Named and Known

Who gives you a name?  Who gives you a number?  When everything is turned into ones and zeroes, is that why we behave so beastly?   We talk to people over the internet, using ones and zeroes to communicate, in ways we would never talk to them face to face.  I wonder, this turning names into numbers thing, is that what brings out the beast in us?  We have to be careful with that, a little suspicious with it.

Calling things by their name and not number is the way of the Lamb.  It’s also the first vocation of man.   In the second creation account in Genesis 2, we have the creation of man before the creation of the animals.  You have man created and placed in a garden, there is vegetation but no animals.  There’s also no woman yet, just the man, Adam.  Man is in the garden, and it seems God looked on and said he looks kind of lonely.  So God forms all the animals from the dust of the earth as he already has the man (remember, we are talking about the second creation account).  They are all brought before Adam and gives them all their name.   

Then finally there’s this being that’s taken from his side, and he names her also.  He’s Ish, man.   He names the person taken from his side Ishah.  Ish and Ishah, man and woman.  Interesting side note here, until God created Eve from the flesh of Adam, there was no mention of Adam as Ish.  He was just Adam, which is actually a generic Hebrew term which simply mean human.   After God created a being from the flesh of Adam, human, we see gender terms Ish and Isha.   When we look back at the first creation account we see “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Genesis‬ ‭1:27‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  It’s almost as though we are being shown that Ish and Isha can’t live one without the another.   It takes Ish and Isha together to make a full human being.  In other words, we can’t be fully human human on our own, Ish and Isha need one another to fully complete the image of God for which we were created.   But that’s a whole other thought line there.   

So we have Ish and Isha, man and woman.  The first vocation given us in the garden is to give things names.  He names everything.  Get this, this is deep.  Humans are the ones who make creation a community of the named and known, not just an impersonal collection of unknown and disassociated things.  We have the universe, it’s all out there.  Everything that is happening is happening.  Whether in interstellar space or right here on our spinning blue sphere, there’s all the things going on.  They would happen without us, but there would be no sense to it.  There would be no story to tell.  Man comes along bearing the image of God and starts naming things, making a story of it all.  Instead of this being just a cold world of unknown and disassociated things, it’s going to be a community of the named and the known.  

Without humanity the universe is a cold and impersonal collection of objects.  With humanity giving names to things, the universe becomes known and personal.


John Lewis
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5 thoughts on “Named and Known

      1. Don’t let reviews scare you off. From your writing, I can tell you’re a deep thinker. So I think you’d enjoy it or at least find it interesting. Plus, there’s a religious undertone to it.

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  1. Names and numbers are a big theme throughout Scripture. Pharaoh only sees worth in the Isrealites through how many bricks they can make. John’s Revelation talks about the number of the beast. But it is God who gives names. Jesus does this with Simon, giving him the name of Peter (really a characteristic).

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