29 January, 2010

Man Gave Names to All the Animals – Jason Mraz


Yet another song from Jason Mraz... Bob Dylan wrote this song originally, but I personally prefer this cover. There is an obvious Biblical reference to the second story of creation in Genesis 2 and I really wonder how right-wing creationists took it. This second account of creation – although being slated by feminist theology – has a very different interpretation of God and cosmogony when compared to Genesis 1.
'19So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner.'
As God constantly brings forth his creation man is called not just to be a faithful steward, but also to exercise his creativity and originality in interpreting the cosmos. To name something is frequently associated to 'calling into being' and affirming. It is really powerful stuff!
I particularly like the hint at the end of the song, where the lyrics seem to end abruptly. There is a subtle reference to what was to come when a 'slithering figure' and a tree appear together in the book of Genesis... Interestingly this song does not name the animal, and to be honest, why should we? 'The Fall' can be interpreted as the end of the God/man partnership when man stopped to use his creativity together with THE Creator of all. He came to know both good and evil, but he could not bear this knowledge... Man forsook his God-given imagination and turned all his efforts to the search for 'the tree of life' – or similar things. This quest brought it to exploit everything and to crave spiritual oblivion. As a by-product he persecuted prophets, philosophers and anyone through whom the eternal light shone – and still shines. Man's originality is now mingled with blood and the quest for the impossible. What is then his primordial creativity?
'22Then the Lord God said, 'See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever'— 23therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.'

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

He saw an animal that liked to growl
Big furry paws and he liked to howl
Great big furry back and furry hair
Ah, think I'll call it a bear

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

He saw an animal up on a hill
Chewing up so much grass until she was filled
He saw milk coming out but he didn't know how
Ah, think I'll call it a cow

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

He saw an animal that liked to snort
Horns on his head and they weren't too short
It looked like there wasn't nothing that he couldn't pull
Ah, think I'll call it a bull

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

He saw an animal leaving a muddy trail
Real dirty face and a curly tail
He wasn't too small and he wasn't too big
Ah, think I'll call it a pig

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

Next animal that he did meet
Had wool on his back and hooves on his feet
Eating grass on a mountainside so steep
Ah, think I'll call it a sheep

Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, in the beginning
Man gave names to all the animals
In the beginning, long time ago

He saw an animal as smooth as glass
Slithering his way through the grass
Saw him disappear by a tree near a lake...

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