Saturday, May 11, 2013

First Testament Theology: God Birthed

In preparation for Fuller Theological Seminary, I've been reading as much as possible about pretty much everything: historical criticism, textual criticism, Greek/Hebrew etc. I picked up John Goldingay's Old Testament Theology: Israel's Gospel (the first volume in his three volume set) and what he wrote continues to amaze and challenge me.

Included below is such an excerpt:
In the beginning, God birthed the heavens and the earth. Genesis 2:4 itself describes creation as "the generations of the heavens and the earth," suggesting that they came into being like something like giving birth (he includes a lengthy footnote on the implications of the subjective versus objective genitive). Psalm 90:2 makes that explicit: "Before the mountains were birthed, or you labored with earth and world, even from age to age you were/are/will be God."

Any suggestion that the First Testament does not speak of God giving birth to the world, as some other creation account do, joins many other failed attempts to set the First Testament off from these other works. The boundaries usually turn out to be permeable. Yes, God gave birth to the world. Of course it is a metaphor, but then so are statements such as "God shaped" or "God created." All such statements use the language of analogy. Birthing is an image that tells us something true about God's relationship with the world, though like all images it has to be set in the context of other images so that we can guard against taking it too far.

First, birthing suggests wondrous mystery. It is stupefying that a fully alive being emerges from the body of its mother. It is extraordinary that mountains should exist, and human beings stand amazed before their majesty.

1. Goldingay, Old Testament Theology: Israel's Gospel, pg61-62.

1 comment:

  1. When do you start seminary?
    Can't wait to hear about what you"ll be learning.