The Psalms – Psalms of Creation and Nature, pt.2

Tonight, we are reading through the Psalms of Creation. One of the purposes of our group is not simply to become familiar with the psalms, but to have an understanding of how to read them in light of the great mysteries of the faith (Incarnation, Resurrection, Trinity, etc). The first psalm we are going to look tonight is Psalm 104 which is the great Creation Psalm. Below are some points to consider in reading this psalm and how the psalm contributes to a deeper understanding of our faith.

Whenever you read the creation account in Genesis, the question invariably arises as to when or how the angels were created. Psalm 104:4 answers that question: “You make the winds you messengers, and flames of fire your servants.” The full implication of this verse arises if you remember the word “messenger” in  Greek is “angelos,” and that the Hebrew word “seraph” (as first used in Isaiah 6:1-6) means the “burning ones.” St. John of Damascus in his Exposition of the Orthodox Faith written in the early 8th century bases his entire understanding of the nature of angels “as an incorporeal race, a sort of spirit or immaterial fire” on this verse.

As you read to the end of Psalm 104, verses 29-31 lend themselves to different understandings. There are four primary senses of Scripture – Literal, Allegorical, Moral, and Eschatological (end times). St. Gregory of Nyssa, writing in the late 4th century in his work On the Soul and the Resurrection, applies these verses eschatologically as a prophesy of the resurrection – for v.30 speaks of death, and then v.31 speaks of renewal. On the other hand, St. Augustine looks at these same verses in the moral sense of how God corrects the proud by taking away our spirit of pride (our breath) and replacing the same with his own.

As you read through Psalm 104 over the next few days, take a few extra minutes to read and explore a deeper application of this Psalm by these Christian writers.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *