Monday, August 24, 2009

O For a Voice like Thunder!

Lutheran_church-150x150I was listening to Christopher Hitchens hold forth on a podcast lecture the other day about the way primitive man came to associate thunder with the anger of God through a chance rumbling at the very moment he engaged in a misdemenour with a guilty conscience....

Here is a story that leads one to think there might be something in the caveman's understandable reaction.

And here are some verses to help us reflect on this strange manifestation of God's Mighty Opinion:

O for a voice like thunder, and a tongue
to drown the throat of war! - When the senses
are shaken, and the soul id driven to madness,
who can stand? When the souls of the oppressed
fight in the troubled air that rages, who can stand?
when the whirlwind of fury comes from the
throne of God, when the frowns of his countenance
drive the nations together, who can stand?
when Sin claps his broad wings over the battle,
and sails rejoicing in the flood of Death;
when souls are torn to everlasting fire.
and fiends of Hell rejoice upon the slain,
O who can stand? O who hath caused this?
O who can answer at the throne of God?
The Kings and Nobles of the Land have done it!
Hear it not, Heaven, thy Ministers have done it!
William Blake

Or, for that matter, why not let an Old Lutheran have his say:

Built on a rock the church shall stand,
even when steeples are falling;
crumbled have spires in every land,
bells still are chiming and calling -
calling the young and old to rest,
calling the souls of those distressed,
longing for life everlasting.
Nicolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig


At Monday, August 24, 2009 8:56:00 pm , Anonymous An Liaig said...

Did "primitive" man ever think thunder was associated with the anger of God as anything more than a metaphore? I rather doubt it. This is the classic secularist explaination for the origin of religion - that man invented God to explain what he didn't understand in nature. I think that this is false and based on a euro-centric blindness. Early man used nature (which he understood only partialy) as a metaphore to explain God (who he didn't understand at all). This, of course, requires the impossible thought that primitive man was just as capable of sophisticated culture and thought as modern European philosophers.

At Monday, August 24, 2009 9:12:00 pm , Anonymous Schütz said...

Ah, but could primitive man write such good poetry? :-)

At Tuesday, August 25, 2009 1:21:00 am , Anonymous An Liaig said...

He may not have been able to write it but he could certainly sing, speak and pray such good poetry - yes poetry as good as this. These are all things modern man finds hard to do.

At Tuesday, August 25, 2009 3:58:00 am , Anonymous Schütz said...

True. Tolkien thought the ancients sang better poetry than we do.


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