Re: Extinction (was Re: Stereotypes and reputations)

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Mon Aug 01 2005 - 12:44:39 EDT

Rich et al. -

The theology of the Leviticus passage (& of course similar ones throughout scripture) are fine - as far as it goes. It's common sense religion: The rules are there for a reason: Obey the rules & succeed or disobey & you'll fail. & the prophets saw the destruction of Judah as a consequence of failure to live by God's law.

But what happens if we fail to live in accord with God's demands? Is that just the end? The much more radical message of the prophets is that yes, destruction will come AND that God will be faithful is spite of our failure, in spite of the destruction of even the things that God has given to make life as God's people possible. As Kierkegaard pointed out (& as Bill H just noted), that prophetic trust is what made Abraham a "knight of faith" - that he trusted that God would be faithful to his promise even though the child in whom the promise was embodied was killed. This is something much more radical than common sense religion.

& it's essential because we always do fail in a fundamental way to observe the law. The very fact that we try to observe it to ensure our survival & security means that we aren't observing it simply because it's God's law & we love God with all our heart & soul & strength & mind. Ultimately our only confidence is in God's faithfulness in spite of our failure.

  ----- Original Message -----
  To: ; ; ;
  Sent: Monday, August 01, 2005 8:44 AM
  Subject: Re: Extinction (was Re: Stereotypes and reputations)

    The possibility that God would in fact allow extinction is an important step on the way to realizing that God could even use extinction in bringing forth new forms of life, as in natural selection. & that in turn is a step on the way toward realizing that the God who is active in the evolutionary process is the God whose character is made known in the cross & resurrection of Christ.

  You shall not make yourselves unclean in any of these ways, for in these ways the heathen, whom I am driving out before you, made themselves unclean. This is how the land became unclean, and I punished it for its iniquity so that it spewed out its inhabitants. You, unlike them, shall keep my laws and my rules: none of you, whether natives or aliens settled among you, shall do any of these abominable things. The people who were there before you did these abominable things and the land became unclean. So the land will not spew you out for making it unclean as it spewed them out; for anyone who does any of these abominable things shall be cut off from his people. Observe my charge therefore, and follow none of the abominable institutions customary before your time; do not make yourselves unclean with them. I am the Lord your God. 3

  Leviticus 18: 24-30

  If you interpret "spewing out of the land" as extinction, then in this passage God is doing two things. Acknowledging that extinction of human families occurs and that God can show human families how to avoid extinction.

  Just an observation. Not

  rich faussette
Received on Mon Aug 1 12:46:34 2005

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