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WE BELIEVE IN GOD... MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH Metaphor, Scripture, and Theology

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image of Horizons in Biblical Theology

"We believe in God..., Maker of heaven and earth," is a confession of the Christian church. As such, and since its cardinal terms are taken directly from the Old Testament, it invites an immediate investigation of those texts themselves. Such an investigation would seem to be my responsibility in this consultation, and it would certainly be what I am best equipped to do. However, this paper is also to reflect on the relation of biblical and theological studies. Since that relation is so crucial, and in the current situation so unclear, I have found it necessary to devote all my attention to what should be merely prolegomena. Thus, I must begin, in violation of good rhetorical form, with an apology for what I will and will not do: I will not deal with those texts that are, in great measure, the reason for our gathering; and I will engage in what may seem to be nothing more than "the endless methodological foreplay" that Jeffrey Stout sees as the bane of academic theology.1 Even so, I will have nothing to say about method. My aim is simply stated: it is to locate the interpretation of scripture in relation to theology. I will pursue that aim by reflecting on what is entailed in the confession that forms the rubric of this consultation and the title of this paper. The first two sections of the paper represent parallel probes, the first more abstract and the second more concrete, into the same topic.


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