O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouths of babes and infants you have founded a bulwark because of your foes, to silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor.
You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
I've been meditating upon this, the first Psalm of praise within the Psaltery. It asks an important question: who is man that God should give us the role of royal regent within His creation? That God made all of humanity in His image and likeness — His representation within creation — and His priests — His representatives within creation — is an awesome reality. When doing a little research I ran across this little piece of analysis by James Luther Mays:
Human dominion extends over domestic and wild animals, birds and fish. The list is meant to include all living creatures. This designation of the sphere of human dominion reflects the struggles of early humans to domesticate and control, to live with and by the use of the wilderness of the world. It represents the entire human undertaking to do what the other animals cannot and do not do, order and shape what is already there into habitat. Animals are dependent on a habitat; humans depend on their capacity to craft one. The power and responsibility that belong to that capacity are interpreted by the psalm as a regency given to humankind in the world. The psalm invites us to see all the civilizing work of the human species as honor and glory conferred on it by God and, therefore, as cause and content for praise of God.
What struck was the last line: The psalm invites us to see all the civilizing work of the human species as honor and glory conferred on it by God and, therefore, as cause and content for praise of God. This puts an interesting spin on alignment. It reinforces the notion that within the three alignment (Law/Neutral/Chaos) system, Law equals civilization and Chaos equals the wilderness. But more than that, civilization is defined as the human activity that specifically gives rise to the praise of the One God.
This reinforces my own adherence to the three alignment system and further clarifies my own discomfort with the nine alignment system introduced in 1e. The pseudo-Christian Cleric of OD&D actually makes sense within context of Law/Neutral/Chaos. There is enough flexibility within three alignment system to accommodate a wide variety of world-views, especially a scriptural one. Once D&D moves away from this flexibility into the specific world-views of the nine alignment system, that freedom is severely hampered. The pseudo-Christian Cleric no longer fits as well and the system begins to demand a pagan/polytheistic world-view. This demand found its full expression in 2ed and thereafter, which marks the beginning of my own alienation from the game.
Once again, I find the freedom found in OD&D and her clones allows me to play the game we love in a way that I can live up to the call of Psalm 8.