Thursday, April 17, 2008

Israel's Gospel II

We are slowly working our way through John Goldingay's "Old Testament Theology, Israel's Gospel."

I was planning to blog about the book chapter by chapter, then realized chapter 2 is 88 pages long.

OK. We will break this up into pieces.

Chapter 2 talks about creation.

Some points thus far:

While societies surrounding the ancient Israelites had elaborate pre-creation myths that explained how their gods came into being, Israel's God--Yhwh--just is. While God might be likened to an artist, a mother or a king, he is none of these things. "God is way beyond any such comparisons," Goldingay writes. "God is wholly other. God is -- God."

However, God does have attributes. He creates the earth with insight (for this, Goldingay cites Proverbs 8). Because God creates with insight, God creates after careful planning and deliberation. He creates (or births) the earth in a thoughtful and purposeful way.

And God's insight is "rejoicing in the inhabited world and full of delight in human beings." (Proverbs 8)

To the Israelites (as with people in the time of Galileo, as we saw), God is behind empirical processes. The order and beauty of nature are a text, which like scripture, reveal God to humans. "The earth is obviously a majestic and precious place and therefore ... its creator is a great artist."

Goldingay brings some green thinking to this equation: Because God is a great artist, his creation demands our reverence.

Humankind is good; the earth is good. How can we enter into this narrative of goodness, rejoicing and delight?

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