Reflections on the 8th Psalm:
How admirable is His Name . . .
God’s magnificence is greater than that which can be conceived. His glory is unsurpassable by even those with the most fertile imaginations. The multiplicity created by His hands boggles the mind, and our ability to speak. Only His word can express the infinite works wrought by His speaking and thinking. He grants to all creation the ability to praise His name. Even infants, as well as other parts of His creation, praise His name. The rocks cry out, the stars shine forth, animals perk their ears listening to the unfathomable message of Being. All creation is a testament to His love.
What are humans, that You are mindful of them? . . .
What is anything, that You are mindful of them? Why does God create the objects of His love? Does He create for His own sake? Does He create for others, for their sake? Does He create me for my sake? Why is He mindful of me, that He gives me life? Why does He attend to my every need?
With glory and honor you crowned him . . .
Human are next to the angels, almost godlike, says the Psalmist—at least compared to the humbleness of the rest of Creation. Hence, as Genesis states, all of Creation is under the dominion of humankind. On this fifth day of Creation, God made humans “in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” God also made “every living creature that moves” in the air, water, and land, and He declared it “good. All creatures are commanded to “be fruitful, and multiply.” God commands humans to have “dominion” over the Earth, to “replenish” and “subdue” it. All animals, cattle and sheep, birds and fish—all are subject to human rule.
How admirable is Your name in all the Earth.
This apparent blessing of power comes with an overwhelming burden. Humans must be worthy of such a charge, of such power. The author of Genesis, speaking for God the Creator, makes a moral, qualitative declaration and judgment that the Creation is good. Humans, as part of the Creation, are therefore good. The Creation is animate and inanimate, is alive as well as dead, but now, in its existential present, it is good. Goodness is something that occurs through time, just as humans occur, and exercise dominion, throughout time. The goodness of creation implies the goodness of life, that life is good, and is not something to destroy, that humans are not, by having dominion, given the right to kill, dismember, torture, pollute, waste, and destroy in all manner in which humans, particularly in the past century, have done.
God’s name, God’s will, God’s glory as Creator, must be respected, lauded, by the Creation.