Bowing the Heavens


What do the Psalms mean when they speak of the Lord “bowing the heavens”?

“Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.” (Psalm 144:5)
He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.” (Psalm 18:9)

The language is architectural, based on the original and greatest Temple of them all, the cosmic “house” constructed in Genesis 1.

This post has been slain and resurrected for inclusion in my 2015 book of essays, Inquietude.

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13 Responses to “Bowing the Heavens”

  • Robert Murphy Says:

    This is awesome and imminently quotable:
    The request to “bow the heavens” is to bring on a Day of Judgment in which God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven. It “opens the waters” for Israel and closes them for Pharaoh.

    I’m sure you prove it elsewhere — just not here — but I DO operate under the rubric that infants “can eat and not be destroyed because they are already dead, covered in blood, slain under the Law” (1 Cor 7:14).

    That quote, though, has got to be published!

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Robert

    I believe that infants everywhere can eat and not be destroyed because they are under the blood – to a degree. The whole world is now “circumcised” to bring it to faith. The skies are friendly – for now.

    But eating at God’s table is finer dining. It’s for those who are called to BE bread and wine as Israel was, the “facebread” people – but now set alight by the Law of the Spirit.

    Thanks for reading! It’s great to get some encouragement.

  • Uri Brito Says:

    Mike, have you ever attended a service in a paedcommunion practicing congregation? Just curious since sociology is theology and vice-versa.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    I’ve been to a few Anglican Christenings. One of them was mine. Not sure if anyone over here practices PC, but I know they are aware of it. Mark Thompson from Moore College has written about it.

    I agree that sociology is theology, hence my recent comments to Doug Wilson and yourself about PB creating an unbiblical social wall. The access the infants are given is due to blood(line) not Spirit.

  • Uriesou Brito Says:

    Mike, your theology needs a bit of sociology lest it be accused of being incomplete. Anti-PC creates immature civilizations. It allows the plants to grow without water or supervision…by the time you offer it nourishment and protection it is near death. The access infants are given is due to the Spirit granting them access to the Garden/Altar where fruit and grain are provided.

  • Mike Bull Says:


    You’re missing my point – made in the post “Rise of the Uberbaptist.”

    It all boils down to forming and filling, a theme which runs right through the Bible. If baptists are losing their children, it’s because they failed to bring them up in the nurture of the Lord. The solution is not redefining the New Covenant and baptizing them before they are ready. It is to nurture them until they believe and can be baptized. With all due respect, it’s really not that difficult a concept. Baptism does not equal nourishment and protection. Baptism is for full grown trees who offer nourishment and protection.

  • Uriesou Brito Says:

    Mike, how can you say “it’s really not that difficult a concept.” Your theological mentors all disagree with you.
    Baptism equals nourishment and protection precisely because they are not full grown trees yet. Once again, this is important: a seed is already the kingdom though it still has not covered the whole earth with its maturity. What part of this statement do you not agree with?

  • Uriesou Brito Says:

    By the way, I want you to know that I deeply appreciate your labors. –uri

  • Mike Bull Says:

    Uri, the process of growth in all of Covenant history is replicated in the individual. See the blood-to-blood, water-to-water post. I can understand the view of my mentors, but history personal and corporate is linear. Circumcision and baptism fit end-to-end, not side-by-side.

    Thanks for your comments!

  • Michael Shover Says:

    So the table is only for the elders/rulers? then nobody can eat unless they are an elder?

    You don’t want to say that.

    Maybe you can only eat if you are a martyr?

    No, that won’t work.

    concerning the sociology, i have a little post i wrote some time ago.

  • Michael Shover Says:

    Mike, what would you tell your five year old daughter who loved Jesus? Would you tell her that Jesus loves her too? If Jesus loves her, then how does she know that Jesus loves her? You might say because Jesus died for her. but then isn’t baptism the sign that Jesus shed His blood for her, or is it the broken bread and poured out wine, or both? If both, why can she not receive those things which God has given so that His people who love Him would know that He loves them and has died for them?

    It seems that you would want her to believe in Jesus, even if that faith was small, perhaps the size of a mustard see. but then what happens when she expresses that immature faith, perhaps asking to eat with Jesus and to be a member of the church which comes through baptism? What you would you tell her? Would she need to pass some theological exams first? And if so, why do adult Christians not have to take the same exams before they can receive baptism and the Lord’s supper?
    By “exam” I mean, sitting before the elders, having them question her about her “conversion experience”, or about what it means to be a Christian, or the details about the death and resurrection of Christ.

    Really, I guess what I am asking Mike is, What are the criteria for a child to be able to receive baptism and come to the Lord’s table?

  • Mike Bull Says:


    Under the New Covenant we are all prophetic witnesses, typified by Israel after the exile, yeast working within the dough to transform it.

    Or course, God loves fractals, or Hierarchy. Within this priesthood we have those who model Christ to us, pastors and elders, etc. Everything is Triune, with mediation at the centre.


    A child in a Christian home is no different to a child that might come to Sunday School whose parents are not Christians. Why would you baptize them before they are regenerate. Presbyterian churches require adult candidates to be regenerate before baptism. But in its attempt to rectify this double standard, the FV has moved in the wrong direction. Remove infant baptism and the problem blows away like chaff on the summer threshing floor. BUT TRAIN THOSE KIDS! : )

    That’s a beaut photo of Uri.

    It’s funny how baptists feel the need for a baby dedication, and paedbaptists feel the need for confirmation. Jim says confirmation is wrong, but Doug recently suggested some kind of “affirmation of vows” for young adults. Both times are milestones, but for me, a baby dedication doesn’t require any doctrinal acrobatics or redefinitions. Just do what Uri is doing minus the water, and call it a parental vow. No big drama. Circumcision wasn’t a parental vow anyway, unless the girls weren’t parented.

  • Mike Bull Says:

    My kids know that God loves the world. Paedobaptism makes kids think they are somehow special because of their heredity. Israel was special because of their heredity, but that came to an end with Christ. And theirs was a heredity of being made an example of.

    I’ve really answered this on Doug’s blog:

    “We have three children, two of whom are baptized. Pastor Wilson’s books have been a great help to me in being a Christian dad, and I am 100% behind this emphasis on “Covenant parenting”. It seems God just can’t wait to bless even our meagre efforts with results far beyond our expectations. Reading the Proverbs with 9-year-old Nat recently has been amazing for him and for me. But tying baptism to parenting causes too many doctrinal problems for me. It messes up the process of maturity and its “vindication.”

    Our kids didn’t feel left out when they couldn’t have communion. It was inspiring to them, because it was explained to them. The commentary communion gets in our church (mostly informed by JBJ, PJL and DW!) has etched its meaning into their souls. It is soldiers reporting for duty and heading off again on another tour. They look at it, see their futures, and rise to the occasion. They don’t see a rite. They see judgment and grace. So, I don’t believe moving to credobaptism means leaving all the good practical Covenant-application behind. In this area I do have some experience.”