The Rainbow Never Came

Yesterday a friend, the same one who I talked about responsible use of power with (who will henceforth be known here as Rimau) sent me a song to listen to. "The Rainbow Never Came" by Artisan. Artisan is a British trio who do most of there work a capella. I have only heard one song by them, but it is excellent, and I am pretty sure that I am going to buy one of their CD's if I get the chance. (the lyrics are at the bottom of this post if your interested)

"The Rainbow Never Came" interweaves two main themes, and adds some very strong symbolic links to the flood account in Genesis, though it is never explicit. The two main themes are man's arrogance/selfishness/power hungriness, and how the earth is taking a beating by man (in this case as a direct result of the first issue). I would say this is a mythopoetic retelling with modern themes and ideas mixed in, and with many details removed.

In Genesis God sends the deluge as a result of humanity becoming completely evil. In this song, the reason God cites is the destruction of the earth, even though the song makes clear that the destruction of the earth is a result of man's character. Also in Genesis God does give Adam some kind of leadership over the earth. Christian interpreters point out that this power was handed over to Satan, though I am not sure if that is included in the Hebrew Bible. Finally, after the flood, God creates the rainbow as a pact with man, that though he is evil (God does not point out any changed character in the nature of man, the words given at the end of the story describing man's condition are identical to the words at the beginning that described man's condition, and which were given as reason for the flood) God will never destroy the earth like that (another interesting switch, in the flood story God destroys the earth and creatures on it as well as man, whereas it is implied at least that this is not the case in the song). The chorus of the song includes the line "and the rainbow never came", and after God cries out and wipes man from this image the chorus does not change. Instead of being exlicit though, Artisan leaves the last line of the chorus the same, thus ending the song with the transparency to interpretation that embodies many of the structures of myth.

This song gets me thinking about one other thing, probably because it came from Rimau whom I was discussing power with. That is, it gets me thinking about power. In this song, "the man" brags about his power which is directly associated with the ability to manipulate and alter his environment (including living things, fellow creatures, and presumably humans?). It strikes me that this is the kind of power men seek, and this is the kind of power men respect, and this is the kind of power, in many ways, that Jesus did not take hold of. In that famous story, "The Brother's Karamazov", when the priest is speaking with Jesus he points out that Jesus, in turning down Satan's three offers, or temptations, Jesus threw out everything that he could have used to fix the world. If you control men's daily bread, you can control them. Men don't seek God so much as the miraculous. And men don't want freedom, they can't handle it, they want someone to rule over them. He tells Jesus that it has taken over a thousand years for the church to clean up the mess Jesus made, and so Jesus should leave. It also strikes me that this kind of power is the power has gotten, and continues to get, humanity in trouble every step of the way.

This, of course, brings us back to Crichton. In the intro to "Prey" he points out that we are very arrogant, we always think were right no matter how many mistakes we have made in the past. He then predicts that "Somewhere in the twenty-first century, our self-deluded recklessness will collide with our growing technological power." He bases this prediction on the idea that our biosphere is so complicated that we have no idea what kind of effect we will have with any given action. He gives an example: "Anyone who is willing to argue, for example, that the industrial policty of clear-cutting forests is more damaging than the ecological policy of fire suppression ignores the fact that both policies have been carried out with utter conviction, and both have altered the virgin forests irrevocably. Both provide ample evidence of the obstinate egotism that is a hallmark of human interaction with the environment." I particularly liked the final lines of his book, which don't give anything away, so don't worry. "They didn't understand what they were doing. I'm afraid that will be on the tombstone of the human race. I hope it's not. We might get lucky."

Yet, this is the kind of power we continually pursue and use. I wonder if it's reading to much into Jesus idea's and life to say he shirked this very kind of power? In some ways, from a Christian point of view, it is no surprise we idolize this kind of power. We are created in the image of God, and it is this power which God demonstrates first, and every day of our lives in the beautiful creation he made. On the other side, God is perfectly wise and we are not, and so God came down to us and demonstrated a better kind of power, and perhaps a power we could use without killing ourselves?

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of aservant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to deaht - even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to teh highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to teh glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:5-11)

But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20:25-28, or see Mark 10: 42-45 or Luke 22:25-27)

Said the man, "I made god in my image
and I made the world that you see.
Like the god that I am, I will do what I can,
I can do what i want when I please."

and the rainbow never came
as the sun beat on the land
and the dove flying high simply died in the sky
when the man who was god raised his hand.

Said the man, "I'm the wisest of creatures
the ruler of all I survey.
I will twist, I will change
all my world rearange,
in my gardedn of eden I will play"


Said the man, "I give life and I take it,
I own the earth and the see.
With a wave of my hand I can clear all this land,
til the only one left will be me."


Said the man, "I control every creature
and their futures I hold in my hand.
I'm a god, i'm a king, I can do anything
for no one can stop what I plan.
I need no idol to worship.
I worship the progress I make.
When I tear down the old, build tommorow in gold,
I will take, I will fake, I will break."


Cried the God, "I made you in my image
You harnessed the earth I designed
With the power you employed, all my work you destroyed
I'll wipe you and your world from my mind."


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