Saturday, December 24, 2016

Creating "How Great Thou Art"

How Great Thou Art
by Robert A. Waters

The song, "How Great Thou Art," is one of the most loved hymns of all time. Describing the majestic power of God, and the joy of knowing Jesus Christ as our Saviour, the song has touched millions of lives since it was written in 1859 by a Swedish poet named Carl Boberg. The lyrics were later set to the music of a Swedish folk song.

Boberg explained how he came to write the song.  "It was that time of year," he said, "when everything seemed to be in its richest colouring; the birds were singing in trees and everywhere. It was very warm; a thunderstorm appeared on the horizon and soon there was thunder and lightning. We had to hurry to shelter. But the storm was soon over and the clear sky appeared."

The first verse of "How Great Thou Art" describes the above scene:

"Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder

Consider all the worlds thy hands have made,

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder

Thy power throughout the universe displayed." 

In 1949, British missionary Stuart K. Hine translated the song into English, updated the lyrics, and added two verses. It was published in the 1973 edition of The Covenant Hymnbook. "How Great Thou Art" was popularized in America by George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows during the Billy Graham Crusades of the 1950s.

As Christian faith wanes in modern society, "How Great Thou Art" remains a musical lighthouse for many. Atheism, many of whose adherents view faith as a "poison," threatens to become the new religion. Richard Dawkins wrote: "[Christian] faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument."

Yet faith is the stone on which atheists use to hammer out their own theories of the origins of the universe. After trillions of years, they allege, a great explosion rocked the void of nothingness and the universe suddenly formed.  Scientists tell us that never before or after has something come from nothing, but here we are.

Atheists have faith that after the big bang, or whatever generated the universe, complexity arose out of chaos and the vast network of solar systems, stars, and planets formed. It seems almost miraculous.

Patrick Buchanan once wrote that atheists believe "reason came from irrationality, that a complex universe and natural order came out of randomness and chaos, that consciousness came from non-consciousness and that life emerged from non-life."

On Planet Earth, everything developed exactly as needed to form life.  Scientists estimate that every human being is made up of about 37.2 trillion cells. It takes a great deal of faith to believe that the human body formed by itself, out of the blue.

"How Great Thou Art" reminds Christians of the Creator who formed us.

As for atheists, they're free to believe whatever they wish.

"How Great Thou Art" has been sung by hundreds of artists. This version is by Alan Jackson.

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