The Liturgy of Creation (Introduction)
As I said the other day, I am working through Michael Lefebvre’s revelatory book, The Liturgy of Creation: Understanding Calendars in Old Testament Context. RJS has also been blogging on this at Musings on Science and Theology.
Michael Lefebvre is the teaching elder/pastor at Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian in Brownsburg, Indiana. He grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio, and moved to the Indianapolis area in the mid-1990s. Michael received his MDiv from the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, and his PhD from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. One thing that I surmise about his study from knowing Lefebvre’s faith tradition is a strong respect for a sabbatarian perspective.
Today I will simply introduce the main thesis of the book with excerpts from the text itself.
I want to propose in this book that the Genesis 1:1–2:3 creation week is most fruitfully read as a “calendar narrative.” It is a special kind of historical narrative in which historical events are given the dates of a festival observance (sabbath observance in the case of the creation week), without regard for the timing of the original occurrence.
…I argue that the creation week narrative is, transparently, not a chronological account of the original creation event. Instead, it is a structured retelling of the creation around the pattern of a Model Farmer tending his fields and livestock each day of the week until the sabbath. This form was to serve as a practical guide for the lay Israelite in his or her weekly labors and sabbath worship, and it does not even attempt to answer the curiosities of modern science regarding the processes or timing of the original creation event.
…My desire is to promote the creation week as a rich and practical guide for the weekly labors and worship of God’s people, and I hope to urge Christians to “pull back” from its frequent misuse in scientific, anti-scientific, and pseudo-scientific polemics. I want to show in this book that the creation week was designed as a guide for faithful work and sabbath worship, and that we rob the text of its intended force when we instead deploy it in disputes about physics, cosmology, and natural history. This, I believe, is how the fourth commandment teaches us to uphold the creation week calendar.
• The Liturgy of Creation (Kindle Locations 328-351)