Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Generative Divine Word

Abraham's faith was based on the faith of his ancestors. It is a "received" tradition, not an invention. In this faith tradition the spoken word of the King has great power. Indeed the archaic kings were very powerful men. The Creator's Word is the most powerful of all. It has the power to generate life and to establish order where there is chaos.

This tradition is expressed among African peoples even today. A favorite phrase among the Nilotic Luo is Wach en gi teko which means "a word has power."

The bards of the Bambara Komo Society of Uganda recite this praise of the Word:

The word is total:
it cuts, excoriates
forms, modulates
perturbs, maddens
cures or directly kills
amplifies or reduces
According to intention
It excites or calms souls.

The concept of the living, generative word is evident in this song of the BaMbuti Pygmies:

In the beginning was God
Today is God,
Tomorrow will be God.
Who can make an image of God?
He has no body.
He is as a word which comes out from your mouth,
That word! It is no more,
It is past and still it lives!
So is God.

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