Creation 2.0: Questions for the lesson September 9, 2012

UCC members: The materials these questions relate to will be emailed to you immediately after the September 9, 2012 class. Please reflect on the passages cited and try to answer the questions on your own.

Other readers: See the Creation 2.0 page to find the materials these questions relate to.

1. Moses wrote,

(Gen 1:26-27 NAS) 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in  Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of  the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all  the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  27  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;  male and female He created them.

(Gen 1:28 ESV) And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen 1:28 ESV)

What does the text mean when it says man will “rule” and “have dominion”? The same words are used in the Old Testament of the reign of kings and even of God.

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2. New Testament thought derives heavily from Daniel 7:17-27. If the “Ancient of Days” refers to God and “saints” or “holy ones” refers to Christians, whom does Daniel say will rule in the Kingdom?

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3.  Paul wrote,

(Rom 5:17 ESV)  17 For if, because of one man’s trespass,  death reigned  through that one man, much more will those who receive  the abundance of  grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in  life through the one man Jesus Christ.

Paul says that “those who receive … grace … reign in life through … Jesus … .” What on earth does this mean? “Reign” translates basileuo, meaning “to exercise authority at a royal level, be king, rule” (BDAG) or “to exercise the highest influence” (Thayer).

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3. You’ll remember this passage about David from our studies a few quarters ago –

(2Sa 6:14-15 NIV) 14 Wearing a linen ephod, David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, 15 while he and all Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouts and the sound of trumpets.

(2Sa 6:17-19 NIV) 17 They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD. 18 After he had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD Almighty. 19 Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.

David was of the tribe of Judah. How could he act like a priest? Did he?

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4. Hebrews refers to Jesus as a priest after the order of Melchizedek. Of course, Jesus, as a descendant of David, was also of the tribe of Judah. (You’ll recall Melchizedek from our study of Abraham a few years ago.)

(Psa 110:1-7 NIV) . The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” 2 The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” 3 Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor, your young men will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb. 4 The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” 5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. 6 He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. 7 He will drink from a brook along the way, and so he will lift his head high.

Was David also a priest in the order of Melchizedek?

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5. Are we?

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6. We are called both “priests” and “kings.” Who else meets that description?

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7. If David is the prototypical priest-king, so close to God’s heart that the prophets call the Messiah — Jesus — “David” and God covenanted with David to send the Messiah out of his family, just what makes David worthy of such an honor? In what sense is he like Jesus?

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8. Think of David’s time in the wilderness while being chased by Saul and his army, intent on killing David (1 Sam 18 – 31 — a very fun read in a modern translation). How was David’s life in the wilderness like that Jesus in Palestine?

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9. If we’re kings/priests/images of God, just what does that mean for how we should act? What about David’s time in the wilderness is a model for us today?

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About Jay Guin

I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
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3 Responses to Creation 2.0: Questions for the lesson September 9, 2012

  1. I will comment on #3. This idea of Christians being able to “reign” puzzles me. As you have shown there is a thread of this idea throughout scripture. It brought to my mind the 2nd verse of the Gospel of Thomas:

    2) Jesus said, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he
    finds. When he finds, he will become troubled. When he becomes
    troubled, he will be astonished, and he will rule over the All.”

    And the word “rule” in the Greek Oxyrhynchus fragment is a form of basileuo also. The Gospel of the Hebrews also has something similar to this.

    It has been important in our heritage to seek to expunge the accretion of doctrines and traditions acquired by Christianity since the first century. But these references are evidence to me that a lot was going on that we have little knowledge about and that is ripe for further investigation. The metaphor that describes to me the situation is that of an iceberg. What we have from that age is just the tip of the iceberg. We can hope that more manuscripts and breakthroughs in thinking will occur to feed our desire to know what is underneath the surface.

  2. Scott K says:

    Now for the word “dominion” or “rule”. In Hebrew this is radah. It’s a royal word. This is the dominating rule of a king. But let’s pause and think of the kind of king that God desires. The same word is used in Psalm 72, originally a coronation psalm for Solomon. Verse 8: “May he have dominion [radah] from sea to sea . . .” But now look at verses 12-14 to see what that dominion, that radah, looks like:

    He delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight. (NRSV)

    What is the kind of rule that God doesn’t want? Ezekiel 34:4 gives us an example. In a tirade against Israel’s kings, God says through the prophet, “You have not strengthened the weak, you have not healed the sick, you have not bound up the injured, you have not brought back the strayed, you have not sought the lost, but with force and harshness you have ruled them.”

    The dominion that God desires is one that protects the defenseless and gives justice to the oppressed. Applying this to the command for humanity to exercise dominion over creation, we can see that while we rule over creation, we’re called to protect it. As a king accepts tribute or taxes from his subjects, so too we receive a bountiful sustenance from the fruits of creation. Yet also as a king should take care of the weak and poor in his kingdom, so too we are called to guard natural beauty, preserve endangered species of God’s creatures, and even to restore the places which we have too often ruled “with force and harshness.”

    So, in the spirit of a targum or paraphrase, here’s my take on how we should interpret Genesis 1:28: “Be fruitful and have children, filling the earth with your life so that you can have power to fight against everything in it that leads to death. Rule with care and fairness over the natural world, over the myriads of My beautiful creatures – from tropical fish to soaring eagles to dogs and cats – every creature that is a part of this living world.”

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