Bible Review 12:1, February 1996

The Persistence of Chaos in God’s Creation

Order and chaos belong together in God’s creation, but potential chaos of another kind was introduced when God created human beings endowed with freedom.

By Bernhard W. Anderson

Bible Review

It is difficult to make sense of the doctrine of the sovereignty of God in a world filled with terrible violence, evident recently in the assassination of a peace-maker, Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. At times it seems that the powers of chaos have the upper hand.

In the Genesis creation story, God does not eliminate chaos. Rather, God pushes back the waters of chaos and interposes a separating barrier so that the earth becomes green with vegetation and is habitable for animals and humans (Genesis 1:6–8). If God did not sustain this cosmic structure, the earth would be threatened with a return to pre-creation chaos. According to the biblical story, such a cosmic catastrophe almost occurred at the time of the Great Flood, when waters of chaos poured down through the sluices of the firmament and sprang up from the fountains of the deep (Genesis 7:11).

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