I love the creation story from the Bible; Genesis 1 & 2, the introduction to John’s gospel. “In the Beginning…”
The biblical narratives are so poetic, so beautiful, so majestic. Whenever I come across how writers and artists have treated the story of creation in their works I’m always drawn back to the Bible. Two of my favorite depictions in literature of creation are C.S. Lewis’ and J.R.R. Tolkien’s. Each, in their epic tales (The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings), write the fictional universes as being created through singing and music; beautiful and fantastic imagery.
I’m not the only one who loves this imagery of creation through music. Page CXVI, a musical group created to breathe life into old hymns, draws it’s name from the page number Lewis’ description of the creation of Narnia is found in the book, The Magician’s Nephew; where Aslan sings the universe and everything in it into existence. A band I recently discovered and have fallen in love with (Gungor), also depicts the universe as being created through music. In the first song off of their latest album Ghosts Upon the Earth, the opening lyrics pour out, “Darkness hovering, grasping everything it sees. Void. Empty. Absent life and absent dream. Let there be (Light).” Lovely.
All of these stories and descriptions, writers and musicians, have inspired me to create a mash-up of sorts. I’ve taken God’s words, Lewis’ words, Tolkien’s words, and Gungor’s music and have attempted to combine them into something new(ish). Below, you will find words from Genesis 1 and John 1, words from the passages containing Tolkien’s creation of Middle Earth, and from Lewis’ creation of Narnia. Before you begin reading, scroll down to the bottom of this post and start the video, which will play Gungor’s song, “Let There Be.”
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.
And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And in this darkness something began to happen. A voice began to sing, and in the voice was life. At first, it seemed there were no words. There was hardly even a tune. It was chaos being ordered, and it was, beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise ever heard.
Then two wonders happened at the same moment.
One was that the voice was suddenly joined by other voices; more voices than you could possibly count. Voices like unto harps and lutes, and pipes and trumpets, and viols and organs, and like unto countless choirs singing with words, joined The Voice in fashioning a great music; and a sound arose of endless interchanging melodies woven in harmony that passed beyond hearing into the depths and into the Void, and it was not void. Never since has any music been made like to this music, though it has been said that a greater still shall be made before God by the choirs of angels and the Children of God after the end of days.
The second wonder was that the blackness overhead, all at once, was blazing with stars. They didn’t come out gently one by one, as they do on a summer evening. One moment there had been nothing but darkness; next moment a thousand, thousand points of light leaped out – single stars, constellations, planets, and galaxies. If you had seen and heard it, you would have felt quite certain that it was the stars themselves which were singing, and that it was the First Voice which had made them appear and made them sing.
The Voice was now louder and more triumphant; but the voices in the sky, after singing loudly with it for a time, began to get fainter. And now something else was happening.
Far away, and down near the horizon, the sky began to turn gray. A light wind, very fresh began to stir. The sky, in that one place, grew slowly and steadily paler. You could see shapes of hills standing up dark against it. All the time the Voice went on singing.
The eastern sky changed from white to pink and from pink to gold. The Voice rose and rose, till all the air was shaking with it. And just as it swelled to the mightiest and most glorious sound it had yet produced, the sun arose. The true Light, which brings light to every man, had come into the world. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.