Monday, August 26, 2013

Temple-Oriented Creation

In his book, The Tabernacle Pre-Figured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology in Genesis and Exodus, L. Michael Morales comments on the hermeneutically significant position of Genesis 1-3:

That creation is portrayed as a cosmic temple means not merely that the temple cultus is infused with creation theology, but the creation itself informs the cultus because it is itself temple-oriented. Now while the argument has already been made that the cosmic mountain forms a conceptual backdrop to ANE1 literature, including that of Israel, it may also be the case that the creation account(s) of Gen 1-3 function to establish the sacred mountain paradigm fundamental to Israel's tabernacle/temple cultus. For examplle, v 2 of Gen 1 may be read as key to understanding the nature of the waters surrounding the cosmic mountain, through which one crosses to approach the divine abode. God's division of those waters may also be understood as determinative for his judicial role in relation to them. The abundant life in the divine Presence narrated in Gen 2 would explain humanity's need to approach the mount of God, and the expulsion narrative of Gen 3 to justify the tabernacle cultus as the divinely revealed means for that approach. This expulsion, we will argue, establishes the "descent" that generates the question of ascent so central to the cultus of Israel (cf Pss 15, 24).2

1.  Ancient Near East
2.  L. Michael Morales, The Tabernalce Pre-Figured: Cosmic Mountain Ideology in Genesis and Exodus [Leuven-Paris-Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2012], pp. 52-3

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