Friday, 28 October 2005

Reading the Genesis creation stories

“The expositor [of the creation narratives] must move knowingly between two temptations. On the one hand, there is the temptation to treat this material as historical, as a report of what happened.... On the other hand, there is the temptation to treat these materials as myth, as statements which announce what has always been and will always be true of the world.... Our exposition will insist that these texts be taken neither as history nor as myth. Rather, we insist that the text is a proclamation of God’s decisive dealing with his creation. The word “creation” is controlling for such a view. The whole cluster of words—creator/ creation/ create/ creature—are confessional words freighted with peculiar meaning. Terms such as “cosmos” and “nature” should never be carelessly used as equivalents, for these words do not touch the theocentric, covenantal relational affirmation being made.... The text, then, is a proclamation of covenanting as the shape of reality.... This theological affirmation permits every scientific view that is genuinely scientific and not a theological claim in disguise.”

—Walter Brueggemann, Genesis (Interpretation Commentary; Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1982), pp. 16-17.

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