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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What 'creation' is about.

One of the things missing, it seems, in the debate about origins and the Bible (in the poetry blog), at least as I read it, represented on Craig's blog, is something that Al Mohler says in his conference address on the age of the universe. And that is, the Bible doesn't set out to answer a theoretical question about the origin of the universe and its life, but it sets out to communicate God's relationship with his creation in its full teleological scope and show the ramifications of the interactions between God and his creation.

The Bible unfolds the account of our relationship with God, as relational, physical, dependent and 'in his likeness' beings in a long symmetrical set of events, in palindromic fashion.

It goes like this: creation...dissolution of relationship...rescue of creation, or creation, fall, redemption, new creation, in more traditional language.

The creation account sits then as a meaningful (the Spirit revealed it, so its needful us to know, presumably) part of this sequence, and has to be, to make sense in that sequence, delineated by the same spatio-temporal constraints: so the time and event information corresponds to actual things within the world created. As it is, the detailed history of forming the people of God from Abraham, which follows the relating of why such action is needed by God, has a purposive place within the arc of redemptive history. Deny that the ground work in Genesis 1-11 is informative in a realist sense, and the faith of Abraham and the work of Christ, with the hope of renewal, lacks a basis in the way God relates to the world and responds to events within that world.

It is not about 'science' per se, although it interacts with the physical world, definitively, but it is about theology; about God and how it came to be that the world, in need of Christ, is as it is. The whole span of scripture is rich with meaning; not allegory, not figure or metaphor, although it does contain such, for communicative purposes, but, particularly in the case of God's real contact with the creation it has to be real, because what is is a result of what really was and will be.

Moreover, the first half of the sequence: breaking from relationshp, sets the scene that makes the call of Abram and the following events contextually significant: it places them both ontologicall and soteriologically and gives a great 'so this is why!" to Gods acts to save. Then in the second half of the sequence it is not only that we are saved in Christ, but that he is Lord: creator: the bearer of the restored relationship between us and the one who made us. But this has to be in terms the Bible uses: creator as the one whose actions are described in Genesis 1, etc. so that we see that he is creator in as real a sense as he is redeemer and will be creation-restorer.


sam drucker said...

Eric, I agree with your thoughts.

Sam Drucker

Eric said...

Sam, thanks.

Views of Genesis 1, etc. that reject the direct meaning of the text dislocate God from his creation. The Genesis account gives us the contact point between God and his creation/humanity. If this contact point is denied (they end up saying 'he couldn't/didn't do it that way, he did it some other way), then it is lost, I think; and it becomes hard to understand God's 'credentials' as someone called it, for being God: creator or redeemer. God's reminding us that he is creator is, throughout the Bible, the basis for covenant, worship, and his being the rescuer. It also teaches us that the only basically real 'thing' that we experience is love! Throw the Bible's detail out, reject or deny that it touches us in this world's framing (that is time-space congruence of meaning), and all that meaning in Genesis 1 goes too!