Creation and Salvation

Typically we do not think of the topics of creation and salvation together. The topic of creation typically arises for discussions about origins and science and even marriage. But not deliverance. Yet the topics belong together.

One benefit to living through 50 inches of snow in 5 days is that you get a chance to work on your core muscles. The second benefit: lots of reading time. And in my reading I came across several unexpected references that in some way wed the themes of creation and salvation/deliverance. I’ve typed them out for my own future reference and reproduced them here for anyone interested:

1. Creation and deliverance as the structure of the Pentateuch. John Sailhamer: “In the Pentateuch, as elsewhere in the Bible, the twin ideas of creation and salvation are inseparably linked. This is expressed compositionally at the macrolevel in the fact that the Pentateuch begins with an account of creation (Gen 1:1) and reaches its culmination point in the salvation story of the exodus (Ex 14). … The compositional macrostructure of the Pentateuch (Gen 1–Ex 15) therefore is a witness to the centrality of creation in the biblical notion of salvation.” [The Meaning of the Pentateuch, pp. 578–579]

2. Creation and covenant. Francis Watson: “Creation represents the beginning of the history of God’s covenant relationship with mankind. It is only the beginning of that history, and not the totality; it establishes the foundation or stage upon which the rest of history can unfold. And it is truly the beginning of that history, and not an independent topic that can be considered in isolation from its narrative context.” [Text and Truth, p. 267]

3. Creation as deliverance. The creation account seems to presume some type of primordial dualism. Bruce Waltke: “the creation narrative is a story of redemption, of the triumph of light over darkness, of land and sky over water, both of which are essential for life” [An Old Testament Theology, 181]. Rolf Knierim: “Creation and Israel’s own history are correlated under the aspect of Yahweh’s salvific actions. Creation out of chaos is seen as the first in a chain of salvific actions. Here, world order and Israel’s history are united under one purpose, liberation from chaos and oppression. Thus, it can be said that Yahweh is the creator of the world because he is its liberator from chaos, just as he is the creator of Israel because he is its liberator from oppression. Therefore, the notion of liberation belongs to both creation and Israel’s history.” [The Task of Old Testament Theology, p. 209–201]

4. Creation and deliverance in Psalm 136. Note the connection between vv 4–9 (creation) and vv 10–22 (deliverance). God the creator is God the deliverer.

5. Creation as deliverance in Psalm 74:12–17. John Goldingay: “God won a victory at the Beginning as one who effected great deliverance. ‘Deliverance’ [v 12] usually refers to God’s acts in Israel’s experience … But reference to smashing the sea monsters’ heads would more directly suggest a conflict at the time of creation. That is confirmed by the subsequent reference to God’s establishing the plants” [Old Testament Theology, 1:67].

6. Cosmic order and social order in Isaiah. L. H. Osborn: “The prophetic use of creation imagery is even more striking in many parts of Isaiah 40–55; the prophetic promise to the exiles is built upon reminders of God’s creative activity. If God can bring the cosmic order into being God can certainly restore order to Judah. The correspondence between cosmic order and social order is also implicit in the OT concept of salom” [New Dictionary of Biblical Theology, 431].

One thought on “Creation and Salvation

  1. Thanks for this. This is helpful and thought-provoking. I have three young children and appreciate when others do lots of reading and boil down some juicy tidbits to ponder. Where do you live? We’re in Harford County, MD and we got almost 50 inches of snow in 5 days and used our core muscles, too!!

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