Friday, June 6, 2008

Writing on Genesis

I have loved preaching through Genesis. We still have a long way to go before we finish. Along the way I am taking my sermon manuscripts and study notes and writing expanded meditations. God willing, once I am finished it will be a helpful, readable, and devotional commentary on Genesis. Every once in a while I will post some random portions of what I have written thus far...

A Creation like no other
Genesis declares a definite cosmology. Cosmology is a word that explains how people understand the universe. For the pagan nations during the days of Moses the created order came about in chaos. The universe was the result of means as varied as warfare among the gods to sexual intercourse between the gods. In these ways the gods of the nations were much like the nations themselves. They were always busy feeding either their appetite for violence or sex. But Genesis offers a radical alternative. In this way Genesis operates as a polemic against the pagan creation myths. The writer is saying quite boldly to God’s people who had almost certainly heard the Babylonian or Canaanite creation stories, “What you have heard from the nations is wrong.”
David Wilkinson calls the creation account of Genesis a “theological attack” against the pagan creation cosmologies.
[1] In contrast to the myths of the nations, the Genesis account is very brief and spare of detail. There is a wonderful economy of words and images in the biblical account. Throughout, the reader’s attention is kept riveted on God. Dumbrell states, “The effortless way in which the world is brought into being by divine command goes beyond what may be parallels in the Babylonian or Egyptian creation accounts. Indeed, it is possible that such accounts were in the author’s mind and that Genesis 1 serves as a polemic against them.” [2]

[1] Wilkinson, David, The Message of Creation (Downer’s Grove, IL: IVP, 2002) p. 21.
[2] Dumbrell, Willliam, The Faith of Israel (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2002). p. 13.

No comments: