The Cosmic Temple

William P. Brown

in The Seven Pillars of Creation

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199730797
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199777075 | DOI:
The Cosmic Temple

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This chapter examines Genesis 1:1-2:4a, known as the Priestly account of creation. This “report” describes creation as a divinely guided process that begins with benign chaos and concludes with a fully differentiated cosmos. God enlists the elements of creation (water and earth) to bring forth a life-sustaining order. The structure of the Priestly account renders a picture of sacred space that mirrors the architecture of the temple. Connections are explored between the Genesis narrative and the modern cosmological perspective, which posits a “Big Bang” and accounts for the evolution of cosmic structure. The “image of God” language in Genesis, moreover, finds resonance with the unique neurological and cultural facilities of Homo sapiens. Disparities between the scientific account and the seven-day account of creation underscore the theological significance of Sabbath. In light of these findings, the problematic language of “dominion” in Genesis is understood in new ways.

Keywords: chaos; Big Bang; cosmos; temple; image of God; Genesis; Homo sapiens; Sabbath; Priestly; dominion

Chapter.  18761 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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