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Greetings From the Editor

Submitted by on March 9, 2016 – 10:39 pmNo Comment

To all dear creatures of God,

Our spring issue of 2016 compels us to re-start our New Year with a reflection on creation. The theme has inspired poets and preachers, as well as the ancient rabbis who gave the theme the prestigious place at the beginning of the Bible. According to a legend, the book of Job was a contender as the head of the Bible, but the sages agreed that the story of the Bible should begin with creation, not with suffering. Firmly grounded in this tradition, many of our authors direct us to the first part of the book of Genesis.

We are there told how the world began, how one humanity with different genders was created, and how order was instituted in the universe. We are keenly aware of a number of things that may have gone astray, but clearly the original design of the world is one of peace and harmony. We celebrate this in worship and with the rest of Shabbat. Some of us hear Christian preachers seeking healing as they call the churches to come to the cross and the hope of resurrection. Perhaps, for a comparable reason, Jewish preachers speak of the fixing of the universe (tiqqun olam). Our world with all its brokenness can find wholeness after all.

In this issue on creation, we encounter voices that challenge us to learn to value the life of the oppressed for whom God cares. They tell us that God has created human beings in God’s own image, and that every person helps us see God in all spectrums of colors and physical manifestations.

I am delighted to be reminded that creation comes with the divine order of work. There will be no rest without work. According to the word of God, human beings are never condemned to work. Indeed, the punishment one often cites from Gen 4 is not about labor but the threat of no fruit. God, too, is always at work. God has not abandoned the world as Thomas Hardy once thought. So we dare to hope. A small hope can be nurtured, for it is like a seed promising the possibility of propagation.

When we are lost on the way, we can always refer back to the theme of creation that is spread over the entire span of the Bible. We are thoroughly familiar with the stories on earth full of pain and suffering, but it is not all pain and suffering. The Bible knows of horror as one can see in the book of Esther or of the enigmatic innocent suffering covered in the book of Job. The ever-threatening specter of futility comes with life as the Preacher in Qoheleth (the book of Ecclesiastes) underscores, but according to creation theology, God, who set us on a good course, will always put us back on track.

For the glory of God alone,

Jin H. Han
Editor in Chief

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About the author

Jin Han wrote 19 articles for this publication.

Professor Jin H. Han teaches courses in First Testament, Exegesis, and Hebrew at New York Theological Seminary. He is the author of Blackwell Bible Commentary on the Six Prophets (with Richard Coggins) and Daniel’s Spiel: Apocalyptic Literacy in the Book of Daniel. He has contributed to the Anchor Bible Dictionary and other major reference works. An ordained clergyperson in the Presbyterian Church, (USA), he has led workshops and retreats for churches nationwide and is involved in developing Bible Study resources for United Methodist Publishing and John Knox Westminster Press.

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