Sunday School: Language of Science and Faith – Psalm 8: Creation of Political Victory?

This week, we are reading the introduction for the Sunday morning discussion. (I am using the Kindle app on my iPad 2) I’ve already read this book once, for review, so this time, I am reading it again for discussion points. One of those was the author’s use of Psalm 8 to showcase the ancient way of speaking about Creation. I think that there is a lot of things going on in this Psalm – and it doesn’t really have a lot to do with a physical Creation. Like Genesis 1, it is more polemical:

O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens.
You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers — the moon and the stars you set in place — what are people that you should think about them, mere mortals that you should care for them?

Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor.
You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority — the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents.
O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth! (Psa 8:1-9 NLT)

That singular use of the Psalm is about Creation, but not about a scientific understanding of the act of creating. It doesn’t say how, but tells us why. First, I sense that it is polemical because of the mention of the enemies and of the ultimate victory of God. Second, the Psalm is dealing with the people of Israel, unless I read some of this wrong, being God’s ultimate vicars. Anyway, like Genesis 1, I find that this Psalm is less about the how, but more along the lines that Creation is God’s because He alone created and gave it to humanity. Because of this, this rule by humanity, God’s name will fill the earth.

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Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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