Willimon and the Complete Canon as Witness

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The first book of the Bible says that the world is initiated solely through an act of God and the last book of the Bible is a sustained hymn that sings the great triumph of God in which creatures in heaven and on earth sing that “salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne” (Rev 7:10). Crucified Jesus is the one who brings, “Salvation and glory and power” (Rev 19:1).

I don’t mean to imply that Willimon is a canonical theist (I don’t really know), but I do find in this singular statement, in this singular work, a view towards seeing the Christian Scriptural witness as bound up between Genesis and Revelation. (Of course, some of us may add books to the Protestant 66, but they are still well within the course of Genesis-Revelation.) I like this styling of the hymn of Scripture – from the first Rhetorical ‘And God Said…’ to the final hymns of praise from the New Creation to the One Creator. It is appealing to me in various ways, namely in that it creates a grand narrative. Granted, it doesn’t take an exegetical genius to see that Revelation wraps everything up with imagery from Genesis and just how important that over all scene actually is to John. Both Genesis and Revelation, I believe, is meant to be heard, not merely read and personally, I think that we have lost something in our religion when we moved to having everyone idolize the personal reading of Scripture. Perhaps this is why I have grown fond of hearing the Lectionary passages every Sunday. I often close my eyes to block out the words on the screen and simply listen to them to figure out the connection between the Old Testament, the Epistles and the Gospel. (Of course, in order for it to be heard, someone has to read it). Scripture is at times best left alone, fitted not so neatly together (Ruth and Ezra anyone?), leaving it to tell a story about the human response to God’s working of salvation.

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