I call upon You, Lord, God of Abraham and God of Isaac and God of Jacob and Israel, You who are the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who, through the abundance of your mercy, was well-pleased towards us so that we may know You, who made heaven and earth, who rules over all, You who are the one and the true God, above whom there is no other God; You who, by our Lord Jesus Christ gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit, give to every one who reads this writing to know You, that You alone are God, to be strengthened in You, and to avoid every heretical and godless and impious teaching.

St Irenaeus of Lyons, Against the Heresies 3:6:4

Friday, December 18, 2009

From Deep Exegesis to Deep Snow!

As I type this, a blanket of white snow is being spread over us here in the mountains of Virginia like a line-dried sheet cast over a bed. This afternoon the thoughts of so much snow evoked in my mind what snow teaches us, as an image in biblical literature and theology.

Snow is to teach us of God’s faithfulness in both creation and redemption. For instance, Isaiah reads: “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (55:10—11). The purposeful and providential care God gives and reveals through his general revelation in creation, namely through the all-wise function of the snow, is a vivacious, yet soothing picture of his sovereign design and its incontrovertible fulfillment. In fact, Job 37:6 and Ps 147:15—16 picture the snow as a result of God’s speech. The universe was created and is governed by the Self-same, omnipotent Word of God (Heb 1:3); the Bible knows nothing of the "Laws of Nature," only nature's Lawgiver and nature's strikingly immediate obedience to his Word. In like manner, Ps 148:7—8 sees the snow as a "fulfillment of God’s spoken word." So also here in Isaiah. The snow is an illustration of God’s omni-accomplishing Word; its effect is governed by nothing more or less than his own good pleasure.

In addition to the surety and faithfulness of God to his own purposes, taught us in the regularity and fruitfulness of snow, snow is an image that predominately carries moral connotations in Scripture. Paradoxically, as a word-picture, snow occupies both polar extremes of the Bible’s ethical continuum. We’ll consider this and more tomorrow.

Until then, please remember the poor, the young and old, the EMS volunteers, and even the animals that are affected by this fantastic snowfall in your supplications to Christ. Mom tells us that the Weather Channel has Roanoke set for 28 inches before it’s over!


No comments:

Post a Comment