Saturday, March 29, 2014

Genesis: the introduction of God’s “holy temple city” on earth

I’m going to be posting some selections from T.D. Alexander’s “From Paradise to Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch”, one of the best works I’ve found on making the Old Testament understandable, especially in the light of the New Testament.

The opening chapters of Genesis introduce themes that will be central in the subsequent narrative. Principal among these is the expectation that the earth is to become God’s dwelling place through the construction of a holy temple-city. As God’s vice regents, humans are to extend his authority over the earth, at the same time ensuring its sanctity as a sacred space. Tragically, tempted by the serpent, Adam and Eve betray their Creator and thereby lose their royal and priestly status. Expelled from Eden and alienated from God, human beings try to establish a name for themselves by using their God-given ability to build an alternative city. Though their initial attempt is thwarted by God, the aspirations of those who built Babel-Babylon live on. Against this background, the book of Genesis records the call of Abraham, with whom God will begin the long process of reversing the consequences of humanity’s rebellion against its Creator (T.D. Alexander, “From Paradise to Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch” (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, (2012 Third Edition), pg 130).

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