Tuesday, October 20, 2009

God of the gaps

There have been a number of posts this month on Genesis. John Hobbins and Karen Traphagen point us to and beyond the Crumb version. John has two other posts on Genesis 1 on the general subject of sexuality and the image of God: here and here. The Higgaion podcasts - all four to date - are lovely. Hear here and here for the image of God section. Doug Chaplin at clayboy has two posts in his series on the Anglican articles of religion, here and here, that frame issues and refine questions. Joel Hoffman at "God didn't say that" comments on the first word of the Bible as does the weekly commentary from JTS and Rachel at the Velveteen Rabbi. A host of posts (Joel many times and many many others, e.g. here, here, and here) were stimulated by Ellen van der Wolde's attempt to remap ancient Hebrew cosmological concepts and the verb 'create'.
It happened quite by chance that I also was reviewing Genesis with the Sunday School class and the adult Bible study at St Barnabas. And Joel kindly responded in real time to some of my questions. (Joel has a nice invitation on his 'about' page re questions.)

What has this to do with the God of the gaps? It's all in "the space between the notes", to quote Debussy's definition of music. The words and the spaces are important to faith. I could build faith on the gap following the first word in the bible. In this it is the JTS commentary that gives me the best chuckle. Bad grammar in the first sentence. Perhaps we should translate really slowly.

In the beginning of ...
God created
the heavens and the earth

All this month, with some warnings and answers to comments from the above bloggers, I have been wondering about that other gap in Genesis 1 on image and likeness. Likeness is stated in intent but missing in action.

How is likeness to God and the heavenly council to be achieved? Can anything, should anything, be constructed or thought about this gap? (I find myself a little reserved on the 'our' of the image in the heavenly council - I wonder how the podcasts from Higgaion will proceed and if they will deal with the council in Job?) Note in a comment, Joel wrote about Ellen van der Wolde's response to this gap here.


Targuman said...

Bob, I had not seen this post and came from the Carnival. Very nice! If you haven't already seen my series on Genesis you may also be interested in it: http://targuman.org/blog/tag/genesis/ (There are several pages worth so be sure to click "earlier posts.")

Bob MacDonald said...

I had a look in the Genesis posts for things about 'likeness' specifically. I think I found a promise here but not yet fulfillment. Pace John Hobbins, the more I think about this gap in the poem the more I think it is significant psychologically and from the poet's point of view. The writer would not have missed the omission.