Since the creation of the world God’s perfect melody, the Father’s Song, has been clearly heard, it’s harmonious rhythms and soothing beats echoing forth from all that God has made, so that people are without excuse. For although we knew the Father’s Song — which is written on our hearts — we chose to deafen our ears and tune our hearts to humanly authored songs far inferior. We have exchanged a life swept up in the embrace of the trinitarian dance, living in perfect harmony with the great Composer, for a life of whistling alone in the dark or making up half-baked ditties in the shower. We have all left the Father’s band in order to try our luck in a solo career and are failing miserably.
Or, as Paul puts it:
“Since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — His eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal human beings and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over….” (Romans 1)
We’ve gone tone deaf. Our lives are out of tune. We’ve misplaced or, worse, crumpled and tossed the Composers sheet music and are scrambling to improvise. God created the world to be a magnificent symphony made up of instruments from every tribe, tongue and nation. Only a few chapters into Genesis and God’s cosmic symphony sounds more like a Friday night “Battle of the Bands” at a punk rock festival. Everyone is trying to top the other by playing louder and better. The world is a moshpit, people are slam dancing, bodies are flailing and many are getting hurt. The Fall of humankind into sin in Genesis 3 marks the pivotal moment in history when the perfect melody of the Father’s Song was abruptly shattered by the first misplayed note, the first mis-struck chord. “Sin” (harmartia in Greek) means literally “missing the mark” or, sticking to our theme, “playing out of tune with God.” The result of that first sin was total, utter cosmic dissonance.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines “Dissonance” as “a tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious elements.” The rest of the biblical narrative, from Genesis to Revelation, is the story of ongoing dissonance resulting from God’s creatures insisting on playing to a different tune than their Creator, dancing to the beat of their own drummer, and God’s relentless attempts to bring all creation back into harmony with the Father’s Song. The story eventually gets there, but for now we must pause and swallow the devastating words: “Therefore God gave them over…” We must endure the ear-piercing noise of a creation of “noisy gongs and clashing cymbals” (1 Cor. 13) whose revolt results in (1) ears deafened to the Father’s Song (separation from God) and (2) many voices singing out of tune and competing with each other for center stage (relational strife).
The Father’s Song would fade into the background for some time, barely detectable amidst the growing cacophony of competing choruses that grew out of the Fall. (Just read Genesis 4-11 to get a glimpse of the noise.) Yet, no matter how entrenched a person might be in the beat and groove of another song, they are never more than a divine moment away from being arrested again by the sweet sound of God’s creative, restorative grace — the Father’s Song. Next time we’ll meet one such man: Abraham.