Guests: Alden Thompson and Bob Cushman
Major Texts: Genesis 1, Ps 8:3, Rom 8:19-22, Lev 11:14-22, Gen 2:1-3, Mark 2:28
The lesson this week revolves around three main eventualities-the days of creation, the sequence of creative events, and the completion of the creation week with the resultant establishment of the Sabbath.
The first item can be dealt with quite quickly. How shall we understand the “days” found in the creation story? This matter has been argued over for decades with some people wanting to lengthen the “days” into long periods of time, for example. When asking what the Bible has to say about this, it is simple. The days of creation are just the same as any other days. In other words, the Bible writers do not envision days longer than the regular days in any week. They see the weekly cycle as being initiated by the creation week (incidentally, we know of no other possible origin of the 7-day week). If a person subscribes to the idea of a sovereign and mighty God who dwells above the natural world, this is not a problem for there is nothing this God can do in a week that cannot be done in a day. Put another day, lengthening the days into longer periods does not create an advantage if God is almighty and sovereign.
The second Issue this week has to do with the progression of the creation week as described In Genesis 1. A lot of people want to impose a strict, western-style chronological progression onto this story. I suspect its author had no concept of a strict chronological system such as we envision. It is more helpful to look at progression ontologically, as a sequence of events by which reality came into being. This can easily be seen by noticing that there is a relationship between particular days mentioned in the story- day 1 and day 4, day 2 and day 5, day 3 and day 6. When looked at ontologically this is striking for we see God, on the first three days, making the various domains of the world’s reality- day and night, the expanse between the waters; then dry ground with its vegetation – while on the last three days, he populated those domains-sun, moon and stars, then the living creatures of the sea, then the land animals and humans. By this process, God established the reality we know.
The third item has to do with what happened when God was done creating. Scripture says that God stood back, looked things over, and pronounced it very good. Then God established a memorial in time, something humans cannot access or change, within which and by which His creatures could be reminded of their origins as well. This memorial in time is the Sabbath, a time expressly made for the benefit of human kind. Sabbath was made to help keep humans reminded about their origins as well as to help rejuvenate them as they progress through life.
- What do you think the experience of humans throughout history would have been had people all over been careful to revere and reverence the Sabbath?
- Do you know of any way to explain how impersonal things plus time plus chance can
- Think about the fact that God mediated to His creation some capacities of its own to grow, multiply, cover the earth. We know this also includes the ability to change so that we can say the world today Is not the way God made it.
- What do you think if the Sabbath as a possible environmental tool and keeping the Sabbath as an environmentally sound practice?