hard to create the universe and then he rested. And then right after that, right after sitting back, looking with satisfaction at what he’d done, and cracking open a divine beer, he seems to lose focus…humans took over, they started killing each other, and he can’t really seem remember why he created us in the first place, or what his plan is. He takes it out on us. He starts to clearly resent his work…he keeps coming back to it every so often, but the magic is gone. He rested and lost focus.

I think this is a metaphor that is often unexplored in the Bible (or maybe it is interpreted this way, I’m really not up on Bible scholarship). The creation myth can be seen as a story about what happens when you rest on your laurels and stop working on something. You step back and get caught up in other things and you lose you train of thought. The ideas fade, they take a back seat, and it can be so difficult to get back in control, that you risk starting to resent the ideas.

I think that’s the underlying theme in Genesis: God rested and the universe took a back seat. It got out of hand and he never quite got it back the way he wanted. He started to resent the work and even tried to destroy it.

The inevitability of forward motion.

I’m not trying to say I’m God here, but I am supposed to be in control of my research program. And there are times when I’m in the middle of working on a project, or paper, or grant that I really think I can see the big picture. I can glimpse a bigger vision for my research on cognition, concepts, and categories. I think I’ve created something worthwhile. But damnit, if I step way for a week and get caught up in a PhD defence, or faculty hiring, committee work, or the like, it can be so hard to put things back together.

And the lesson in Genesis seems to be: you can’t. You can’t put it back in that pristine state. But you can’t give up either. You have to let the ideas work themselves out. You have to come back and not be afraid to admit you made a mistake. Sometimes you start over or learning new skills. You may have to look at things from a new perspective while realizing that you can’t ever get back to the garden.

I’m not a religious believer… but I think there’s still a good lesson here: Even the divine creator has trouble keeping it together after a break.

2 thoughts on “The Creation Myth and Fear of Resting

  1. C R Lord

    YOU SAID — I SAY

    YOU SAID; In the creation myth in Genesis, God worked hard to create the universe and then he rested. And then right after that, right after sitting back, looking with satisfaction at what he’d done, and cracking open a divine beer, he seems to lose focus…humans took over, they started killing each other, and he can’t really seem to remember why he created us in the first place, or what his plan is. He takes it out on us. He starts to clearly resent his work…he keeps coming back to it every so often, but the magic is gone. He rested and lost focus.

    I SAY; The creation story in Genesis is not a myth and to prove otherwise would require some magnificent stretch of your imagination or anyone else’s. God really didn’t have to work hard because the project was exceedingly simple to him. Creating and sustaining the universe is a snap to a perfect being. Being omnipotent he holds all the power there is and when he loans power to anything or anyone in the universe he can take it back whenever he pleases. Being omniscient he knows all thing past, present and future and he know them instantly and without any effort. Being omnipresent (everywhere present) and filling the universe, he is not awed by anything outside of himself because he is bigger than everything and fills all in all. On the other hand, man is like a blip in the universe or as Isaiah puts it; “All the nations before him are as nothing and less than nothing and vanity.” The would be over 8 billion people, hence one of us hardly amounts to anything whatsoever. So he has never lost control or been out of touch with his creation. If you follow the Bible from Genesis to Revelation you will see that God is involved everywhere and in all periods of time. Sometimes he allows evil to progress and at other times he puts an end to it. Humans never took over the world. That is a preposterous idea at best. One little virus can take out multitudes of people. We are not ever in charge of our world. God doesn’t miss a thing. He is keenly of what YOU SAID and what I SAY.

    YOU SAID; I think this is a metaphor that is often unexplored in the Bible (or maybe it is interpreted this way, I’m really not up on Bible scholarship). The creation myth can be seen as a story about what happens when you rest on your laurels and stop working on something. You step back and get caught up in other things and you lose you train of thought. The ideas fade, they take a back seat, and it can be so difficult to get back in control, that you risk starting to resent the ideas.

    I SAY; I must agree that you are not up on Bible scholarship. I have been a student of scripture for nearly 45 years as a child of God and I would like to help you catch up. Again, creation is not a myth but an actual account. It certainly beats evolution hands down and requires less faith to accept. Enough said about that spurious hypothesis. God’s resting in the Genesis account does not mean he took a break. It meant he was finished with his creation. There was nothing more to be done in creating a world sufficient to ensure the survival of mankind. So nothing was left on the back burner, nothing took a back seat and nothing was or is ever out of his control. God very generously gave men “free will” to pursue godliness or evil. As a sovereign he didn’t have any fear that free will would bring his kingdom down. He is the almighty and nothing and nobody will ever take him down. Lucifer tried and we know how that turned out. God knew that free will could and would lead to sin. Satan made sure it would and Eve cooperated and then brought her husband Adam to the same choice and he made the wrong choice as well. Since then all the descendants of Adam and Eve (the human race) have all chosen to rebel against God because they inherited a sin nature and choose to follow it even though God has made a way for all of mankind to be delivered from their rebellious actions and inherit eternal life. Jesus Christ came as God incarnate (God in human flesh) suffered and died and resurrected to secure eternal life for those who would put their trust in him. No church – I read about your Catholic experience – and no single man or woman can save anyone. It is Jesus Christ alone who died and rose again for his people who have placed their faith in his finished work on the cross.

    YOU SAID; I think that’s the underlying theme in Genesis: God rested and the universe took a back seat. It got out of hand and he never quite got it back the way he wanted. He started to resent the work and even tried to destroy it.

    I SAY; God never destroyed the earth; only the people in it. In Genesis God says; “Every thought of men’s hearts were only continually evil all day long.” Think about that. Every thought shows amazing corruption beyond restitution. The destruction of these people was doing the earth and the people who loved God a huge favor. Their wickedness was all pervasive and unchangeable. I would have done the same thing only I wouldn’t have been as patient as God who had Noah reach out to these people with a message of redemption for 120 years before he took them out. That’s very generous and patient and beyond reproach. Wouldn’t you agree?

    If you would like to become more up on Bible scholarship I invite you to examine a ministry site that I’ve created (210 pages and growing) which also includes my autobiography so you can see what God does for those who actually believe in him and seek him out for repentance and the gift of salvation he offers. You should be able to gain a lot from your visit if you objectively examine what is there. God bless you as you continue to seek out what is real in life as opposed to what Lucifer would tempt you to believe. Don’t fall for his lies like Adam and Eve did.

    Reply

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