Friday, February 11, 2005

Two Kingdoms II

The Creation Story of Genesis 1:1-2:3 "was developed in Babylon during the Jewish Captivity-- a direct rebuttal to the Babylon myth" of Marduk; he was thought to have slain his mother; from her body the cosmos came into being. Later he murdered another god; from his blood came human beings, created to serve the gods (Walter Wink, The Powers That Be, page 45). This myth began in violence and led to violent conquests, war, enslavement, exploitation of the poor by the rich and powerful.

In contrast the Hebrew myth portrays a good God who creates a good cosmos; violence entered later through poor choices of human creatures. The good cosmos suffered a Fall, but it is to be redeemed (See Romans 8:19ff). In fact it is being redeemed; creation, fall, redemption, in the cosmos and in the individual, occurs concurrently and sequentially.

These two creation myths, the Hebrew and the Babylonian, have informed daily life from that day to this. Unfortunately the 2nd myth, based on military power and violence has dominated human society down to the present time (see Wink).

What we perceive as the continuous warfare between good and evil really represents the struggle between the domination system of Marduk, with its myth of redemptive violence, and the gospel. We see war in heaven between the Kingdom of God and the Prince of this World. Soldiers of the second use violence and unimaginable cruelty; those of the first use the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:13ff).

This struggle goes on within the breast of every person (unless there should be some who are completely sanctified). Paul felt it keenly in his own psyche: "O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death" (Romans 7:24). (Once again: this has already happened, is happening now, and will continue to happen until we reach the fullness- sometimes referred to as perfection.)

Meanwhile the domination system permeates every facet of society and of the psyche. When we acquiesce, live comfortably under its hegemony, cooperate in various ways (such as profiting from slave labor), we are complicit.

When we stand up to it, object, refuse the reward of ill-gotten gains, then you just have to call us soldiers of the cross.


david said...

This struggle goes on within the breast of every person (unless there should be some who are completely sanctified).George Fox thought this was possible on this side of the tomb -- complete sancitification. Maybe. As Elliott said of the mermaids -- I do not think that they will sing to me.

Larry said...

Indeed, Kwak. Likewise with the Wesleyans. Two other names used were holiness and perfection. Someone asked John Wesley if he had achieved perfection:
"Do you know anybody who has?"
"Well there are a couple of old ladies that I wonder about."

IMO A perfect person would receive the same sort of reception here that Jesus did in his country.