Sunday, August 2, 2009

A rich and fertile creation

This morning I read Karl Barth's exegesis of this passage from Genesis 1:
11And God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth." And it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

As always Barth puts this in the context of the history of God's covenant relationship with Israel.
while the classification is botanical in form, its true significance is typical, like everthing else in the account. .... there can be no doubt that the future history of Israel is distinctively prefigured in it. This is true irrespective of the classification. It must not be forgotten that the green earth as such is to Old Testament man as much an antithesis of the destroying sea as of the barren desert.
He then recounts the significance of desert and wandering in the wilderness in Israel's history.
And this is the historical view which as an antitype as in the creation account of Gen. 1:11-12 is its prototype. We have to realise this when the second half of the third day's work closes with the divine pronouncement that it was good. Good is the earthly life which has its beginning; good is the earth which is the scene of this life; good is the twofold form of life in which further living creatures are envisaged; good is God's presence in the wilderness , and His deliverance from the wilderness, and His transformations of the wilderness into a garden. It is all good because, with the separation of the land from water, it all prepares and prefigures the history which is to take place on earth, and because as this prepartion and prefiguration it corresponds to the will and Word of God.

Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 3.1: The Doctrine of Creation, pp. 154-156.

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