Re: [asa] Isaiah 11:6: Wolf and Lamb

From: Merv <>
Date: Sun Sep 14 2008 - 23:44:28 EDT

I see it as a portrait of what we hope for, and (shortcomings aside of
how the "accommodations" may imperfectly match our modern
understandings) the future paradise referenced must be real or else our
hope is in vain. The earlier references in the same chapter about
Christ "striking the earth with the rod of his mouth" or "slaying the
wicked with his breath" --- even the most die-hard fundamentalists are
going to concede that this is a vivid use of imagery, and yet that
"concession" would not make the referenced truth any less real or true.
In a new heaven and a new earth, whatever all that will entail, why
shouldn't these characterizations be truly embodied there? We're
already talking about immortal bodies for ourselves. Docile former
predators should be no big problem after that. But if those details
turn out to be literary license, that's no big blow to my theology --at
least I don't think so.

 We Anabaptists tend to get excited over these passages --or the earlier
one in chapter 2 about swords being beaten into plowshares and nations
not learning war anymore. As impossible as all that sounds we still set
our hopes on a future where those things are somehow brought to fruition
--in a real way. And paradoxically it is already very real in the
hearts of those redeemed by Christ. I.e. --the "already, but not fully
yet" (I don't remember what book I'm borrowing that phrase from) status
of the Kingdom of God. Detractors sneer it away as a mere 'Pickwickian'
fantasy. But to the martyrs who faced torture and death, and refused to
take up a sword against their persecutors, that Kingdom was the only one
in which citizenship really mattered.

p.s. teaching a junior-high Sunday school, I miss out on our adult s.s.
which discussed the "wired-word" topic today of how a church should
react to extremely disruptive members (e.g. an out-of-control autistic
teenager). I don't know what they concluded, but on reading the prep.
materials this morning, the one question that crossed my mind was how
this was apparently a "non-issue" in Jesus' time since such a person was
presumed to be demon-possessed, and was healed on the spot --the very
thing Jesus seemed to pronounce as the inauguration of his Kingdom, and
leaving us to wonder why we don't do that today (our vast array of
psychological labels and diagnoses aside for why people are the way they
are.) Of course, Paul has to address the issue of orderly worship, and
maybe we can read between the lines there. Perhaps mental illness, and
its apparent place in the present "natural" scheme of things is all part
of the same puzzle as our difficulties with natural violence.


David Opderbeck wrote:
> I'm curious how folks here interpret Isaiah 11, particularly the
> famous "lion shall lay with the lamb" (actually it's a "wolf," not a
> lion) passage. Here are some possibilities I've heard:
> -- the YEC version: this refers to a restoration of herbivorous Eden
> -- the Rossian OEC version: this refers to the Millennium; either it
> is a miracle or people will manage creation in such a way as to feed
> the carnivorous animals
> -- Figurative: the lion lying with the lamb, the child reaching his
> hand into the cobra's nest, etc., are figurative expressions meaning
> that there will be peace among peoples and nations (don't remember
> where I heard this one)
> -- Accommodation (?): this is a mistaken reference to an herbivorous
> Eden and is an accommodation.
> It seems to me that this is a place where an accommodation hermeneutic
> breaks down. I'd like to argue that this is a figurative passage
> referring to peace among peoples and nations. However, in his Isaiah
> commentary, J.A. Moyter says this passage is indeed a reference to
> Eden. (Not sure of Moyter's view of Eden as literal or not.) Yet, if
> the reference to Eden is an accommodation, why isn't the reference to
> the peace of the eschaton not an accommodation? What reason do we
> have to hope for peace? Anyone know of commentators who understand
> this as a general literary reference to future peace, a cultural
> metaphor, rather than as literal wolves and lambs resting together?
> --
> David W. Opderbeck
> Associate Professor of Law
> Seton Hall University Law School
> Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

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Received on Sun Sep 14 23:40:08 2008

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