Monday, June 8, 2015

Creation and Evolution

Sunday evening I officiated Kim and Chris’s wedding at Cityplace in Dallas, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

I always ask couples two questions that coming from anybody else in any other circumstance, would be considered highly rude. Why do you want to get married, and why now? These are really important questions, and couples should know how to answer them, for their own sake. As you might imagine, I get a huge variety of answers. However, Chris' answer to this question stands out, even among the myriad of other grooms who quote Ancient Greek philosophers:

"Plato wrote that humans were once male and female and had four arms four legs. Zeus was threatened by humans, and so he split them into two beings. From then every human would forever long for his or her other half, the other half of his or her soul. It is said that when the two find each other, there is an unspoken understanding of one another, that they feel unified, that they would lie with each other in unity and would know no greater joy than that. Nothing," ends Chris, "better describes how I feel about Kimmy and why I want to marry her and marry her now."

Wow. Isn't that cool?! I am not entirely sure, but I think this is why Kim calls Chris her lobster. (They have four legs right?) Then again, how much can a rabbi really understand about seafood...?

Now the interesting thing is that this legend exists in the Judeo-Christian tradition too. In fact, it lies at the heart of the often misunderstood second creation story in Genesis. The way we usually understand the story is that God takes one of Adam's ribs and builds from it woman. However, a closer reading of the Hebrew reveals that this translation, found in the King James Bible is wrong. The words for rib and side are interchangeable, and the correct interpretation is that God slices the primordial Adam into two - two sides that were up until then one.

Now, you might ask, if this story found both in Plato's writings and in the Hebrew Bible reflects a certain truth, why is it that we don't all experience love at first sight, when we find that other half? Kim and Chris in their stories about themselves and each other address that, in fact. For though there are beautiful lessons to be learned from creation myths, we know as Judaism and Episcopalian Christianity acknowledge, that this world was not created, ad nihilo. None of our worlds spring fully grown out of nothing, and that is a good thing. This world, all worlds, in the collective sense and the individual sense, evolve. Kim vividly describes how she had to evolve to the point, where she could seek her long lost half, Chris. Chris vividly describes how he had to evolve to the point, where he could seek his long lost half, Kim. And when they came together, they did indeed feel that unspoken understanding of one another, but they still had to evolve as a couple. With time, with growth, with learning, with faith, and with love of themselves and of each other, they evolved and reached that moment of unity, where they would know no greater joy.

In this, in the tension we must exist in, between finding what and who was created for us, and that towards which we must evolve, Kim and Chris teach us a huge lesson, one we would all do well to heed.

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