Thursday, June 30, 2011

God and [your name here]

Millions of Stars in Omega Centauri 
Image Credit & Copyright: Gordon Mandell

God of Israel knows every star in Omega Centauri by name (Ps 147:4).

God of Israel knows every human by name.

The first creation story talks about humans in general as "mankind" in the Sixth Day of Creation

"So God created mankind in his own image,
   in the image of God he created them;
   male and female he created them." 
Gen 1:27 NIS

But right after that he already has a God given and today very widely known and famous name "Adam"
 וייצר יהוה אלהים את־האדם עפר מן־האדמה ויפח באפיו נשׁמת חיים ויהי האדם לנפשׁ חיה׃

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Gen 2:7 

Hebrew adam comes from adamah, soil, and is related to adam, reddish, red Edom (reddish Nubian sandstone). The connection is probably to the fertile reddish soil of Holy Land created by erosion from the Eocene limestone formed in the bottom of Tethys Sea.

For the sumerians "soil" is mud or clay from that huge river valley often flooded in prehistoric times..

The Hebrew word adam means thus also "man" so that the Son of Man is Ben Adam and we are all bne adam. Adam is also a personal name.

God asks Adam to give names to His creatures in that wonderful Garden of Eden:

Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.
Gen 2:19-20

And so it is also today, people give names to God's creatures and so the species are called differently depending on the language of the name-giver.

And the man also gives name to that wonderful creature, the Mother of Life, hebrew Havva

  “This is now bone of my bones
   and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
   for she was taken out of man.”
Gen 2:23

Havva, Eva, Eve

Sometimes God Himself gives the name ot a person:

The angel of the LORD also said to her: 
“You are now pregnant
   and you will give birth to a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
   for the LORD has heard of your misery."
Gen 16: 11

Sometimes God gives a new name:
Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, “As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.
Gen 17:3-5

The God given name of John the Baptist has powerful memories attached to it:

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John."
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”
They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”
Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.
Luke 1:11-13, 59-64

And there is this secret name on the white stone that Lord Jesus Christ gives!

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.
Rev 2:17

There are many people and many names today and at times we may feel a bit insignificant as Woody Allen in the movie Ants.

Perhaps you feel a bit lost in the groud if your name is Muhammad (probably the most common first name in the world) Or if you live in Korea and your surname is Kim, Lee or Parker (half of Koreans have one of these surnames).

But you are still unique among the seven billion humans in several ways. God of Israel has given you unique facial features (for identical twins are rare), color of your eyes, fingerprints (all criminals know this), DNA and so on.

God identifies you by your name, He knows who you are. "Where are you, Adam?" and that unforgettable moment at Garden Tomb "Mary!" - nothing else was needed for Mary of Magdala to recognize the caller.

But now, this is what the LORD says—
   he who created you, Jacob,
   he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine."
Isaiah 43:1

May you say "Really, Mikko, do you think that Almighty would know me by my name? After all, there are  8175133 stories in New York and I am only one of them."

Well, not only does God of Israel know every human being that ever existed by name.

He also knows all the stars in the Universe by name.

And there are many of them!

Praise the LORD 
   How good it is to sing praises to our God,
   how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
   he gathers the exiles of Israel.
  He heals the brokenhearted
   and binds up their wounds.
  He determines the number of the stars
   and calls them each by name.
 Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
   his understanding has no limit.
 The LORD sustains the humble
   but casts the wicked to the ground.
Psalm 147:1-6

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