Problems of time and space

The study of words and actions, written about and by people who lived many years ago in a faraway land with a different language and symbolic structure, has inherent difficulties, as has been shown by biblical hermeneutic research.  To understand the origins of Christianity, I must be cognizant about first century Palestinian Jewish cultural conditions, as well as my own biases.  I need to avoid projecting my own experiences and prejudices on documents written thousands of years ago.  Can I ever really fully understand the men and women of the Mediterranean area who lived over two thousand years ago?  I can try.  Fortunately, a few of these early followers of Jesus, among the elite literate well educated of their time, left some sparse written evidence.  Their cosmology, their economics, and their sociology are not mine.  I must be aware of this from the start.

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All those with God bless the Lord (Dan 3:35-3:39)

“Bless the Lord!

All you works

Of the Lord!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

You heavens!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

You angels of the Lord!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

All you waters

Above the heaven!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!   

Bless the Lord!

All you powers

Of the Lord!

Sing praise to him!

Highly exalt him forever!” 

Now the chant turns to a praise from all the works of the Lord. The heavens, the angels, the heavenly waters, and all the powers of the Lord are to bless the Lord. They were to sing praise to him and exalt him forever. The angels and the powers of the Lord were with him in heaven. The heavenly waters were somehow separated from the earthly waters in their cosmology.

The God of creation (Jer 51:15-51:16)

“He made

The earth

By his power.

He established

The world

By his wisdom.

By his understanding,

He stretched out the heavens.

When he utters

His voice

There is a tumult of waters

In the heavens.

He makes the mist rise

From the ends of the earth.

He makes lightning

For the rain.

He brings forth

The wind

From his storehouses.”

This is exactly the same, word for word from chapter 10 about the power of Yahweh. Jeremiah proclaimed that Yahweh was all powerful. He made the earth by his power. Thus he established the world by his wisdom. He stretched out the heavens by his understanding, so that when he uttered his voice, the waters in the heaven could create a mist from the ends of the earth. He made lightning in the rain. He also brought wind from his various wind storehouses. Thus you can see this author’s cosmology about the powerful God, Yahweh, who has control of the world and its climate.

 

The power of Yahweh (Jer 10:12-10:13)

“It is he who made the earth

By his power.

He established the world

By his wisdom.

By his understanding,

He stretched out the heavens.

When he utters his voice

There is a tumult of waters

In the heavens.

He makes the mist rise

From the ends of the earth.

He makes lightning for the rain.

He brings forth the wind

From his storehouses.”

Jeremiah proclaims that Yahweh is all powerful. He made the earth by his power and thus established the world by his wisdom. He stretched out the heavens by his understanding, so that when he utters his voice, the waters in the heaven can create a mist from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning in the rain. He also brings wind from his various wind storehouses. Thus you can see this author’s cosmology about the powerful God, Yahweh, who has control of the world and its climate.

Hymn to creator Yahweh (Ps 104:1-104:4)

“Bless Yahweh!

O my soul!

Yahweh!

My God!

You are very great!

You are clothed with honor!

You are clothed with majesty!

You are wrapped in light

As with a garment!

You stretch out the heavens

Like a tent!

You set the beams of your chambers

On the waters!

You make the clouds your chariot!

You ride on the wings of the wind!

You make the winds your messengers!

Fire and flame are your ministers!”

Psalm 104 is a hymn to Yahweh as creator that does not have a title. However, it follows the cosmology of creation as in Genesis, chapter 1. This psalm continues with the idea of blessing Yahweh. The psalmist’s soul is to bless the great Yahweh. Yahweh is clothed with garments of honor, majesty, and light. Yahweh had stretched out the heavens like a tent. This was the classic view of creation with the beams set in the waters. The clouds were his chariots so that Yahweh rode on the wings of the winds. The winds and fires were ministering to Yahweh.