1. Hmmm. My immediate response is no…
    That is, I affirm what you’re saying, but it overstates especially in relation to creation. Given the way that the prophets and the Psalms use creation as essential proof of the character and nature of God I feel a certain unease about the way your statement is formulated. Because your formulation seems to divorce the cross from creation and it seems–to be very Pauline about it–creation is as intimately a function of Christ as any other part of the Trinity.
    That’s my intuitive reaction–perhaps I can draw something more rational out of it later…

  2. Well, it’s a thought, not a dissertation. But more specifically, I’m knee deep in a history of british science in the early 19th century. I’m really reacting to the then zeitgeist that led people to dismiss the biblical accounts because of the difference between the scientific view of creation and the account in Genesis.
    But, my formulation, if I were to develop it more fully is supposed to do the exact opposite of divorcing Creation from the Cross. It’s meant to show the intimate linkage between the two, with the Cross giving the full biblical account of history its narrative arc.

  3. When I reflect on the creation stories, Genesis 1-2:4, Job 3 and 38-41, and Proverbs 8 among others, but these are explicitly on creation, I always seem to see an undercurrent of redemption – specifically the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Proverbs 8:23 I find very suggestive – perhaps even translatable as “from everlasting I was poured out, from the beginning, from before earth”. If we add John’s gospel to the mix, we have one 24 hour day (shades of George Herbert’s Easter) (cf Genesis 2:4) in which the work of creation and redemption continues.
    Thanks for the thought

  4. That sounds right, Nick. I keep seeing in my mind a medieval illustration of Christ with the builder’s compass measuring out the world–again, coming from Pauline material (and I can’t for the life of me remember which manuscript it’s from…). The idea that this one who was party to creation is the one who hung on the cross for creation’s redemption is a powerful one.
    Again, your point is sound and I recognize what you’re getting at–the fundamental genre error in reading Genesis as scientific history. My reaction is to the first “not” and the implied “but” that seems to pit the cross in the second clause against creation in the first where I know that’s not the intention.

  5. Christopher says

    I want to affirm Derek’s emphasis that the One who created and creates is the same one who hung from a tree. But I also want to say no to use of “mechanism”. This is about Persons and persons (as we are learning human and non), about Creator and creatures (human and non), not merely about some mechanism for salvation. This God enters into the heart of the created condition, indeed, into that of his own making.

  6. Then the Old Testament is meaningless without the New. This view has always made me nervous and seems very dismissive of Judaism. I think you’ve created a clever aphorism, but I wouldn’t try to push it very far.

  7. Thanks Lionel – that’s it exactly – and that’s exactly the right caution.
    Bumper sticker phrases are good for communicating a broad idea. They’re lousy at nuance.

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