Friday, December 09, 2011

In the end...

“The basic ancient cosmological environment claims that humanity exists to serve deity. This is what I have referred to as the “Great Symbiosis,” in which people are expected to serve the needs of the gods (housing, clothing, food), and in return the gods protect and provide for the people. But service can conceivably take many forms. The Mesopotamian picture was service as slave labor designed to meet the needs of the gods. Egyptian cosmological literature does not deal with this issue, but the more general Egyptian picture indicates the importance of the priesthood and of the rituals for meeting the needs of the gods. In Genesis, humanity is created to serve God, but human service stems from a relationship in which God first meets individuals’ needs. In this view, God has no needs. Eventually in Israelite thinking, the Great Symbiosis is replaced with a Covenant Symbiosis, in which God meets the Israelites’ needs as the people are faithful to the covenant. A final element of the distinctive picture is the fact that a blessing is pronounced on humanity instead of a burden of service being imposed on them. This blessing, however, deals with familiar topics in the ancient world.”— Genesis 1 as Ancient Cosmology, pages 196-197

<idle musing>
That's the final excerpt from Walton's book. I hope you enjoyed it—I certainly did. Maybe you should consider buying it; it would make a great Christmas present :)
</idle musing>

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