BECK001.pdf - The Worldview Of Genesis 1-11 Rev Hubert Beck...

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The Worldview Of Genesis 1-11 Rev. Hubert Beck Publication Date: Spring 98 - Volume 29 #2 Document ID: BECK001 Cardinal Rigali Center • 20 Archbishop May Drive • Suite 3400-A • St. Louis, Missouri 63119 • USA 314.792.7220 • • E-mail: [email protected] Institute for Theological Encounter with Science and Technology Author Biography Rev. Hubert Beck is retired Lutheran Campus Pastor at Duke University and at the North Carolina Central University. Prior to that he was Campus Pastor at North Texas State. He is a very long-term member of ITEST
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ITEST © ± Document ID: BECK001 It is common knowledge, of course, that the “history of the Jews” begins with the account of the call to Abram in Genesis 12. Genesis 1-11, containing the creation account, the narrative of the fall, the story of the spread of civilization, the flood, and the subsequent accounts (including the ‘generations’ with the many genealogies) culminates with the story of the building of the Tower of Babel, the resultant confusion of the tongues and the generations of Seth from which lineage Abram comes. Thus it is introductory to the account with which the author is most interested, serving basically as a fundamental “frame of reference,” a “universal history,” a preparation, so to speak, for the “holy history” that begins with chapter 12. The worldview set forth in these chapters underlies, in turn, the rest of the Jewish/Christian understandings about how things either were intended to or do in fact function in this world. Thus it establishes both the setting for God’s reign over history and also the need for God’s saving presence within that history. The Apostolic Creed encapsules this whole worldview in one short phrase: “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” It is confessed with such ease. . . almost as a “tip of the hat” to the One from whom all things have come and to whom all things go! But what a huge confession is packed into these few words! It is our purpose here to let Genesis 1-11 speak to this confession. . . or, better put, to let Genesis 1-11 speak out of this confession (for, in a very real sense of the term, this section is a basic confession of faith about the world within which the people of God live and move and have their being). . . so that the confessor can find not only the many implications of this article of the creed for those of ancient times, but also the implications for us who live in the West of the late twentieth century. And not least of all for us who work in campus ministry, this “credal statement” establishes some very basic understandings for students and members of the academic communities within which we work. It is important to review these fundamental understandings from time to time, for they are more and more being called into question on a variety of levels in the unfolding world of the late twentieth century after having been the basic and unquestioned presuppositions of the Judeo/Christian heritage century after century for the better part of at least six millennia. If we understand the Holy Scriptures to be our
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