Saturday, November 8, 2008

Earth to Dawn

"All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you.—Genesis 12:3

"[T]he word the Lord uses for 'earth' is not aretz, as is often used in the Hebrew Bible to denote '(the) earth' or 'land,' but rather adamah—a term with a more 'earthy' connotation, from which Adam, made of clay of the ground, received his name.

"There is something sweet about God’s pronouncing Adam’s name within the words of the blessing, as though He were saying that all the families of Adam would bless themselves by Abraham. But just as the word adamah not only contains “Adam” but also the entire planet, so God’s blessing may be seen to contain a far greater and deeper message.

"The last words God spoke to Adam were a curse—and not only that, but a curse upon him through the ground, adamah, lasting until Adam returned to the ground, again adamah (3:19). And so it was until God’s call to Abraham: Each time the Lord pronounced the word adamah to a human being—to Cain (4:12) and to Noah (7:4)—it was within a curse.

"The Lord revealed a change of heart when speaking 'to himself' upon smelling the sweet odor of Noah’s sacrifice after the flood (8:21): 'Never again will I doom the earth [adamah] because of man [adam].' But it was not until His call to Abraham that He spoke of adamah to man within the context of a blessing and not a curse. Given that the word encompasses the whole world, the Lord’s inclusion of it in the blessing hints at an even larger blessing to come—the redemption of all Earth (and indeed all creation) through Christ (Revelation 21:1). Through Abraham, He is beginning the process of salvation history that will, with the Incarnation, forever remove the curse that entered the world through Adam."

—From my midterm paper for my Pentateuch class, which I handed in last Friday
While I work to get back on track following midterms—catching up on school, everyday life, and sleep—I want to thank everyone who has prayed for me during this, my first semester of grad school.

It will be a while before I get my Pentateuch grade, but in the meantime I am delighted to report that I did well in my other midterms—an A in Latin (!!!) and varying shades of B in my other three classes.

I absolutely love the school I am attending and am so thankful to have the opportunity to study theology there. Also, save for skimping on sleep, I have been in good health—another reason to rejoice after my bout with thyroid cancer and the subsequent radiation treatment earlier this year.

Catching up on my studies means staying away from blogging for as long as possible, so this may be the last you hear from me personally for a while. But I do hope to publish guest posts from friends. (And, if I have time, I might cheat and post an interview I just did by e-mail for a Polish magazine.)

Again, thanks so much to those who have prayed for me. Please keep up the prayers; I always need them!