Daily Devotion for January 19, 2012
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Karl Richter playing Bach's masterwork, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, on a magnificent 16th century organ. If you make it to the last 30 seconds, you will see where the term "pull out all the stops" originated!
Prayer for the Morning (written by Metropolitan Philaret)
Lord, give me the strength to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely on Your holy will. Reveal Your will to me every hour of the day. Bless my dealings with all people. Teach me to treat all people who come to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. In unexpected events, let me not forget that all are sent by you.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the physical strength to bear the labors of this day. Direct my will, teach me to pray, pray in me.
For the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human race, O Lord; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now unto him that is able to keep me from falling, and to present me faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Crab Nebula
But the lips of the wise will preserve them.
The Creation of the World 
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
Notes on the Scripture
Smart scientists realize that they have no argument with the Biblical account of creation, and smart theologians realize that they have no argument with scientific accounts of the creation of the universe. The Catholic Church recognizes this; in 2011, Pope Benedict stated openly that the "Big Bang Theory" is consistent with the Bible. Scientists have a much more precise language to describe the events and thus give us a more detailed account of "what", but they are ultimately helpless to explain "why".
Genesis, on the other hand, is an account given by God to an ancient, illiterate people. They had no language to describe what happened and the "what" of Genesis is broadly descriptive in terms people could understand. For example, it uses the term "day" to divide the periods of creation; this means something other than a 24-hour period. The passage is a poetic account of actual facts.
But within its literary form, Genesis gives an accurate account of not simply what happened, but more importantly, "why", a question science does not pretend to understand, much less answer.
The most important part of the creation is the first sentence: "In the beginning, God created . . . ." God had to have existed before the creation of the universe, because He caused it. He made it happen; it was not a random, inexplicable accident.
Interestingly, Genesis 1 does not tell us whether or not anything physical existed before the creation. The Hebrew word translated as "created" tends to be used when something is created out of raw material, like a pot created from clay. God might have created the heavens and earth from something that already existed, just as He created Adam from mud.
This would seem to mesh nicely with the scientific theory of a "big bang". Scientists currently believe that a tiny bit of matter exploded about 14 billion years ago. This explanation — that God created the universe out of something that already existed — also seems more consistent with John 1:1, that God was the intelligence that formed the universe, without mentioning whether or not He also created the matter from which it was formed.
The important point, however, for both scientist and Christian, is not to get bogged down in finding discrepancies between scientific and Biblical accounts of the creation; for the discrepancies are an illusion. Scientists are fools if they reject Genesis, for it answers questions they do not have a clue about; and Christians are unwise to reject science out-of-hand, for it reflects the brain God gave us and His will that we be able to explore the world around us.