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This is the third reflection for the Season of Creation, which is part and parcel of church liturgy in many traditions. With this point on liturgy in mind, it is fitting that consideration be given to the creation narratives in Genesis 1 and 2 as liturgical texts. The creation as a whole, and specifically Eden, functions as God’s temple over which God rules and humanity serves as priest.
We will discuss liturgy and temple in the context of addressing the second day of creation. On the first day, God declares that there be light. According to John Walton, “Day 1 speaks of time. Even if one thought it was about light, we cannot assume a physicist’s concept of light—we have to think like ancient Israelites. Day 1 includes nothing material.” If the first day speaks of time, the second day speaks of inhabitable space:
God - Expanse - Midst - Waters - Waters
And God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that were above the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day (Genesis 1:6-8; ESV).
In Genesis 1:6-8, we find that God makes an expanse or firmament. Peter Enns claims: “The Hebrew word for this is raqia (pronounced ra-KEE-ah). Biblical scholars understand the raqia to be a solid dome-like structure. It separates the water into two parts, so that there is water above the raqia and water below it (v. 7). The waters above are kept at bay so the world can become inhabitable.”
Walton - Enns - Scholars - Understanding - Creation
According to Walton, Enns and other biblical scholars, we need to embed our understanding of the creation narratives in their ancient context...
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