Celebrating Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month #15
"God Created Heaven and Earth" (United Methodist Hymnal, 151) is a popular traditional Taiwanese hymn celebrating God's greatness and power, mercy and grace in creation, with Scripture references to Genesis 1:1-5, Psalm 148, and Acts 4:24.
Translators Boris Anderson (b. 1918) and Clare Anderson (1923-2008) were British missionaries to Taiwan and were I-to Loh's teachers.
The tune, Tōa-Sia, is a traditional Taiwanese melody that "comes from the Plains aborigines of Taiwan who have been assimilated into the Chinese population and who do not exist as a distinct group anymore." I-to Loh's harmonization adds counterpoint and counter rhythms while preserving the tune's distinctiveness.
Composer I-to Loh (b.1936) is a hymnologist, ethnomusicologist, composer, editor, and professor who has specialized in church music of Taiwan and other Asian countries. He has taught at the Tainan Theological College in Taiwan, directed church and collegiate choirs, and published over fifty anthems and hymns.