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The Seven Pillars of CreationThe Bible, Science, and the Ecology of Wonder$
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William P. Brown

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199730797

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730797.001.0001

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The Cosmic Temple

The Cosmic Temple

Cosmogony According to Genesis 1:1–2:3

(p.33) 3 The Cosmic Temple
The Seven Pillars of Creation

William P. Brown (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Genesis 1:1-2:4a, known as the Priestly account of creation. This “report” describes creation as a divinely guided process that begins with benign chaos and concludes with a fully differentiated cosmos. God enlists the elements of creation (water and earth) to bring forth a life-sustaining order. The structure of the Priestly account renders a picture of sacred space that mirrors the architecture of the temple. Connections are explored between the Genesis narrative and the modern cosmological perspective, which posits a “Big Bang” and accounts for the evolution of cosmic structure. The “image of God” language in Genesis, moreover, finds resonance with the unique neurological and cultural facilities of Homo sapiens. Disparities between the scientific account and the seven-day account of creation underscore the theological significance of Sabbath. In light of these findings, the problematic language of “dominion” in Genesis is understood in new ways.

Keywords:   chaos, Big Bang, cosmos, temple, image of God, Genesis, Homo sapiens, Sabbath, Priestly, dominion

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