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

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Mon Sep 15 2008 - 10:01:28 EDT

Yes (and yes also to Murray's comment) -- except that elsewhere scripture
doesn't seem to treat carnivory in general as something inherently evil.
It's also interesting that in the remainder of Is. 11 that discusses the
remnant, there is an apparent allusion to the Exodus (v. 15: "And Jehovah
will utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his scorching
wind will he wave his hand over the River, and will smite it into seven
streams, and cause men to march over dryshod. ")

It seems to me there is a thread of "safe spaces" and remnants throughout
the narrative of scripture. Eden is a safe space where there is no
suffering or death; the ark is a safe space for the remnant saved from the
flood; the Mosaic covenant is a safe space for those rescued from Egypt; the
Davidic covenant is a safe space for the chosen nation; the messianic age is
a safe space for the exiled nation; the Church is a safe space for those who
are part of the new covenant in Christ; the New Jerusalem is a safe space
for the redeemed and for all the nations (it is interesting to note, as NT
Wright does, that in Rev. 22 the river of life flows out from God's throne
and the leaves of the tree of life are for the healing of the nations).

Personally, I find it very hard to hold the whole narrative together if the
space of Eden (and the ark, and the exodus) are *merely* accommodations.
Surely the imagery is imagery, and it is culturally common imagery -- but if
in some real sense the "tree" in the eschaton involves a "healing" of the
nations, then it seems to me that in some real sense the "tree" in Eden
represented a real prospect of human flourishing.
On Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 1:03 AM, Bethany Sollereder

> David,
> I'd agree with Moyter that it is a reference to Eden. It is saying that
> the eschaton will be like the garden. But as you ask, how can we be sure if
> the shalom of the eschaton will be real if Eden was an accommodation?
> Simply because Christ has been raised from the dead. Because Jesus was
> raised from the dead, we can be sure that God's promises of resurrection
> will also be followed through on.
> Keep in mind that the things we see as accomodation, they saw as "literal"
> or real and true. But however you understand the passage to play out, it is
> certainly a recycling of Genesis 2 motifs.
> Bethany
> On Sun, Sep 14, 2008 at 7:27 PM, 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

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Mon Sep 15 10:02:21 2008

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