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John and Creation

John and Creation August 16, 2008

The inventive Calum Carmichael ( The Story of Creation ) argues that “John, in an imaginative, allusive approach to the text of Genesis that is akin to Philo’s approach before him does indeed lay out the equivalent of the seven days of creation. The elements of each day in Genesis have their historical counterparts in John such that these echo in allegorical fashion the details of the creation story. In the first five chapters of his Gospel Johannine historical reporting is an allegorization of the creation story, just as Philo’s interpretations of Genesis 1 are primarily allegorical.”

Carmichael summarizes his interpretation: “The curious emphasis in Jn 1:19-28 on the negative role of John the Baptist suggests the void of day one of creation. The descent of the Spirit like a dove on the wate r(Jn 1:32 ) recalls the Spirit that hovered over the face of the primeval waters on the same day. The turning of two of the Baptist’s disciples to Jesus with whom they spend ‘that day’ (Jn 1:39 ) suggests their exposure to the light that was called day in Gen 1:5, because jesus personifies the light of day one. The promised opening of the heavens to Nathanel in Jn 1:51 points to the firmament of the heavens on day two in Genesis. The miracle of water turned into wine in Jn 2:1-11 points to the water and the earth that yields fruit on day three of Genesis. The details interest in signs, season, days, and years in the violent incident at th Temple (Jn 2:123-25) relates back to their appearance on day four of creation. The Baptist’s use of water to produce converts (Jn 3:23 ) is reminiscent of the creation of the water creatures on day five. Finally, the strange encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman, and her conversion of her fellow Samaritans to belief in him as the Messiah (Jn 4:1-32), recall the role of the male and female on day six of creation and their potential fruitfulness in reproducing their own kind.”

Finally, John 5 brings a Sabbath day, and John “refers to how Jesus discourses on the works which God has given him to complete (Jn 5:36, teleioo as in the LXX of Gen 2:2). The works are those of creation. When John describes the healing of the invalid on the sabbath, he includes references to signs, seasons, days, and years, the features of the universe that came into existence on the fourth day of creation.”


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