1. Angels in the Architecture, 43
1. Pelikan, vol. 4, 367.
2. Robertson, 18. Robertson is strong on the point: the
exegete "should be concerned to determine the reason for this
omission." However, Robertson fails to determine the reason for
this omission, and this is because the reason for this omission is
that there is no berith suggested, implied, or hinted to in the first
five chapters of Genesis.
Rather, Robertson argues for the fact that omission of
the word does not necessarily entail omission of the general
concept, and he proposes other biblical examples of such
omission: "scriptural precedent exists for the omission of the term
`covenant' in discussing a relationship which unquestionably is
covenantal" (p. 18). However, this is simply an attempt to blunt the edge
of what is a very strange omission in Genesis and has not given
the reason for such a strange omission. The positive
arguments Robertson gives for a creation covenant are related to
exegesis outside Genesis (and will be at least implicitly addressed as we
go on) or they simply assume the discussion to be
surrounding `Covenant' and not berith.
W. J. Dumbrell, in Covenant & Creation (1984), offers
what is for me the only interesting exegetical argument for a
creation berith I have so far discovered. He takes a close look at the
covenant language in the Old Testament and argues that Genesis 6 & 9 point to a pre-existing covenant at the point of creation that is merely `carried through,' or `confirmed.' This conclusion
is according to his interpretation of heqim (establish) and the absence of karat (cut), which we do find in chapter 15, yet once again, not in chapter 17. He also notes the parallel
between Genesis 1 and 6. I do not have space to sufficiently respond
to this, but a few cursory points: First, there is most certainly
parallel between chapters 1 & 6, but this does not evidence a parallel
in covenant. Just the opposite is the case: the covenant, as
Dumbrell admits, comes notably after the establishment of the new
world, along with all the parallelism, and is conjoined to the
covenant sign. Second, karat is precisely what we would expect to find
in Chapter 15, since the Lord is very literally cutting covenant in
a way Abraham was culturally accustomed to. And we have no
cause for surprise when we find karat absent when the Lord gives
His covenant in chapter 9 and 17. Dumbrell's argument from heqim is worth further pursuit, yet Dumbrell quickly crowds out his careful consideration of the biblical language with theological
speculation on the covenant concept and capitulates to speaking of
`the covenant' that spans from Genesis 1 to the New Testament.
A Little Help For Our Friends:
First Orthodox Presbyterian Church in San Francisco
(Charles McIlhenny, pastor) is currently looking for a full time pastor for
a mission work they began several years ago. If you itch for
the frontlines contact Deacon David Gregg, Providence
Orthodox Presbyterian Chapel. Phone: (925)960-1154.
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