Monday, November 14, 2022

A Third Creation Account?

I just had a new theological thought while working on this week's sermon (wouldn't be surprised if some scholar had already written a book on this, but it's been an interesting process trying to put it into words).

People sometimes refer to the First Testament as recounting "a vengeful/wrathful God" and the New Testament as being focused on mercy and grace. But if you read the prophets, they show that God's desire has ALWAYS been for reconciliation and peace throughout creation. And indeed, as we move through the history of humanity in the First Testament, it seems that, although violence persists, God steadily becomes less and less involved in it (or maybe, is less associated with it). So the reality is that, instead of having a vengeful God that suddenly transforms into a merciful God, we have a trajectory throughout history from chaotic human violence to (ultimately) peaceful divine coexistence.

Then I was thinking, "Huh, chaos to order; sounds like the creation account." And then I realized that not only IS it a creation account; it's THE creation account. What if the "God creating the world is seven days" is a condensed metaphor for the ongoing creation that God is STILL doing in the world - what Paul refers to as the new creation, what MLK jr. refers to as the arc of the moral universe? Not of bringing "things" into existence, but of the evolution of human morality/righteousness/love/holiness (or whatever you want to call it) to its full expression. So truly, not only are we reflecting God's creative nature, *we're currently taking part in the original divine act of creation itself*.

Science is (rightly) concerned with the mechanics of the universe, but that's not religion's purpose. Faith should be concerned with the path from who we were to who we are becoming to who we will be. So the only creation that matters is the process of humanity becoming who God intends for us to be. That's what all of scripture is about, and what people of faith are supposed to be paying attention to.

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