Re: [asa] rainbow covenant

From: Jack <>
Date: Thu Oct 11 2007 - 18:55:59 EDT

I am reluctant to recommend a book based just on a book review, but I just
read the review last night and I have not had a chance to read the book yet.
But as I was reading the review it struck me that the ideas in the book are
similar to many things that we discuss here, but in a historical context
instead of a scientific one. And the topic of the book deals specifically
with this issue of God's punishment.

The book by Steven J. Keillor is titled; God's Judgments, Interpreting
History and the Christian Faith,
and the review is here:

Some excerpts from the review:

"Claims of divine providence and divine judgment [as causes of historical
events] are at a minimum empirically unverifiable, if not also na´ve,
irresponsible, and dangerous. Therefore modern historians who are also
Christians must work according to critical, disciplinary canons that include
writing as if they were deists or atheists, even if they believe that God
acts in history."

"Keillor's book is so original, so radically subversive of widespread and
mostly unquestioned intellectual assumptions in the secular academy, and yet
so carefully written and trenchantly argued, that it might shake up and
broaden the discourse of graduate seminars in American history at our
universities. It is at once a bold argument about the interpretation of
major events in American history, a contribution to Christian theology as
chiefly an understanding of history rather than a quasi-philosophical
worldview, and a penetrating analysis of the current political, social, and
cultural situation in the United States."

"In three densely exegetical and theological chapters, Keillor develops his
interpretive foundation. Central is the notion, pervasive in the Old
Testament prophets, that God judges not only individuals, but nations-all
nations, not only ancient Israel and its neighboring kingdoms-as part of his
action in history....Unlike modern conceptions in which divine action and
natural causality are assumed to be mutually exclusive, Keillor follows
Scripture and traditional Christianity in seeing God's action in and through
ordinary historical processes; ..."

And for example:

"After patiently considering multiple possibilities, he concludes with a
"cautious, cause-restricted interpretation of September 11 as possibly God's
judgment on us for our materialism, our cultural exports seducing others
into immorality and our use of terroristic guerrilla units against the
Soviets" in the 1980s in Afghanistan."

So if Keillor is correct, is the rainbow covenant limited to "natural
causes"? Are all judgments of God, since the time of (Noah?) mediated via
mankind? Or is the rainbow covenant limited to "worldwide" judgments, but
regional judgments could very well be mediated via either "natural causes"
or mankind?

> Regardless, I think the meaning of the rainbow
> covenant goes beyond the particular context of a
> flood. I see it as a promise that God will never
> (again?) use natural laws and natural phenomenon to
> reign whole-scale destruction on the world (or what
> seemed to Noah to be the world, at the time) as
> punishment. Thus, it speaks to the larger questions
> that we all ask when a major natural catastrophe
> strikes--why did this happen? Why didn't God stop it?
> Was God angry with us?
> I suppose if the same story were written in this day
> and age, the same convenant might look something like
> "Never again will I use a hurricane (or tsunami) to
> punish the world". (And no, I am not arguing that God
> was angry w/ or punishing New Orleans or Asia)
> In Christ,
> Christine

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Received on Thu Oct 11 18:57:10 2007

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