Thursday, October 26, 2006

Creation and Atonement - Wisdom

Genesis 1:1-4 is a description of the Atonement ritual. It can be compared to Jesus' life and his death on the Cross.

Some presuppositions:
1. Collective murder and the group unity that occurs after it is culturally creative.

2. Atonement rituals and sacrifices are ritual reenactments of the original collective murder. The rituals are renewing of the bonds of creation.

3. Jesus' death was a collective murder.

4. Jesus' life and death was the fulfillment of the Great Atonement Ritual.

Let's get back to Genesis. I've posited that Genesis 1:1 should read something like "With Wisdom God created the heaven and the earth" or "In the beginning of Wisdom, God created the heaven and the earth."

The Aramaic translation (Targum) of Genesis translates Genesis 1:14 this way,
From the beginning with wisdom the Memra of the Lord created and perfected the heavens and the earth. And the earth was waste and unformed, desolate of man and beast, empty of plant cultivation and of trees, and darkness was spread over the face of the abyss; and the spirit of mercy from before the Lord was blowing over the surface of the waters.
Scholars haven't been able to define the term "Memra". Here's someone else's english translation of the Genesis Targum,
1. As the beginning, the Son of God creates the heavens and the earth.*
The first word in Genesis is Be'reasheet. It is a compound word the Be' means "with" and raesheet means "a first wisdom". Wisdom in the Bible is not just intelligence, it is a personification. I'm not quite ready to say that Jesus equals Wisdom. Let's look at some texts from the Bible.

Proverbs 8:22-30:
22The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 23I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. 24When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: 26While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. 27When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: 28When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;

Jeremiah 10:12
2He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.
Psalm 33:6-7:
6By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 7He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.

Psalm 104:24;
24O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
John 1:1-5:
1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
Jesus was at the beginning of the world, the lamb slain since the foundation of the world. The world was created through Jesus. Jesus was the method of creation.

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