Bible Study Tools / Music

Music and the Creator

by UNC Contributor
Photo by Samuel Sianipar on Unsplash

“Ask, and it will be given to you, search, and you will find, knock and the door will be opened for you,” the Bible tells us in Matthew 7:7.

That statement holds absolutely true in our everyday lives. Yet considering our Creator and the stunning depths of His vast, unfathomable work of creation, the statement holds ever more true. The closer we look, the more we find.

An article some time ago talked about the work of man versus the work of God, comparing a simple sewing needle with a rose. It pointed out how very clumsy that needle appeared under the microscope – how ragged, dented and inconsistent was its surface. It was then compared to a petal of a garden rose that even under very close scrutiny revealed more and more perfection, order and harmony.

Music as God’s Creation

Music has the same inherent attributes, since it’s not a work of man but a work of God. It has evolved over the centuries in man’s hands, depending on the various times, places and the inspiration of the individual composer. But it was the Creator God Himself who put in place all the laws governing the world of sound, also giving man the ability to work with them artistically and scientifically. In that sense, the God who made the universe, the Earth and all life upon it also created music.

Strangely, most people today don’t associate music with the Bible or any type of religion at all. And yet, a close look at its structure reveals an unmistakable trace, a hand-print of the Almighty Creator.

God’s Signature

Several years ago I became quite interested in various numbers and numerical patterns found in the Bible. It took some time however, before I began comparing them with what I had learned previously in my music studies. Never did I realize that so many interesting parallels could be drawn. Soon it was soon becoming obvious that there was a much more direct connection between music and the Creator. The seemingly mysterious ways of God now looked as if they were carefully planned, with a larger, universal pattern in mind.

Origins of Music

The Bible appears to indicate that music was created before man. It also seems to indicate that Satan, the Adversary, was very well educated in it. Ezekiel 28:13 says: “The workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes was prepared in you” (relating to Lucifer) “in the day that you were created.” Isaiah 14:11 adds: “Your pomp is brought down to the grave, and the sound of your viols.”

Here, in Satan’s former, unspoiled state, we see him connected with creating and performing music! Also, three different types of musical instruments are mentioned: pipes, viols and tabrets.

Interestingly, despite all its complexities, music has only three basic elements: melody, harmony and rhythm. Notice that a pipe (flute) is a melodic instrument, since it can only play one note at a time. A viol (lyre or a lute) with its many strings is primarily an instrument of harmony. Tabrets (percussion or drums) add rhythm, making the ensemble complete.

A good musical work must present a good balance of these three elements. Rap music, for example, shows the first two, melody and harmony, either sadly lacking or absent. The result is, as we know, monotonous, dull, and unaccomplished.

God’s Number of Foundation

Most people know that there are 88 notes found on any standard size piano. That is true, although they’re not 88 different notes, but only 12. Seven of them are marked as white keys, five as black. The Bible is filled with different examples of twelves, but perhaps we haven’t noticed a few more similarities.

God’s Number of Perfection

By choosing seven keys out of the 12, we can form a scale with an audible character. That character will be happy and bright or sad and dark, musically known as major and minor.

Most good quality music shows approximately an equal balance of these two types of scales in any larger work. The Creator put them in place as contrasts exactly the same way as day and night or light and darkness. All the holy days occur within the first seven months of God’s calendar. The remaining five months are without holy days. This seems to agree with the color code of the piano keys!

God’s Number of Completion

Three of these seven notes stand in a position of primary importance or significance. To musicians, they are known as Tonic, Sub-dominant and Dominant, or simply First, Fourth and Fifth. They are present in every piece of music as much as there are complete music styles built only on them alone. They serve as the all-important pillars of the whole structure without which it wouldn’t work.

Interestingly, the seven Holy Days of God unveil during three different seasons of the year!

Music as a Part of God’s Plan

In summary, 12 different notes form the basic foundation of music. A choice of seven gives that foundation a specific character. Finally, a finest choice of three notes determines the principal supports on which all music is built. Similarly, out of the 12 months of the year, seven are chosen to accommodate God’s Holy Days, which are celebrated in three distinct seasons of the year.

But that’s not all!

Our Creator, when He walked this Earth as Jesus Christ of Nazareth, had followed this pattern at least one other time. He personally chose twelve disciples. He further picked out seven of them to witness one of His final appearances and hear His last commands: “Feed my sheep” (John 21:2). Finally, He had made the finest choice of only Peter, John and James, who became the only men allowed to see Jesus in the glorious vision of His Transfiguration (Luke 9:28).

God’s Number of Resurrection

While seven notes make up a musical scale, it is the eighth note of the same name and sound as the first one, that restarts and continues this pattern. This concept is identical to that of the eighth day beginning the new week. Also, there were eight people in the ark to “resurrect” mankind from death in the flood.

God’s Throne

Every scale has a seven-note pattern of whole steps and half steps. The next scale in sequence begins five notes up or down in opposite directions from the center. This is, as simple as it can be, the way to find the rest of the scales. Seven scales to the right and left, we find something quite interesting: #7 right is the same sounding scale as #5 left, #6 right as #6 left and #5 right as # 7 left. The logical conclusion would then be that the two lines actually curve down and create two circles, with 12 scales within each, 24 in total.

The complete picture is musically known as the Circle of Fifths and can be commonly found in many textbooks. It actually resembles a clock and suggests that God has created time on a similar principle.

Now notice the two lines of letters within the circles as well as the black dot at the very center. Music uses seven different sharps and flats as markers to alter the pitch of a note. The manner in which they are assembled by the scales makes for the same order from left to right for sharps as from right to left for flats. The two groups practically fade into one another and actually become one.

In other words, the scales on the right totally agree with the scales on the left. They arrange their sharps in the exact same order as the opposite scales impose their flats, arriving in unison at one and the same, unmistakable result.

The final outcome is of utmost significance!

It is an amazingly accurate representation of the immediate surroundings of the very Throne of God, exactly as described in Revelation 4:4: “And round about the Throne are twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones are twenty-four elders, dressed in white robes with golden crowns on their heads.” Verse 5: “Coming from the Throne are flashes of lightening, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and in front of the Throne burn seven flaming torches, which are the seven Spirits of God.” Surprisingly, in the very complex and seemingly endless sphere of music, this picture represents all that is available or even understandable to a listener, musician or a composer of music!

Music as a Form of Worship

What is true about the unity of the twenty-four musical scales is also true about the twenty- four elders. They are mentioned throughout the Book of Revelation seven times, each time with their faces against the ground in total obedience and worship of God. The inevitable question is, since the created angels continually praise and worship their Creator, shouldn't music do the same?

A Universal Guideline

As we have seen, the very design of music reveals God as creator and also His Law. To reflect Himself and His glory through music, He gave us a complete, yet clear and simple guideline. Following that guideline will be as important for music as is keeping God’s Law. On the contrary, disobeying it will have the same disastrous effect on music as breaking the Law of God has on our life and society.

A Musical Rebellion

History clearly tells us that the so-called modern movements of the late 19th century deliberately broke all the rules. The early 20th century system, ironically called the Twelve- Tone System decided to do away with all structure altogether. In the minds of its makers, all notes were made equal, each would be simply given a number and one could “compose” with only a numerical pattern of a sort, such as page of a phone book or a date of birth.

The most fundamental part of any creative work – God-given talent and inspiration – was completely disregarded, structure was dismantled, balance, order and hierarchy thrown out. Fundamental concepts that were put in place by Jesus Christ Himself were considered obsolete and outdated.

The results spoke for themselves. “Modern” became a cover-up word for clashing, disharmonious and uninspired noise, although the books, the critics and the so-called experts in the field have always referred to it as musical progress. Some other, more ethnic experiments in this field went even further. They totally removed the very foundation altogether, using more or less notes than twelve. The outcome was not only absurd but also musically meaningless, consisting of only unintelligible noises sure to aggravate a person in a very short time.

Over the years, things haven’t changed all that much in this regard. A random search through your radio dial will serve as a good demonstration of where we stand today. Our choice as a society, is music well outside the protective bounds of God’s Law. Instead, we have chosen musical rebellion, musical lawlessness as the sign of our time and we suffer for it.

The Music of Tomorrow

But despite the dismal state of most of today’s music, the future looks bright. A widespread understanding of God and His plan will be just a part of life in the world tomorrow. All people will be aware of music’s glorious purpose as a way of respect, love, praise and worship of the Almighty Creator.

As we know, there will be no rebellion in the world tomorrow. In my opinion, there will be no radios, T V ’s, phones and computers constantly bombarding us with noise, while calling it entertainment. There will be no tapes, CD’s and MP3’s that contain nothing but musical trash, totally void of any timeless quality. There will be no “free” music forms as an egotistical, almost insane way of everybody playing whatever they please, all at the same time. There will be no “modern” music to sneer at everything that the Creator made for us to enjoy, nobody trying to destroy the balance between melody, harmony and rhythm. As a result, we will not have whole generations of people who haven't heard a decent piece of music in all of their lives other than by accident. The composers of the future will not purposely “dumb down” their work and follow lame music formulas in order “to sell” and become the next celebrity. Truth and sincerity will be the artists’ driving force, giving back to God what He gave them in their talents. Factors such as disease, death, poverty, envy, ego or lack of time and opportunity will not destroy an extraordinary musical talent, as it has so many times in the past.

One day, upon having his hearing back, Beethoven will write his next big work. Mozart will perform and conduct a concert by himself. Also, one day King David will play his harp and sing his psalms and we will know what they actually sound like.

We are approaching a time like no other in all of history. A time without comparison, an era unheard and unimagined. The music of the future will possess the power to revive our minds and strengthen our bodies like it never has in our lifetime. For the first time in human history, it will fully symbolize and represent its Creator.

For the time being though, let’s thank Him for what we already have. On the next Sabbath, before the pianist ever touches the first key and we take the first breath to sing, let’s remember that He has already created a masterpiece.

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