ENTRY 1204 | NOVEMBER
got one response to the previous
Jonal, which is on point and should lead to considerable discussion:
your writing on "Space Is The Place" extremely interesting,
as is the Book of Genesis. I ask if you are familiar with the
Rig Veda, some 1028 hymns, especially the Hymns of Creation;
Hymn #129 and #130, written in Sanskrit between"depending
on your beliefs"7000 BC to 2000 BC. I particularly like
the translation by Wendy Dongier O'Flaherty, ref: Nasadiya:
The Hymns of the Rig Veda on the web from her book The Rig
Veda - Anthology.
was neither non-existence nor existence then.
was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond.
In whose protection?
Was there water, bottomlessly deep?
There was neither death not immortality then.
There was no distinguishing sign of night nor day.
That ONE breathed, windless, by its own impulse.
on for about six or sevem stanzas and ends with:
this creation has arisen
- perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not -
the ONE who looks down on it,
in the highest heaven, only He knows
or perhaps even He does not know.
It is more
my idea of "The Beginning" than anything I have ever read; still
leaves a lot of questions but isn't [that] what a belief system
the answers you believe in?
had never looked into the Vedas, but the poesy of these excerpts give
a clue to why C.S. Lewis considered Hinduism (the religion behind
the Vedas) the only real competitor for Christianity among the major
world religions. These hymns echo Genesis in some ways, while contrasting
in others, and also remind me of snippets of Native American doctrines
about creation and the heaven and earth that have come to my attention
over the years.
said religions are like soups, either thick or clear. By thick, he
had in mind religions with lots of physical demonstrations of fervent
conviction, and by clear he meant those whose faith is mostly cerebral
or structured around theology and teachings about everything from
the nature of God to principles to live by. In Christian frames of
reference, the "thickest" sects appear to be the Pentecostals
and perhaps black congregations where physical expressions of fervor
seem dominant. The "clearest" are probably the Puritans
(mostly extinct) and the Reformed and Presbyterian cousins of Puritans
like Orthodox Presbyterians and Christian Reformed donominations,
whose seminaries and collegesand their theologians and teachersseem
to serve as their spiritual centers.
advocated a strong balance between the thick and the clear: those
Christians with liturgies, corporate fasts and feasts, and a strong
devotion to the "real presence" of Christ's flesh and blood
in the eucharist, are thick on one hand, but when they also have a
deep reservoir of complex doctrines and beliefs, they also are strong
on the clear side. He felt such a balance characterized his own Anglican
communion as well as Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and much
of Lutheranism. On the world stage, he characterized Christianity
as clear(er) and Hinduism as thick(er). His main criticisms of Hindu
doctrines seem to be that in being "thick," it elevates
the sensuous and carnal while ignoring moral holiness. He mentioned
that Indian law prohibited importing pornography, except for that
used in the practice of religion (this was true in Lewis's time, much
earlier than the wide acceptance of pornography in the West). And
it failed morally through its propagation of the caste system, which
considers whole ethnic groups unclean and untouchable.
many of his writings Lewis confirms the orthodox position of all practitioners
of biblical religion (Jews and Christians alike) that any religion
outside biblical parameters is of satanic origin. The Puritans of
Jonathan Edwards's party stress that Satan is an expert theologian,
and I have observed elsewhere that even in his seduction of Adam and
Eve, most of what Satan said to them was true. They should desire
to be like God through coming to know good and evil, he said, all
but two words of which was not consistent with God's own will for
them. (Those words were "and evil"; people of biblical faith
should become more godlike through their knowledge and practice of
good, but should not ever know evil in the biblical (subjective) sense.
But Lewis also stressed that all religions have much in common, and
most have many helpful teachings and truths, and some have more in
common with biblical religion than others, just as some wrong answers
in arithmetic come closer to the right answer than others. To the
extent that any pagan religion followed "natural law," it
was helping its practitioners live better lives and was preparing
for their eventual encounter with the Gospel.
I'll have more thoughts about the Rig Veda hymn later. What do you
overeat, and do have a happy Thanksgiving.
Webmaster Jon Kennedy