"Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretches out the heavens like a curtain: Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind: Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire: Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever." ~ Psalm 104:1-5
Psalm 104 by J.L. HinmanThe reason a lot of people think a God argument should spell out which religion is true is because they think God is a big guy in the sky. They think an argument should prove "which God" as well as that there is a God. This is because they don't understand the necessity of God as being itself. If one understood that God is eternal necessary being they would see that only one God is possible and any idea or concept of God that includes necessity and transcendence is a sign marker pointing toward the divine. In fact contingent gods in a sense point to this as well. The following Psalm, if read literally demonstrates the way they understand God in anthropomorphic terms. The Psalm could also be understood in such a way as to give us a more expansive understanding of God.
Psa104:1 Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty.
Psa 104:2 Who coverest [thyself] with light as [with] a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:
Psa 104:3 Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:
Psa 104:4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:
Psa 104:5 [Who] laid the foundations of the earth, [that] it should not be removed for ever.
Psa 104:6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as [with] a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.
Psa 104:7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.
Psa 104:8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.
Psa 104:9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.
Psa 104:10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, [which] run among the hills.
Psa 104:11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.
Psa 104:12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, [which] sing among the branches.
Psa 104:13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.
Psa 104:14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;
Psa 104:15 And wine [that] maketh glad the heart of man, [and] oil to make [his] face to shine, and bread [which] strengtheneth man's heart.
Psa 104:16 The trees of the LORD are full [of sap]; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;
Psa 104:17 Where the birds make their nests: [as for] the stork, the fir trees [are] her house.
Psa 104:18 The high hills [are] a refuge for the wild goats; [and] the rocks for the conies.
Psa 104:19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.
Psa 104:20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep [forth].
Psa 104:21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.
Psa 104:22 The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.
Psa 104:23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labour until the evening.
Psa 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
Psa 104:25 [So is] this great and wide sea, wherein [are] things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.
Psa 104:26 There go the ships: [there is] that leviathan, [whom] thou hast made to play therein.
Psa 104:27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give [them] their meat in due season.
Psa 104:28 [That] thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.
Psa 104:29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
Psa 104:30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.
Psa 104:31 The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.
Psa 104:32 He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.
Psa 104:33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.
Psa 104:34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.
Psa 104:35 Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.If you read this literally you see God looking in on all of the earth and nothing happens until God says "let the grass grow" and it grows. If some day God decides not to make the grass grow, it doesn't. So we get the idea of God wandering about in his "pj's" with a cup of morning coffee saying "I don't feel like growing any grass today." In other words, it's a very human, man-like view of God. But this psalm gives us a much more expansive understanding if we read it for the suggestions brought up by the imagery rather than the literal statements. We see God relating to creation in process.
In other words, an unfolding and evolving universe is a process, God is part of that process, the initiator and the sustainer, but not in the shade tree mechanic way that is pictured above. God "causes" the grass to grow, we are told, but God does not have to ride herd daily on the growing of Grass. The grass just grows, its ultimate reison d'etre is God.This passage is great for process theology because it shows the whole of creation harmoniously working according to God's plan, and in harmony with God who experiences its working and while not riding herd on it like a farmer, is at least part of the balance overall.
Psa 104:2-3: Who coverest [thyself] with light as [with] a garment: who stretches out the heavens like a curtain: Who layette the beams of his chambers in the waters: who market the clouds his chariot: who walked upon the wings of the wind:The foundations of reality are laid out by God's rule. This is a very anthropomorphic way to picture it, but what it is really telling us is that God is the basis for all that is, and the foundation of the evolving universe and the laws that govern it. God is the author of the laws of physics. But more than that. God, in his concrescent pole, is part of the evolution of the universe, he's here pictured riding the winds and clouds as chariots, but clearly its' he's involved with and in the workings of nature. He's intimately related in a dynamic way with the unfolding of natural law.
Psa 104:5-12: [Who] laid the foundations of the earth, [that] it should not be removed for ever. Thou coveredst it with the deep as [with] a garment: the waters stood above the mountains. At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away. They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them. Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth. He sendeth the springs into the valleys, [which] run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst. By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, [which] sing among the branches.God has laid out the basis of laws that run the universe, and is seen here as the ultimate causal agents in an automatic process that runs by itself. God is the ultimate cause of all things.