rapists into lovers?

Just reading those intro chapters of Genesis, and I noticed what seems quite a contrast between the human vocation statements in the two creation stories.

  • Gen 1:28 says humans are to ‘fill‘ (מָלֵא mala – be full; fill) and ‘subdue‘ (כָּבַשׁ kabash – be raped; subjugate; be humiliated; etc.) the earth…
  • Then Gen 2:15 says they are to ‘tend‘ (עָבַד abad – work, serve) and ‘keep‘ (שָׁמַר shamar – keep, watch, preserve) it.

Quite striking! The first has images of conquest; of a top-down power play… The second has images of care-giving; of a bottom-up servant-hood…

I wonder if this would be the starting place for a biblical theme of violence?  Perhaps, just as there is a tension between priestly (pro-temple) accounts and prophetic (pro-justice) accounts in the OT, this also evidences a tension between understandings concerning violence and war…

…and just as Jesus agreed with the prophets (over against the ‘religious’ priests), he also agreed with those who were the servants and preservers of creation (over against the violent ones who would kill for religious liberty)!

Thoughts and insights welcome.

small verse – big theology

Matthew 1:1 – “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:”

A short verse.  The 16 words above (TNIV) translate only 8 Greek terms. ((Βίβλος γενέσεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ υἱοῦ Δαυὶδ υἱοῦ Ἀβρααμ.))  It not only summarises the following genealogy (1:1-17), but hints at key themes of the whole gospel.

We are being prepared for much more than merely the family history of Jesus.  From verse one, the original hearers/readers of this gospel understood that this story was about Jesus, who is the ‘son of David’, the anointed long-awaited Davidic king, and a ‘son of Abraham’ par excellence, fulfilling (and thus redefining) what it meant to be a member of the people of God. ((cf. 3:9 – “And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.”))  This is a prelude to a genealogy which hints that genealogical ties to Abraham have become irrelevant. ((Of course, I hasten to add, not ‘irrelevant’ in the sense that nothing before Jesus at all matters.  The sharp discontinuity of the new does not do away with all continuity with the old.))

Correct me if I’m wrong, but that looks like Christology, Ecclesiology and Soteriology (and probably more than a dash of narrative theology) in one very small verse.