Before there was light, darkness was upon the Face of the Deep, but the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters, so the formless void had a Face (Gen 1:2). The Face of the Spirit manifests in uncreated energy, before created energy transmutes into created matter, which is the material creation. The revelation of uncreated light above the visible heavens completes the traditional mystery of Day One, glory which enshrines the mysteries of the Holy of Holies. Day Two sees the creation of the firmament, the vast expanse that separates heaven and earth, whilst Day Three is witness to the separation of dry land from the seas and the initial creation of life (Gen 1: 6-13). Day Four beholds the creation of the sun and moon and with them the lights of the visible heavens, suns we call stars (Gen 1: 14-19). So before creation, the Face of the Deep, which is covered in darkness, is formless void, but the Spirit of God moves upon the face of the waters. This mythic story in Genesis is very ancient but recently science, with the help of the Hubble and Kepler telescopes, has been probing further out in space and back in time, giving us wondrous glimpses into the origins of the universe. The Face of the Deep lies behind all this, a face of love and glory that awakens and inspires the heart.
The Spirit of God still moves upon the face of the waters, but now science as well as ancient wisdom is witness to the wonders that are being unveiled. Indeed, as the handmaid of wisdom, science is able to help wisdom discern what plunges wonder into awe-struck amazement, as each new discovery pushes old boundaries and questions us together with all we think we already know. Living on the very edge of the knowable, we live with unknowing, with ineffability, with bafflement that opens us to what perhaps we cannot know, but wisdom discerns beyond us, the glory that unveils the hidden Face of the Deep. In stillness and in silence, we behold with awe and wonder what is revealed in what we do not know. At times, wonder hovers between terror and amazement; at others, amazement rises into joy, delight and ineffable gratitude. Beauty hallows hearts that dwell in ineffable wonder, striking awe into every perception, transfusing perception with transfiguring glory.
When the Face of the Deep ineffably imparts awestruck wonder, wisdom begins to communicate ineffable gratitude. Thanksgiving begins to overflow into a timeless Eucharist on the very edge of the knowable, when the Deep unveils its ineffable Face. As light, the Deep illumines, as glory the Deep deifies those who turn and see. We are inseparable from the oneness that envelops time and space, that transcends time and space, that was never subject to time and space, even for a moment. We are not just observers of wonders but seers in whom wonders are unveiled. The Face of the Deep is ineffable glory calling to us to turn and see, deep calling to deep in graced unknowing. The face of glory questions us, as to whether we are who we think we are, or whether we are on the inside of dazzling darkness all along, in which case, we are the image of God whose likeness is always loved and known by angels and saints who behold the Face of the Deep. That Face was always already unveiled when the Spirit moved on the waters of the formless void, and the Deep was seen to be the heavenly Father’s smile of love, sending us out and welcoming us home.