Sunday, June 21, 2009

Establishing the boundary of water and land

I am slowly and intermittently reading through Karl Barth's, Church Dogmatics, vol 3.1, The Doctrine of Creation.

Today I read some of his exegesis of Genesis 1:9-10:
And God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear." And it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
Barth argues this is concerned with much more than the real material world of water and land but with the sovereignty and immeasurable greatness of God, is a presentation of the grace in virtue of which God sustains and protects man for Himself and His purposes for him, and of the patience of God by which man is constantly upheld. If the processes and relationships of nature are to all appearance the primary things considered in this and the other passages, it must be added at once that the primary things which they really have in view are not the billows of the Mediteranean Sea, nor the frequently mentioned sand of the Palestinian shore which forms its boundary, but the miraculous passage of Israel through the Red Sea, as depicted in Exodus 14 and frequently extolled in later writings (cf. Isiaish 43:6f, Psalm 106:9, etc.), and its repetition at Israels' entrance into the land promised to their forefathers.
It is the same sovereign YHWH who brought the universe into existence, who parts the Red Sea and the Jordan River.

1 comment:

  1. A marvelous thought, which never occurred to me. However, could it not be slightly different? For example, water was seen as the embodiment of chaos. Doesn't this actually show that God can bring order out of chaos?
    Your thoughts Ross?