A few days ago,Â on Jacob Two-Two (that’s right: today’s post draws from the very center of the Western canon), Jacob’s father referred to him as “my biological creation.”
Â What a strange way of thinking about a child, especially from a father.Â Whenever I have created something with my hands – a poem, say, or a bookshelf – there has been a defined process that I can describe, in which I can clearly point to the actions that I took to reach the final product.Â Â I am working with pre-existing materials (the subjects of the poem, the wood for the bookshelf), but there is “sweat equity” that I contribute.Â
In comparison, my contribution to “creating” a child seems trivial.
The Bible depicts children as a gift from God, and that holds true with my experience.Â When my wife give birth to our first daughter, I felt like I was experiencing a miracle: a new person came into being.Â I could never have done that myself.Â I hope that I’m not stretching the exegesis too far by applying this psalm to my two daughters:
1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
Â Â Â Â Â Â its builders labor in vain.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Unless the LORD watches over the city,
Â Â Â Â Â Â the watchmen stand guard in vain.
Â Â Â 2 In vain you rise early
Â Â Â Â Â Â and stay up late,
Â Â Â Â Â Â toiling for food to eatâ€”
Â Â Â Â Â Â for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Â Â Â 3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD,
Â Â Â Â Â Â children a reward from him.
Â Â Â 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
Â Â Â Â Â Â are sons born in one’s youth.
Â Â Â 5 Blessed is the man
Â Â Â Â Â Â whose quiver is full of them.
Â Â Â Â Â Â They will not be put to shame
Â Â Â Â Â Â when they contend with their enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127)