Salvation as re-creation

Welcome back to our series 'What is the Gospel?'.

So on with the Exodus journey as we 'cross the river and start to generate some new paradigms for the gospel. I like the term 'paradigm' as it does explain what we are trying to do rather well. A paradigm is a way of looking at something or a way of arranging it in our minds. So it is a 'pattern'. In a sense it is very different from 'content. It is much more a way of looking at the same content, but differently.

In my experience, paradigms are the critical ways to grow and develop. Changing them seems not just intellectual but existential. Sometimes people only change paradigms when circumstances force them to do so. By that I mean, circumstances reveal the inadequacy of old paradigms, and demand we develop new ones. For lots of people this is just plain scary but I think it is the means of growth.

So I am presenting Exodus as a 'paradigm' through which we can look at the same gospel in broader ways. In this talk I use literary features to the Exodus event - and how it is handled by the prophets much later in the OT. As I have often said, "bible as literature" is a new and widening approach to reading the Bible. In this talk I look at the way the motif of 'creation' is echoed, built on, and then extended through the lens of the Exodus account.

So 'creation' is not just used as a one-off image, for salvation but it is an organising motif that recurs throughout the OT - and the NT. So we get a kind of reverberation of themes that echo back and forth; they reach back and they reach forward. The upshot is that the governing theme or image emerges as something much bigger than any of the events that it illuminates. It emerges as the architecture of what is happening. So that is what I am arguing in this talk that the 'creation/Genesis' framework does. In this talk, I mention how Alexander Solzhenitsyn did something very similar in his epic book, 'Cancer Ward'. If you have never read any Solzhenitsyn, and want to find a good - or great - novel to read, have a go at 'Cancer Ward'. It is mesmerising.

Tony Golsby-Smith

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