Sunday, February 28, 2010

We are free and disobedient animals

This morning I read more of Karl Barth's exegesis of Genesis 1:20-23, particularly:
20 And God said, "Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens."........ 22 And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth."
Barth makes some creative contrasts and similarities between humans and the birds and fish. God speaks His Word to both, blesses them, and commands them. But
If it is true that man, created with the beasts by the will and Word of God, may freely hear and obey this Word, it is also true that he will constantly have before him in the animal world immediately around him the spectacle of a submission to this Word, which, if it not free, is in its own way real and complete. The creature precedes man in a self-evident praise of its Creator, in the natural fulfilment of the destiny given to it at its creation, in the actual humble recognition and confirmation of its creatureliness. It also precedes him in the fact that it does not forget but maintains its animal nature, with its dignity and also its limitation, and thus asks man whether and to what extent the same can be said of him.
K. Barth, Church Dogmatics 3.1, p. 177.

Barth then also discusses how the fish and birds anticipate the central role played by the dove (Holy Spirit), disciples as "fishers of men", and the Greek diagramme ichthus of the name Jesus.

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