Psalm from Science

In church Sunday morning, Keith B. Miller, a geologist at Kansas State University (editor of “Perspectives on an Evolving Creation”), stood and read this modern scientific Psalm written by Walt Hearn.  Hearn holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry, University of Illinois, and has written several books on science/religion subjects and served as editor for the ASA from 1969 to 1993.  This piece was published originally under the title: “63 Thanksgiving” in a 1963 issue of HIS magazine. It is also on the ASA website here, where I found it to reprint below.

by Walt Hearn

Praise the Lord, created thing!
Let all space with praises ring!
Space itself, Hosanna sing
Unto God, Jehovah, King!

I.

Particles in smallest cracks,
Known but by emulsion tracks:
Let all mesons praise messiah!
Songs of praise mount ever higher!

Alpha, beta, gamma rays:
Join the chorus of His praise!
Be you ultimate or not,
All created, all begot.

Parity’s been overthrown―
Something He had always known.
Antimatter, fragments odd,
Quantum jumps to praise our God.

II.

Now from unexplored domains
Up to where the atom reigns;
Forged from state once hyperdense,
Praise your maker, elements!

Atoms of increasing mass,
Nuclei from solar gas,
Orbital electrons twinning:
Praise the God who set you spinning

Rare-earth metal, halogen,
Amorphous glass or crystalline,
Solid, liquid, vapor phase:
Join in everlasting praise!

III.

Molecules from atoms made
According to the plans He laid:
Praise the God of Angstrom units!
God of Abraham―and Kunitz!

Carbon compounds by the score,
Hundreds, thousands, millions more;
Helical configuration
Structured into God’s creation

Proteins now and DNA,
Intertwining overlay;
Prototype of living cell:
Praise the God of Israel!

IV.

Viruses and protozoa:
Praise the faithful God of Noah!
Coral on the ocean shelf:
Praise the God of life itself!

Mildew, mosses, redwood trees,
Birds in air and fish in seas,
Crawling cockroach, roaring lion:
Praise Jehovah, God of Zion!

Human beings, new dimension―
Culture, science, and invention;
You who can subdue the earth:
Praise the God who gave you birth!

V.

Earth we live on, merely one
Planet of a minor sun:
Join this entire galaxy,
Showing forth His majesty!

Beyond our own galactic rim,
Billions more are praising Him.
Ten to some gigantic power
Times the height of Babel’s tower.

Past the range of telescope:
God of faith and love and hope.
Praise Him every tongue and race!
Even those in outer space!

Selah

However far space does extend
From beginning unto end,
Praise the God who does transcend!
Every knee before Him bend!

God of whom these words are penned:
Against Thee only have we sinned.
Almighty Author of creation:
Visit us with Thy salvation.

Merv Bitikofer

About Merv Bitikofer

Merv has been a teacher at Flint Hills Christian School since 1993 and has also been active with his family in Manhattan Mennonite Church. Science and faith issues have long held his interest both personally and professionally, and he is passionate about cultivating a more robust intellect among the wider Christian community in the service of Christ.
This entry was posted in Creation, Theology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Psalm from Science

  1. Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

    Thanks to you and Keith for drawing this to our attention, Merv. It’s very consistent with the similar expressions in the canonical psalms in which the non-rational creation is involved in worship simply by being what it is, or rather what God has made it. A lot of trees, including our 150 year old oak, were clapping their hands round here in the recent gales. And singing, too, late into the night.

    Implicit in this psalm is God’s ongoing involvement in his creation. You may know the old joke about a vicar visiting his old parishioner’s immaculate, abundant garden. “You and the Lord have certainly done something wonderful here,” says the vicar.
    “Ah, you wouldn’t have said that if you’d a’seen it when he had it to himself,” replies the gardener.

    The point is that you don’t give thanks for what you think you’ve achieved autonomously.

  2. Merv Bitikofer Merv Bitikofer says:

    We are praising God about sunshine here in our part of the U.S. right now — got up over 20 degrees centigrade here today, though I suppose folks on the east coast here were wishing they had more sunshine today.

    I hope the flood waters your side of the puddle are receding. In any case, the praise goes on all around us.

  3. GD GD says:

    Merv,

    Poetry is an excellent way to use language and it opens a door to a richer understanding of ourselves and how we may communicate with each other. I want to add that poems may be expressive of feelings, as in your example, and they may also use language in a way to provide levels of meaning that is not found in say scientific, or everyday, language. Examples include Dante, John Donne, Milton, and the much misunderstood book of Revelation. A great deal of the NT contains sections that are in the poetic style found in epic works – for example, I was struck by the use of the same Greek word for Our Father (in heaven) that opens the Lords prayer, with the use of the same term by Homer when he addresses Zeus. Critics may want to make something of this, but it shows us that the Hellenic language was developed before the NT was written (obviously) and yet it was used to convey the Gospel to us. We perhaps need to appreciate how language (especially English today) would enable our understanding of deeply meaningful aspects of human life.

Comments are closed.