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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 Fabric of the Cosmos

The Fabric of the Cosmos

The Emergence of New Creation in “Second Isaiah”

(p.197) 9 The Fabric of the Cosmos
The Seven Pillars of Creation

William P. Brown (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In stark contrast to Ecclesiastes, Isaiah 40-55 provides a dynamic and open-ended picture of creation. This chapter examines certain passages from Second Isaiah that were evidently composed at the end of Israel’s exile in Babylon. The heavens are likened to unfurled fabric, and the ground is the locus of God’s new creation. To herald the exiles’ release, the prophet draws heavily from the example of botanical life. Creation is emergent: like plants bursting from the soil’s crust, salvation “springs forth” from the ground. Creation’s emergent newness is matched by the prophet’s emergent view of God. Drawing from the biological analogy of “symbiosis,” this chapter argues that Isaiah’s rigorously monotheistic view of God is the result of a merging of divine qualities from which God’s identity emerges as the transcendent and consummate creator.

Keywords:   exile, dynamic, new creation, emergence, symbiosis, monotheism, Isaiah, transcendence

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