Monday, June 8, 2009

On Wisdom's Relation to the Torah: Creation and Redemption

In a recent article, C. Hassell Bullock argues that wisdom literature (along with the prophets) is "an affirmation of the fundamental moral principles of the torah . . . [Wisdom] is, indeed, the 'amen' of the Torah." What follows is a fragment that is worthy of reflection:
"the theological spokespersons of the OT were keenly aware that creation was the platform of the religions to the ancient Near East, and they could not permit those religions to abscond with the doctrine of creation and leave Israel with a truncated theology. Redemption, as central as it was in their thinking, was a privilege of none other than the Creator, a theme that Isaiah sounds, and one with which John prefaces his Gospel: only the creator God could redeem. Redemption presupposed ownership, so the doctrine of creation was the necessary complement to the doctrine of redemption. One wonders how the two doctrines could have stood apart. The Ten Commandments give witness to their complementarity by associating the LORD's Sabbath rest with both creation (Exod 20:11) and redemption (Deut 5:15). To restrict Israel's faith to redemption would have been to neglect God's claim on the world and would have been a restriction on redemption itself, for, in the final analysis, God's redeeming acts flow out of his creating acts."
- C. Hassell Bullock, "Wisdom, the 'Amen' of Torah," in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 52, no. 1 (2009).

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