Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Song of Habbakuk, Habbakuk 3:2 - 19

This prayer of the prophet repeats some of the earlier themes of God's deliverance of His people. It differs in its use of imagery concerning the creation of the world. "In the beginning" there is cosmic chaos represented by turbulent water which is brought into order as creation blossoms with mountains illuminated by the sun and the moon. Beautiful.

It is unfortunate that creation has come to be a source of conflict between the church and society. Actually, "the creation story" itself is a misnomer since the Bible contains several creation narratives. The account in Psalm 104 predates Genesis, and the New Testament declaration of  "In the beginning was the Word" in John 1 is familiar to all Christians. I was surprised to learn a couple of years ago that even Genesis contains two creation stories. Go back and read Genesis 1 and 2 again. It's not one story continued; it's two stories. And very different stories at that. Genesis 1 begins with water chaos and has male and females created at the same time. Genesis 2 begins with drought and has man created first. The purpose of creation in Genesis 1 is the worship and rest of the Sabbath. "The fall" is a major theme of Genesis 2. It is possible to convolute the details and make one big story out of the two chapters, but scholars are certain that there were two different authors who wrote two independent accounts of creation and both were valued enough by the ancient Hebrews to be included in scripture. Neither account was intended to be a scientific description of how the world came into being.  Rather, their concern was why. And could any one story ever answer that? We were created in the image of a God who brings order out of chaos and finds joy in the act of creating.

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